Defense mechanisms are moreover a psychological response

According to Pavlov, a man’s ego uses various defensive mechanisms to cope with the problems and disputes of existence. Consequently, the goal is to keep the person healthy from anxieties that arise from potentially serious causes while also giving them a positive outlook on life (Kadhani and Prabhu 54). Defense mechanisms are both a psychological response and a normal reaction for the vast majority of people. Furthermore, defensive mechanisms help us cope with the uncertainties surrounding us, but they may also obstruct a person’s emotional growth. The TV show “This Is Us” features various characters who represent different aspects to portray an aspect of defense mechanism in various stages of their lives as shall be discussed below.

First, the individual characters of the above-mentioned TV program display various defense mechanisms among them a denial, regression and acting out. Denial according to psychology is the intentional refusal to accept the facts as they are with an unforeseen uncertainty about the consequence of acceptance (Keith, 33). It is a common defense mechanism for people to avoid dealing with the painful feelings of life. On the other hand, regression defines the behavior of reverting to earlier on responses when faced with improbable or in the case of unacceptable thoughts and impulses. It is also a typical reaction of people and has different channels through which it could be expressed dependent on the individuals. Finally, among the three stated defense mechanisms is acting out. More often than not, this is a defense mechanism that involves an external reaction to people or something instead of confrontation with the issue. A person instead of speaking out what bothers them they end up showing a particular behavior. These defense mechanisms are expressed by the characters in the movie.

Toby a character displayed by Chris Sullivan is shown to have weight issues and as a result, joins a rehabilitation program to help him with his weight. However, Toby denies the fact that his weight is out of control and that he needs help. Instead of fully adhering to the program, he gets caught up in between eating junk food and keeping healthy. This is seen when he decides to eat candy bars secretly in his house despite the fact that his girlfriend Kate is offering to help him as they help themselves out of the state they both are in. Toby’s greatest fear is the fact that he might lose his identity in the process and thus denies his weight issues as his primary defense mechanism to cope up.

Regression is seen from Randall in the movie when he is faced with a case of whether to accept himself or else try to revert to his early childhood behavior of trying to prove himself. Randall is a weatherman trader and his career more often in the family is the one that is complicated. The introduction of the father to his life makes it twice as hard and is forced to try to prove a point to his children and wife as well. He did this when he was asked by the school where his children went to, to give a speech of what he did. It turned out horribly to the embarrassment of the family when his turn to explain his career came and rather than providing a statement on the forecasting he turns to the piano and fakes a musical. Evidently, Randall went back to his earlier behavior.

Finally, acting out as a defense mechanism is seen in Kate, the sister to Randall and Kevin. She too has weight concerns and also as a sister is uncomfortable with the girlfriend Kevin recently introduced to her and more so in their childhood cabin. When Kevin approach her, Kate actively pushes him away with her words and actions. Her problem is that she cannot stand a fellow human being looking at her from a judgmental point of view and rather than directly confronting it she acts out by dropping things in the cabin and using strong language to drive a point home.

The above-mentioned defense mechanisms are adaptive. This is because as indicated in the premises above, defense mechanisms are a psychological response to stimuli and are often an unconscious reaction. Additionally, these are reactions that barely go unnoticed. For instance, Kevin when he notices her sister acting out he compensates by speaking positively about the situation as an expression of his appreciation of who and how she looks. In the case of Randall, the wife makes a light moment out of it by enjoying him with the mid-life crisis talk. Therefore, the defense mechanisms are all a common phenomenon to all humanity, and as Pavlov said, they are crucial and necessary.

Works Cited

Kadhani, Megha and Prasanth S Prabhu. Oral Defense Mechanism. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, 2015. Document.

Keith, Ablow. Denial. New York: St. Martins Press, 2006. Document.

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