Background

Reaction Formation: Why White Supremacists Attack LGBTQIA+

Uploaded 6/15/2022, approx. 29 minute read

White supremacists are supposed to be concerned with maintaining and preserving the supremacy of the white race, whatever that may be, over other variants of the human species which according to white supremacists are inferior.

So why do we see lately white supremacists, including the Proud Boys, attacking LGBTQIA plus people? Why do white supremacists focus their malign attentions and negative energy on other people's sexual preferences and sexual orientations?

The short answer is reaction formation. Reaction formation is a psychological defense mechanism.

There are two psychological defense mechanisms that laymen find very difficult to comprehend and even many scholars and psychologists. It's difficult to wrap your mind around these defense mechanisms because they are counterintuitive and exceedingly convoluted. Some of them operate in the unconscious, some of them operate in the interface between conscious and unconscious. It's a bloody mess.


And today we're going to discuss reaction formation.

The other defense mechanism is projective identification. And as usual, I have several videos about projective identification that I encourage you to look for. Go to the magnifying glass. If you're on a PC, on a laptop, go to my channel. There's a magnifying glass symbol. Click on it and search the channel for projective identification. If you're on a smartphone, click on the downward arrow on the right-hand side. It will roll down and you will see search. Click on the search, of course, and search for projective identification.

Today, we are not dealing with projective identification. We will be dealing with reaction formation.

Freud said that if you are at heart secretly a homosexual, if you are a latent homosexual, if you did not out even to yourself, if you're still in the closet, if you're attracted to gay nudity, if you watch secretly, of course, surreptitiously, gay porn, and so on and so forth, Freud said there are two ways you can react to this. You can be honest with yourself and say, well, probably I'm homosexual or bisexual. And I'm going to try it out. I'm going to see if it fits me. And the other option is to broadcast to the entire world that you are not homosexual by becoming homophobic, by becoming an activist against homosexuals, against gay pride.

So Freud said that men who have a prejudice against homosexual, but an ostentatious prejudice in your face, public, and make a big deal out of it, actually are defending against their own homosexual tendencies and feelings by adopting a harsh anti-homosexual attitude in order to convince themselves, first of all, that they are not homosexual, they're heterosexual, and then to convince everyone else.

It's like, if I'm attacking homosexual, how can I be homosexual? It goes to prove to me, first of all, that I'm not homosexual.

What about the dutiful daughter who loves her mother? And she loves her mother very overtly, very ostentatiously. She tells everyone how much she loves her mother. There are gestures, gifts. I mean, she's all over the place. Probably she's defending against a hatred of her mother.

It is unacceptable to hate your mother.

So there are two ways to go about it. You can go no contact with your mother, which I've done 26 years ago. Or you can pretend and lie and deceive yourself into believing that you actually love your mother inordinately and exceedingly. And to prove this to yourself, you engage in behaviors which affirm and confirm to you and to others around you that you actually love your mother.

It's a defense.

And this is what reaction formation is all about.

Behaving in a way which denies hidden feelings and motivations which are unacceptable to you. Feelings and motivations which you reject and you reject.

Now, projection is very similar to this. There are parts of you that you reject and resent and don't accept. And so you attributeother people. You project them onto other people.

But reaction formation is not only about the passive attribution of elements of your own personality to other people. You are stingy, so you say other people are stingy. You're hateful. You say they are hateful.

So this is projection. But this is passive. This is merely observation.

Reaction formation couples projection with action, behavior, choices, decisions, the very manifestations and protestations of innocence and of cleanse-iness.

So where does all this come from?

Reaction formation clinically is what we call a fixation. Fixation is an idea that is in your consciousness, an effect, an emotion, a desire that is in your consciousness. And you can't get rid of it. It's a little like an intrusive thought. A little like a kind of thought that comes into your mind and you cannot erase it. You cannot delete it. So you cannot expunge these fixations.

Fixations are there to stay. And so these desires, these ideas, these effects or emotions, they are overt. They are in consciousness. You're aware of them. You promulgate them. You announce them. You share them with others. You make sure everyone knows about these ideas or emotions or beliefs or desires.

But they are false. It's not that you're lying to other people. You're also lying, maybe mainly lying, principally lying to yourself.

There is a feared unconscious impulse, a part of you that is submerged and you're terrified of that part.

For example, your latent homosexuality, your hatred of your parents, your desire to be violent. These are all things that you may reject in yourself.

So you need to put on a facade, which is the exact opposite of these feared subterranean, surreptitious, unconscious impulses.

A mother, for example. Many mothers hate their children, newborns. That's why there is the phenomenon of postnatal depression. Many women regard the child as an intrusion, an annoyance. They are driven crazy by the child's insistent demand, especially in the first year. By his crying, the child becomes unwanted.

But a mother is not supposed to hate her child or to be angry at her child, especially if it's an infant or a toddler.

So what such a mother does, she begins to feel guilty and she becomes exactly the opposite. She becomes indulging. She indulges the child. She spoils the child. She becomes solicitous and pampering and smothering and overprotective because she's trying to convince herself that her love for the child is unbounded and that she's a good mother who does not hate her child and is not enraged. Enraged by the child's consistent demands.

It's another example of reaction formation.

Reaction formation was first proposed, as usual, by Simon Freud. It was in German, Reaktionen, Bildung. It's clinically, technically, it's an ego defense mechanism. It's a defense mechanism that's affiliated with the ego.

Emotions, impulses, beliefs, ideas, even images, effects, which are anxiety producing because they are, for example, socially unacceptable or because they are dangerous or risky. These kind of impulses, these kind of ideas and beliefs and emotions and so on and so forth have to be controlled, have to be mastered. It's very frightening to have lurking in your unconscious a time bomb, a time bomb which is ego-unconventional, ego-incongruent.

In other words, a time bomb which defies everything you believe yourself to be. You consider yourself to be a hetero sexual.

And then there's this time bomb that is actually your hidden latent obscure homosexuality. It's terrifying. You need to control it. You need to master it. You need to repress it. You need to suppress it. You need to convert it and reframe it and transform it or do something with it. You need to do something with it because one of the things about time bombs ultimately they explode.

And in reaction formation, we master these forbidden hidden impulses by exaggerating in the opposite direction.

If I'm a latent homosexual, I will be a macho womanizer and I will show everyone there's not a trace or a hint of homosexuality. If I hate my child, I will show the whole world and myself, first of all, how much I love the child. If I hate my parents, I will be all over them, care for them, give them money, provide them with all the goods and services they can imagine just to show what a good son or daughter I am.

Behavioral negation of these forbidden impulses. It's the same with the white supremacists. They're attacking LGBTQIA because, for example, bromance is very common in these male only or male mostly groups. There are strong sexual dynamics in these groups, denied, repressed, disavowed. These men are men's men. They are machos. They are with tattoos. They are with muscles. They're bodybuilding. They have weapons, weapons which are essentially phallic symbols, extensions of you know what.

This is all about sexuality ultimately. And so no wonder they're attacking people with alternative sexualities because they're terrified of the possibility or the potential for such alternative sexualities inside themselves.

Reaction formation is a very strong neurotic defense mechanism. It is on the same level, level three, with dissociation, displacement, intellectualization, repression, and so on and so forth.

A text about reaction formation. The instincts and their derivatives may be arranged as pairs of opposites. Life versus death. Construction versus destruction. Action versus passivity. Dominance versus submission and so forth.

When one of the instincts produces anxiety by exerting pressure on the ego either directly or by way of the superego, the ego may try to sidetrack the offending impulse by concentrating upon its opposite.

For example, if feelings of hate towards another person make the hater feel anxious, the hater's ego can facilitate the flow of love, overt and ostentatious love to conceal the hostility.

So this is the foundational text about reaction formation.

When we witness behaviors such as the ones recently with white supremacists, homophobic groups, and inside families, dynamics inside families, when we witness reaction formation, we can safely assume that the original rejected, resented, feared impulse does not vanish. It persists.

The reaction formation doesn't make you less homosexual, less hateful, less resentful. The reaction formation doesn't cleanse you, doesn't deactivate the time bomb inside you.

What it does, it pushes these impulses, forbidden emotions, sexual tendencies, fantasies, beliefs, which you disown, which you hate and reject and resent. That's not me. That's absolutely not me.

Reaction formation doesn't remove these from consciousness. It just pushes these forbidden fruits into the unconscious. And there they persist in the original form, which is typically infantile.

So when we hate someone, when we hate our mother, when you hate your mother, you hate your father, it's socially unacceptable, you cannot sublimate it. There's no way to hate your father or hate your mother in a way that society will accept and condone, which is what sublimation is all about.

Sublimation is about converting your urges and drives and impulses into socially acceptable forms and formats. There's no way to do that.

And in many societies, there's no way to be gay or transgender in socially acceptable, in a socially acceptable manner. Societies, they're frowned upon this.

So these impulses, they are suppressed. And the overt behavior, the reactive formative behavior, I am not a homosexual.

Look, look how much of a heterosexual I am. I have another woman every week. Say how much, how much I'm not a homosexual.

This is the overt behavior. This reaction formation doesn't substitute for the underlying latent homosexuality.

The original feelings, sexual feelings, aggression, socially unacceptable wishes, fantasies, forbidden fantasy, they exist. They exist under the surface, under the veneer, under the exterior of the observable behavior.

So this is not a process of substitution. It's not even a process of displacement. It's a process of masking and masking it not only from other people, but first and foremost, masking it from yourself, masking it from your own awareness, from your own consciousness.

If you're latently homosexual and you date many women, you can lie to yourself. You can say, you see, no way am I a homosexual. Look how many women I'm dating. This is about convincing yourself first and foremost.

The existence of reaction formation is very difficult to diagnose. But one very important hallmark is that it's over the top. It's exaggerated. It involves aggression and violence and compulsivity, compulsiveness and inflexibility.

So we have, for example, the text that reactive love protests too much. It is overdone, extravagant, showing and affected. It is counterfeit and is usually easily detected.

Another feature of a reaction formation is its compulsiveness. A person who is defending himself against anxiety cannot deviate from expressing the opposite of what he really feels. His love, for instance, is not flexible. It cannot adapt itself to changing circumstances as genuine emotions do. Rather, it must be constantly on display as if any failure to exhibit it would cause the contrary feeling, the lurking feeling, to come to the surface.

So it's both rigid and thespian, ostentatious, for public consumption. And the number one audience is the person himself or herself.

She needs to convince herself that she doesn't hate the overbearing and domineering father. He needs to convince herself that he is not attracted to men. She needs to convince herself that she doesn't hate her newborn baby because the newborn baby has taken her life away from her.

So to do all this, they behave in ways which signify and denote the exact opposite.

Reaction formation is counterintuitive in the sense that the behavior and the psychological reality don't match. It's a camouflage. It's a disguise, but it's not a lie in the sense that the person engaging in reaction formation is not actively gaslighting or actively lying.

The person who displays reaction formation in his behaviors, choices, speech acts, is not doing this because he wants to mislead other people. He's doing this because he wants to convince himself.

And so solicitude may be a reaction formation against cruelty, cleanliness, being obsessively, compulsively clean and neat against actually some attraction to dirt or to unclean sexual practices. Pacifism can be a reaction formation against sadism and aggression.

As one of the texts say, high ideals of virtue and goodness may be reaction formations against primitive object, cathexis, emotional investment in primitive objects.

This virtue, this goodness, these ideals are not realistic values that are capable of being lived up to.

Romantic notions of chastity and purity may mask crude sexual desires. Altruism may hide selfishness, piety may conceal sinfulness.

A phobia is an example of a reaction formation. The person wants that which he fears the most, is not afraid of the object, is afraid of the wish for the object.

The reactive fear prevents the dreaded wish from being fulfilled.

It's a very interesting insight about phobia.

So reaction formation is used by professional psychologists and professors of psychology to explain many responses to external threats, but also to internal anxieties.

And reaction formation is a bridge. Very often something outside that symbolizes your inner anxiety, something outside that reifies what you fear of most. You're afraid of something and then there's an object or a person or a place or an institution outside that reifies, symbolizes and bodies your greatest fear about yourself.

So of course, this creates a lot of aggression. Stockholm Syndrome for example, that's when the hostage, the kidnapping hostage, the victim falls in love with the kidnapper. Obviously, there's a lot of resentment and anger and rage and frustration and fury and hatred towards anyone who kidnaps you.

But it's very dangerous to show this to the kidnapper because he may shoot you in the head. So this creates a reaction formation rather than show the kidnapper your true feelings about him, you show him that you're in love with him. The kidnapper has complete power over you. It would be extremely unwise and irrational to express your true emotions. So you repress them, you deny them, you delete them and instead you engage in behavior that signals exactly the opposite.

I don't hate you Mr. kidnapper, I love you.

Powerless and vulnerable people.

For example, there have been studies of people inmates in Nazi concentration camps. How these people, the victims, the Holocaust victims bonded with guards. They were even collecting objects discarded by SS officers.

It's like if I collect objects by the person who can kill me, he will not kill me. It's very primitive. It's a form of magic.

Indeed, reaction formation involves magical thinking. If I behave externally in a certain way, it's going to affect my mind. It's going to delete what's bothering me. It's going to eliminate what I'm afraid of and it's going to obliterate any trace of that which I do not want to be.

So it's a kind of reverse magical thinking. In classic magical thinking, there is the mistaken belief that your mind can change the world. In reverse magical thinking, there's a mistaken belief that if you act in a certain way in the world, it will change your mind.

So the mechanism of reaction formation is very prevalent in obsessions.

What is an obsession? Obsession is a behavior, obsession compulsion. It's a behavior. It's a ritual. It's like if I engage in this ritual, nothing bad will happen to me. If I repeat this sequence of actions, my loved ones, my nearest and dearest, will not be harmed.

This is the essence of obsession. This is obsession is another form of reaction formation.

During the formation of the ego, and again, ego is a metaphor. No one captured an ego. No one spoke to an ego and no one traveled with an ego on an airplane.

Ego is a metaphor, but a useful metaphor. I find it to be a useful metaphor.

So during the form of the ego, in other words, during the formation of our interface with the world, when we begin, as children, we begin to notice the world. We begin to venture out into the world.

And we do this by developing a reality testing.

So when the ego is formed, there's a lot of reaction formation.

As children engage in magic, taking on the world is a very grandiose act, saying goodbye to mommy is the most terrifying and traumatic thing.

And we know that religions and magic are defenses against trauma, against fear, against catastrophe. All the primitive religions are forms of reaction formation.

Primitive religions and actually not so primitive religions, like monotheistic religions. What are we talking about? What is a religion?

A religion is a set of behaviors. And you're telling yourself, if I will behave in a certain way, nothing bad will happen to me. If I behave in a certain way, I will have I will reform my I will have reformed myself, I will have changed. If I behave in a certain way, if I be honest, I will have I will change I will be a bit different.

So religion and therapy, for this matter, psychotherapy, these are all forms of, let's call them sublimated reaction formations, where action or a series of prescribed ritualistic actions are supposed to bring about internal transformation, which would render you happier, more egodystonic, or egodyntonic, will remove the parts of you that you're not comfortable with.

And so obsessions, obsessive personality disorders, very easily bleed into practices such as religion.

And we all know the obsessive religious person, we all met one, or we all have the misfortune of having one in the family.

Action formation may be more common among men than among women. But we do have studies among women as well. Women, for example, who felt very guilty about their sexual behavior, claim to have lower sexual arousal when they were exposed to erotic stimuli. In other words, they felt bad about their sexual behavior, they felt guilty and ashamed.

And by the way, majority of women do. After casual sex, majority of women actually feel bad, bad in one way or another.

And so a possible reaction formation is to say, I actually don't like sex. I actually hate sex. I actually don't want sex. I'm in control of my sexuality. I can go abstinent or celibate for decades. I don't need sex. It's a reaction formation. It's behaving in a way which defies the truth.

And the truth is, you're very sexual. You want to have sex.

Even with strangers, you're sexually unrestricted. You're promiscuous. Denying promiscuity by becoming frigid, by becoming not interested in sex, or by extension, not interested in men.


We did conduct experiment among promiscuous women who vowed to never have sex again. And we discovered that their genitalia are reacting with a higher than average sexual response. Their genitalia were totally autonomous. Their genitalia, their body wanted sex.

Similarly, when we tested white people, white people means Caucasians. White people who claim to be non-racist, egalitarian, pacifist, humanity-loving people, tree huggers, and I don't know what.

Actually these people scored higher for racist tendencies. Recent studies by Gabrielli, others in British Columbia and so on, show that activists in social movements are actually very high on the narcissistic and psychopathic spectrum.

You read me well. I'm going to repeat this.

Activists in victimhood movements, social activists, are actually high on narcissistic and psychopathic measures.

So social activism is a form of reaction formation. I'm a psychopath and maybe I don't feel good with it, or maybe I hit rock bottom, or maybe I don't want to be a psychopath anymore. It's not working for me.

The way out is to be a social activist, to be the exact opposite of a psychopath. Openly, publicly, overtly, ostentatiously become a humanity lover, become the great equalizer of the racist, black lives matter. Me too.

But actually when we test these people, they are much higher in terms of racist tendencies than the average population.

But we also found out that these very people who are at heart, deep inside, seriously racist, give more money to African-American panhandlers and beggars than they do to white beggars and panhandlers. That's their way of reaction. That's their reaction formation.

You see, I'm giving money to African-Americans in need, giving money to African-American, homeless. So that proves that I'm not a racist. When actually, deep inside, they are.

Anna Freud said that reaction formation is believing the opposite. It's a psychological defense mechanism. It goes beyond denial. It's not about denial. It's to behave in the opposite way to what you really think and what you really feel, thereby suppressing it to the point that you no longer feel it and no longer think it because you convince yourself of the big lie. These are conscious behaviors.

Reaction formation is a set of conscious behaviors intended to overcompensate for an anxiety. The person feels anxiety regarding socially unacceptable, unconscious thoughts and emotions.

The reaction formation is exaggerated, is showy, is compulsive, and it keeps the person satisfied because it deceives the so-called ego. It falsifies the reality testing. The person says, my true motivation is I'm not a racist. I'm not a homosexual. I'm not hateful. I'm not aggressive. But that's of course deceitful. If a patient comes to you and he says, I strongly believe in something and it becomes very angry when you defy him or when you disagree with him and he goes on and on and it's almost obsessive. He can't stop. That's the only thing he talks about all the time. You can rest assured. That's exactly who he is. If he goes on and on and on about promiscuity, he's promiscuous. If he goes on and on and on about how bad it is to be a racist, he's a racist.

And if he attacks LGBTQIA and all the other letters, he probably has latent homosexual tendencies. He's a latent gay, hidden, lurking, suppressed, but sometimes this occult, this submerged and subsumed urges and emotions come to the surface. Sometimes even reaction formation is not enough. And these people want to do something. They want to say something.

This is especially common under the influence.

Alcohol is consumed, some other types of drugs.

And then these people do say something that is effectively the opposite of how they present themselves to the world.

So you could have a social activist or a politician, a politician who has dedicated his career to fighting racism, and then on camera, unbeknownst to him, he's going to crack a racist joke. You can have a rabid womanizer who can never commit himself. And he goes from one woman to another to another. He gets drunk and he has sex with a man.

These are cracks in the reaction formation facade. The reaction formation slips a bit like a musk. The musk slips. The reality appears.

And this immediately provokes enormous anxiety. And the anxiety is composed of two parts.

Self rejection on the one hand. Oh my God, I slept with a man. Oh my God, I'm a racist.

The realization of who you really are, that you've been lying to yourself all your life. It's harrowing, it's terrifying.

And the second element in the anxiety is the expectation of social punishment, social sanction, excommunication, mockery, criticism being canceled.

If you fear of being criticized for something, you will visibly act in a way that shows that you are a long way from this kind of behavior or speech. If you're afraid to be honest, because being honest and politically incorrect carries a social price tag, over the years you will convince yourself otherwise. Over the years you will treat a fake, fake persona, fake musk, but it will adhere so closely to your face that it will become you. The reaction formation will become indistinguishable from true, authentic, genuine behaviors. It will become you.

Where the person uses excessive behavior, for example, exaggerated friendliness, is actually feeling unfriendly, where you can judge the true core of a person by observing the exaggerated behaviors.

Someone who is angry with a coworker, ends up being particularly courteous and friendly towards this coworker. Someone who is gay has a number of conspicuous heterosexual affairs and openly criticizes gays. A mother who has a child she doesn't want, becomes very protective of that child. An alcoholic extols the virtues of abstinence and is even convinced that he really believes it. It's a cover-up. It's a cover-up for something that is unacceptable in you by adopting the opposite stance, opposition, and it's distinct from projection, as I said.

And so Freud called it overboarding. The person is going overboard in one direction to distract himself and us and to cover up for something unwanted in the other direction.

So you're afraid of your own aggression, you become a pacifist.

And so these are extreme patterns. They appear in paranoia, in obsessive compulsive disorder.

And because they are seamlessly integrated with mental illness or some forms of mental illness, we just mentioned paranoia and so on, people who engage in reaction formation to a very large degree begin to feel that something is wrong, begin to feel egodystonic, begin to feel discomfort with themselves. They begin to actually doubt and question themselves.

So people who engage in reaction formation sometimes flip. They change on a dime and overnight. They become the exact opposite where they had been preaching and hectoring over a lifetime.

The zealous homophobe will suddenly out become homosexual. The loving daughter will suddenly rebel and openly declare her hatred of her father and abandon him.

This flips, these massive changes in the totality of the personality, the whole repertory of behaviors is a powerful indicator of the existence of reaction formation.

And so what to do with those people?

How to cope, for example, with these white supremacists?

One way is to, it's like in judo, I think, or jiu-jitsu, I have to ask Richard Grannon, where you use the momentum of the opponent to win over.

So one way is to agree actually with the reaction formation, to exaggerate the exaggeration, to go with and to render it a caricature so that even the person who engages in the reaction formation will recoil because he will suddenly see the comic nature of his own defensive behaviors, positions and speech acts exaggerate the exaggerated over the top reaction formation to render it utterly unacceptable and, you know, the butt of mockery. This exposes the underlying tendencies.

So when you do this, you should at the same time legitimize, legitimize that which the reaction formation is intended to conceal.

So if there's a gay and latent homosexual who is an overt heterosexual and ardent homophobe, you go along with this and then you begin to broach the subject of, is it really reprehensible to be gay? Is there something wrong with it? Why do you think it's wrong?

I mean, you deconstruct, you deconstruct the narrative, legitimizing the hidden impulse, legitimizing the covert, suppressed, repressed, ignored part, denied part.

The reaction formation is in many ways a cry for help. It's like saying I can't be myself. I have to be someone else.

So you have to show that person that some of his behavior, some of the reaction formation is actually socially unacceptable. And if he were to adopt his true, his authentic self, he would be much more acceptable socially than what he's doing now.

For example, if you are a member of a militia and you kill, kill transgendered people because you're terrified of maybe you are, maybe you have transgender tendencies in yourself and you can't stand this. So you become a rabid, morbid, hater of transgender people and you kill a trans or two.

Now that's reaction formation. It's easy to demonstrate that this is much less socially acceptable than actually admitting your transgender tendencies.


So when in communication with these people, you need to show them that reaction formation is non-sustainable because how long can you carry out this act and how long can you deceive yourself and still trust it? And you have to show them that reaction formation is almost always less acceptable in society than the alternative of admitting who you truly are and how you truly feel.

Then you need to legitimize it. You need to give them space. You need to listen to their ideas. You need to validate their identity. You need to embrace and accept. You need to react against the undesirable pattern of reaction formation, but help them to create their own way and show them that if they were true to themselves, this would actually be far less undesirable than the reaction formation.

These contrarian reactions, these contrarian reactions, again, they are an appeal. They are crying for help. You need to provide a supportive environment. You need them to feel safe to admit and to accept what is happening to them.

And so defense mechanisms are symptoms of a problem with reality. It could be external reality. It could be internal reality.

But there's a problem with coping with reality. You need to allow them to evolve in a safe, containing environment, the capacity to cope with reality.

Never confront someone with reaction formation head on. It will only entrench him in his position. He will feel a lot more threatened and you will have lost him.

That's why never argue with a conspiracy theorist with reason or try to dismantle or deconstruct his nonsense. It's a wrong way to go about it.

People become conspiracy theorists and they have reactive formation because they are in distress and they don't need you to add to their distress. And they don't need you to put them down.

That's not what it's all about. Show them that their position is socially unacceptable, more socially unacceptable than who they really are and how they truly feel and show them that their real feelings are legitimate and accepted.


I want to refer you to two articles. They're pretty foundational articles published decades ago.

Juni, J-U-N-I in 1981, Theoretical Foundations of Reaction Formation, is a defense mechanism. It was published in Genetic Psychology Monographs, volume 104.

The abstract says, among the defense mechanisms, reaction formation is considered by the author to be the most stable, pervading the entire personality structure.

The source of the defensive energy is explored within the context of drive theory, paralleling superego development and the processes of functional autonomy of other drive derivatives.

The dynamics of balancing affect against behavior are analyzed with reference to the adaptive function of compulsion.

Reaction formation is shown to relate closely to repression in its capacity for comprehensive impulse negation.

The centrality of reaction formation within the constellation of characterology is underlying.

It's an interesting article. It's a bit too Freudian for me. There are too many references to the anal phase and all kinds of psychosexual phases of development.

But still, I think the author got many, many things right. Actually, he got it right first. We still teach and propagate many of the insights in this article.

The second article was published in Journal of Personality in January 2002. It was written by, authored by Roy Baumeister, who is a major, major figure in psychology, Karen Dale and Kristin Sommer. It's titled Freudian Defense Mechanisms and Empirical Findings in Modern Social Psychology.

Reaction formation, projection, displacement, undoing, isolation, sublimation and denial.

And again, I'll read to you the abstract.

Recent studies in social psychology are reviewed for evidence relevant to seven Freudian defense mechanisms.

This work emphasizes normal populations, moderate rather than extreme forms of defense and protection of self-esteem against threat.

Reaction formation, isolation and denial have been amply shown in studies and they do seem to serve defensive functions.

Undoing in the sense of counterfactual thinking is also well documented, but does not serve to defend against the threat.

Projection is evident, but the projection itself may be a byproduct of defense rather than part of the defensive response itself.

Displacement is not well supported in any meaningful sense, although emotions and physical arousal states do carry over from one situation to the next.

No evidence of sublimation was found. Reaction formation tends to increase dramatically in polarized societies.

Societies or conflict is the organizing principle. For example, American society, society in the United States today, is an anonomic polarized society and reaction formation is bound to explode as a preferred defense mechanism.

We are already seeing this. Everything from mass shootings to white supremacy, militancy is a form. These are forms of reaction formation.

Psychologists, politicians, decision makers and policy makers, educators would do well to pay very close attention to this much neglected defense mechanism.

Because ladies and gentlemen, it is upon us.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Falsify Reality, Deny Yourself: Primitive Defense Mechanisms (NEW Intro+Compilation)

Psychological defense mechanisms are designed to prevent inner conflict and maintain comfort with oneself. They reduce anxiety and prevent disintegration by falsifying reality and denying or repressing undesirable parts of oneself. Splitting, projection, and projective identification are key mechanisms that falsify reality and manage self-perception. Splitting involves seeing oneself as all good and others as all bad, avoiding guilt or shame. Projection attributes one's own unacceptable traits to others, while projective identification goes further, inducing others to behave in ways that confirm the projection. Reaction formation involves adopting behaviors that are the opposite of one's unacceptable impulses, such as a latent homosexual displaying homophobia. These mechanisms are crucial for internal tranquility but can distort reality and interpersonal perceptions.


What Is Acting Out? (and Covert Narcissist)

Acting out is a way for individuals to discharge conflicted mental content through action, often as a result of being unable to verbalize or communicate their internal struggles. It is commonly associated with personality disorders and can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Acting out can be seen as a form of somatization, using the body to remember and process repressed memories and emotions. It is important to distinguish acting out from other concepts such as acting in, passage à l'acte, and bad behavior, as they have different implications and meanings.


Fight Abandonment and Separation Anxiety

Codependent behaviors such as clinging and smothering are rooted in a deep fear of abandonment and separation. To overcome this, codependents must confront their anxieties through psychotherapy, medication, and self-help methods such as meditation and engaging in meaningful activities. Codependents should also adopt a scientific approach to their relationships, construct alternative hypotheses, and test them before making impulsive decisions. The longevity of long-term relationships lies in being transparent and expressing emotions and concerns honestly. Finally, codependents should prepare detailed contingency plans for every eventuality to reduce anxiety and gain control.


The Mentally Ill Form Couples

Mentally ill individuals often form couples or dyads, which can lead to fused relationships and trauma bonding. Coping strategies include active denial, enabling, and avoidance. Avoidance can lead to extreme estrangement and cruel disengagement, causing the mentally ill partner to act out in provocative or reckless ways. In extreme cases, the significant other can become a superego replacement, leading to major depressive attitudes, psychotic disorders, and even suicide.


Intimacy and Jealousy Regulate Relationships

In relationships, there are two ways to regulate behavior: intimacy and romantic jealousy. Healthy relationships achieve a balance between the two, but those with mood disorders or personality disorders cannot achieve intimacy and instead become fused together. To prevent abandonment, the partner may provoke romantic jealousy, but this can lead to the exact opposite effect and drive the other partner away. Finding the balance between intimacy and jealousy is difficult, and exaggerated regulatory behaviors can kill the relationship. The modern condition is that many people give up on relationships altogether.


Protecting Us From Ourselves Defense Mechanisms

Insight from psychoanalysis suggests that we are our own worst enemies due to our capacity for self-deceit. Defense mechanisms are widely thought to be the main instruments of self-deceit, and they serve to separate internal reality from external reality in order to reduce anxiety. These defenses can be successful or unsuccessful, and they play a role in normal psychic structure formation. Additionally, there are various types of defenses, and they can evolve and transform as the ego matures.


Masochistic Personality Disorder (Masochism)

Masochists have been taught to hate themselves and consider themselves unworthy of love, leading to self-destructive behaviors. They avoid pleasurable experiences and seek suffering, pain, and hurt in relationships. They reject help and render attempts to assist futile. Masochists tend to choose people and circumstances that lead to failure and avoid those that result in success or gratification. They adopt unrealistic goals and generate underachievements, leading to rage, depression, and guilt.


FIREWALL YOUR Relationships, Yourself: Boundaries vs. Borders

In relationships, borders are like membranes that allow in only selective types of communication and are policed by cultural and social mores. Borders are interpersonal and are forms of selectivity that regulate structure and introduce order into relationships. Boundaries are individual and are rules of conduct, red lines in the sand. Personal boundaries need to be communicated to people around you, including your intimate partner, and each boundary has to come with a cost, with a price tag. The ability to thrive in intimacy is inextricably linked to the capacity to maintain and enforce personal boundaries and negotiate and compromise interdichoic, intradiadic inside the couple, borders.


Fear of Intimacy Rationalized

People who fear intimacy have a phobia of exposing their vulnerabilities and committing to a long-term relationship. This fear is rooted in a deep distrust of the world and other people. They tend to devalue their intimate partner and imagine negative scenarios for the future. Fear of intimacy is a form of diffuse anxiety that causes people to withdraw and avoid intimate relationships. It is a cycle that can never be broken or interrupted, leading to a never-ending chase that never culminates in a happy ending.


Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

There are warning signs to identify abusers and narcissists early on in a relationship. One of the first signs is the abuser's tendency to blame others for their mistakes and failures. Other signs include hypersensitivity, eagerness to commit, controlling behavior, patronizing and condescending manner, and devaluing the partner. Abusers may also idealize their partner, have sadistic sexual fantasies, and switch between abusive and loving behavior. Paying attention to body language can also reveal warning signs.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2023
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy