Defense Mechanisms

Brief Overview

Psychological defense mechanisms are often used by an individual to cope with reality and maintain self-image. These often occur outside awareness as part of the automatic responses that make up mental, emotional and behavioral habits.

Below is a list of defense mechanisms associated with the corresponding Enneagram personality type. These were some of the primary associations made by Claudio Naranjo in one of his books (other authors may associate different defense mechanisms with each type). Following each defense mechanism is my attempt to describe its relevant meaning to the type.

Type 1: Reaction Formation
where unacceptable urges or emotions are replaced with opposite acceptable behaviors.

Type 2: Repression
where personal desires and needs are excluded from conscious awareness.

Type 3: Identification
where the self-image models the expectations of others.

Type 4: Introjection
where aspects of the external world and other people are integrated into the self.

Type 5: Isolation
where emotion is detached from a situation in favor of intellectual content.

Type 6: Projection
where unacknowledged self motives, feelings, and thoughts are attributed to others.

Type 7: Rationalization
where unacceptable motivations for an attitude or action are reframed through good reasoning.

Type 8: Denial
where emotions or sensations of weakness are not acknowledged.

Type 9: Narcotization
where conflict and discomfort are avoided through self-comforting activities and routines.