Throughout the day, we go through many such unwanted impulses or urges which are not right for us. We try to channel such thoughts because the difference between acceptable or unacceptable behaviors compels us to do so. A thought, feeling or emotion which is socially unacceptable is converted through Defense Mechanism Sublimation into such an emotion or feeling which is acceptable.
What’s changing here? Have our feeling, thoughts or emotion changed? Only that means has not changed. This type of defense mechanism takes us to such a way where we can express our emotion and there is no opposition to it. It is a process in which unwanted impulses are converted into less harmful and often even helpful processes that give benefit instead of harm and are acceptable.
The concept of sublimation is taken from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. According to this, it is such an unconscious psychological defense that reduces anxiety, due to which there is a possibility of loss. Here three components of personality have been told i.e. the id, the ego, and the superego, in which we have been explained about how we serve our emotion to channel it.
Come, in today’s post, we talk about such a defense mechanism, which if adopted in the right way can be carried forward in life, the same use done in a wrong way takes us down.
What is defense mechanism sublimation?
According to psychology, sublimation is a mature type of defense medium, in which a person use socially inferior impulses or idealizations are converted into socially respectable conduct, conceivably performing in a long- term conversion of the original impulse.
Sigmund Freud believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity and civilization, allowing people to serve typically in culturally respectable ways. He defined Defense Mechanism Sublimation as the process of diverting particular instincts into acts of advanced social valuation, being “an especially conspicuous point of artistic development;
It is what makes it possible for advanced psychical conditioning, scientific, cultural or ideological, to play such an’ important’ part in cultivated life. “Wade and Travis present an analogous view, stating that sublimation occurs when relegation “serves an advanced artistic or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions.”
It is a defense mechanism in which we unconsciously transform socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations into idealizations which society sees as easily acceptable actions or behavior.
Usually the defense mechanism sublimation is the transformation of your feeling, emotion, which if you do it in a direct way then you are wrong but if you do it indirectly then it is not wrong.
You can easily understand it in such a way that you could not do what you wanted to do because society considers it wrong but you are allowing your son or daughter to do whatever you wanted. In a way, you are living your feeling in them. This kind of Defense Mechanism Sublimation takes you apart in many ways.
Three components of personality
- The id: The id is the first form of energy that is needed to drive our behavior. It is primitive and basic, composed from where all urges and desires are considered socially unacceptable.
- The ego: It is born after childhood and it is a part of our personality. Its job is to fulfill the demands of reality. Instead of acting on any desire, our ego emphasizes on those methods to fulfill, which are realistic.
- The superego: The superego contains qualities like the morals, rules, standards, and values which we learn from our parents and culture. Because of super ego, we work according to our morals and choose those paths which are acceptable.
Defense Mechanism Sublimation is actually a way to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by our ego. Through this, negative and unacceptable impulses are channeled into positive and socially acceptable impulses.
Mohini is a widowed woman, in her age, her mind was never attracted towards any foreign man. Her love was always devoted to her husband and with time she had a daughter. His full attention was in the upbringing of his daughter, but when he met his daughter’s boyfriend, for the first time he found himself attracted to a young man.
Had she shared these feelings with someone, it would have been wrong, so she unconsciously transforms unacceptable feelings into motherly feelings. her Defense Mechanism Sublimation that she also got the support of a young man and did not feel anything wrong. This feeling of hers was acceptable in the society because she was doing all this like a mother.
Now Mohini had become kind to her daughter’s boyfriend, so she started taking care of his education, taking her daughter and her both out on the pretext of having dinner for a movie show. Even if there was a fight between her daughter and boyfriend, she used to end the fight by taking the side of that boy.
In the eyes of the society, she was doing all this like a mother, but on the other hand she was fulfilling every excuse of being close to that young boy.
Feeling this kind of feeling at this stage of age was the initial impulse of Mohini, which she had been suppressing for a long time. We suppress many of our feelings just because they cannot be accepted in the society. Later on, these feelings find some way and get fulfilled in the changed medium.
How does Defense Mechanism Sublimation work?
When one faces such thoughts, feelings and emotions which conflict with the social norms, then a situation like anxiety, stress or guilt in the system arises. Now when it is against the moral values of our society, our subconscious mind finds such a safe way where we can execute our feeling and it should not be taken from the wrong point of view.
Such thoughts, feelings, emotions which are executed in a socially acceptable manner reduce your stress / anxiety / guilt and you are able to keep your feelings in front of others through some medium or the other. All this happens at our unconscious level, so most of us ourselves do not know that we are doing all this.
Day life example of Sublimation
A person who has a lot of suppressed anger inside but he cannot take it out on anyone because it will give wrong message in the society, the same person becomes a professional wrestler who can now take out his anger on the wrestler in front whenever he wants. .
The emotion, feeling was the same in the person but in the first view the society was not accepting it whereas in the second view it was acceptable.
Many such examples come out in our daily life, when we are not able to do any work, then we look for an alternate way to complete it. In the first approach, our work could have been misunderstood, but the work done in the second way was seen as the right approach.
Just as methods are adopted in law to make Illegal work legal, in the same way, through Defense Mechanism Sublimation, we make our feelings legal, which would have been wrong in the eyes of the society if perhaps done from the front.
Displacement vs Sublimation
If we look at it in detail, then both Displacement and Sublimation have many things in common such as their working base and methods. In both, we are wrong in one place and we become right in the other place. All this keeps on changing with the change of our jurisdiction.
We put forward our emotion, feeling, thoughts in a constructive and socially acceptable way and not like a destructive activity so that they can be accepted without any opposition.
Like the Defense Mechanism Sublimation, in Displacement, you must have read in the first published article how to take out the anger of the scolding from your boss on your family member. Here the anger of a person is destructive for his family member because he cannot take out anger on his boss. Later on, this anger becomes dangerous and rife for their family relationship.
On the other hand, Sublimation also has the same activity but its behavior is more acceptable at social/moral level than Displacement. You must have seen an example of Mohini.
sublimation defense mechanism example
We go through many such conditions throughout the day in which we use Defense Mechanism Sublimation and we do not even realize it. In one instance a boy is very angry with his father but he is unable to vent his anger. Now he starts playing violent video games. Here he had found a medium to express the original feeling of anger.
Now as long as he plays the game, his anger gets expressed in the game, but what if he does not get to play?
Here in the situation complications start to arise. The effect of the boy whose anger used to come out in the video game is now being seen in real life. In a similar situation, when Mohini’s daughter starts raising her voice about her mother’s interference, then it may have a negative effect on the mother-daughter relationship and the relationship starts cracking.
Like any kind of defense mechanism, there is a reason in short run submission that we can express our feeling, emotion and thoughts in some other way but in long run it always creates complications.
Therapists Niche: Working with Clients
You should know that Defense Mechanism Sublimation is formed on our unconscious level of thinking, due to which we are often unable to differentiate between our true feeling and protection barrier. The reason for this is that we are not able to handle both the situations i.e. true feeling and anxiety, guilt or helplessness simultaneously.
In this situation, therapists have to face potential problems. During most therapies & coaching sessions, clients stop their sublimated feelings from coming out. It seems as if they don’t want to talk about it openly. In such a case, confrontational approach is used so that such resistance can be broken.
Here the confrontation of acknowledgment of true feelings is added so that any kind of defense mechanism is not created and there is no loss.
Recommended Steps to work
When we start moving forward in such a step, instead of confrontation, some such approach is included in which there is more true feeling. Along with Defense Mechanism Sublimation, a necessary framework is also prepared so that after the client comes to know about the true feelings, he does not become too hard about himself.
For this, the session can be made even better by using NLP Meta model with supportive & comforting tone & body language. If this does not work, then through different techniques from Hypnosis also an attempt is made to find out unconscious feelings along with the reasons for the same. This creates a deeper understanding in the client and after knowing his problem, a better understanding is developed about how to cope with it.
If you are preparing yourself for a therapist, then you should know about Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapist. In such a case, this situation can help you better.
Different approaches to Psychotherapy, such as cognitive, behavioral, psycho-dynamics and humanistic as well as techniques from Hypnosis, NLP, Metaphor therapy and Mindfulness, help to understand Defense Mechanism Sublimation and develop a deep understanding and can be done.
How Can Sublimation Influence Your Life
By the way, Defense Mechanism Sublimation is considered a healthy and mature way of dealing with urges as it also makes undesirable or unacceptable urges legally acceptable. Our defense mechanism works to channel the energy in a way that is beneficial for us.
If it is used properly then positive effect can be seen on our health and wellness. If we have any kind of negative feelings inside us and in this way we protect it, then it can prove to be wrong for us. In most of the conditions we are unaware about it. There is no direct correlation between negative emotion and the behavior.
Benefit of defense mechanism in daily life
There are many such Defense Mechanism Sublimation benefits that if included in daily life, life can be improved through deeper understanding. Some of the benefits are as follows.
- Stop yourself from moving forward in wrongdoing.
- Channeling the energy and putting it in the right work.
- To focus on those places which can take us forward and not down.
- Reducing stress and anxiety.
- To carry forward the morals and values that we learn from the culture and parents.
- Programming yourself on the subconscious mind level through Anger Displacement.
If seen, if it is used in the right way, then many benefits can be achieved, if it proceeds in a negative way, then there is also a loss. It is completely up to us how we use it.
How to use Defense Mechanism Sublimation as a strength final word
We can use Sublimation as a powerful influence on behavior. This is a mechanism about which we are unaware most of the time. Knowing that all this is happening at the subconscious level, we can give a new direction to our emotion, thoughts and feeling by taking inspiration.
Like any kind of defense mechanism, it also has healthy and productive behaviors as well as negative harmful effects.
If you think that you are also changing yourself knowingly and unknowingly through Defense Mechanism Sublimation at many places throughout the day, then definitely tell us through comments. Do not forget to tell how you cope with this defense.