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SCIENCEDIRECT Defense Mechanisms and Narcissistic Supply

Psychological Defense Mechanisms

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Encyclopedia of Mental Health (Second Edition) ([sign in to see URL])
2016, Pages 13–17

Defense Mechanisms
P. Cramer
J.H. Porcerelli
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This article will provide a description of defense mechanisms; a brief history of defenses beginning with the work of Sigmund Freud; the motivating factors behind defense use; an overview of the more commonly used defenses; the relationship between defenses and psychopathology; the development of defenses in children, adolescents, and young adults; measures of defense mechanisms; and selected contemporary research studies on defense mechanisms.

A second motive for defense – the warding off of feelings of guilt – has a different origin. In the course of development, the individual experiences satisfaction and pleasure as a result of the nurturance and benevolence of caretaking of important others. In time, the individual's sense of well-being and security becomes tied to the reception of these narcissistic supplies, either from external caretakers, or later from the internal representations of those caretakers – i.e., from the development of conscience which supplies a sense of nurturance or disapproval, much as the original caretakers once did. Initially, the infant's continuing existence depends on receiving these narcissistic supplies; in their absence, there is a threat of annihilation. At this stage, the threat of loss of these supplies is experienced as objective anxiety – i.e., as emanating from the environment. Later, with the development of conscience, the loss of self-approval is experienced as superego anxiety or guilt. In order to protect the self from the ensuing loss of self-esteem which occurs when the dictates of conscience are violated, defense mechanisms may be called into play.

Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

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Jun/10/2016, 10:51 am Link to this post  

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