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Aubrey McKnight

Psychology 1010-020
Wendy Heimbigner
April 4 2016
Quick Assignment #4

Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, theorizes that the mind is
made up of three systems that interact and conflict with each other: the id, the
superego and the ego. The id is the part of the mind that deals with the needs,
wants, impulses and desires of the human body. It works on the pleasure principle,
the motivation to seek immediate gratification for those impulses. The superego is
the opposite of the id. It is the system where cultural rules, guidelines, and rules of
conduct that are used to control behavior are stored. The last system, the ego, is
the part of the mind that is developed through outside contact, it is the part that
allows people to functionally deal with the demands of everyday life. Freud believed
that an individuals personality structure was based on how well these three
systems interacted with each other. One of the three systems is usually dominant.
The relationship between these three systems is largely conflicting in nature.
This internal conflict can cause a person to experience anxiety. When the ego is
faced with anxiety, it attempts to fight the anxiety with a defense mechanism.
According to Freud, there are several different defense mechanisms that can be
triggered. Defense mechanisms are automatic and are an unconscious response
that help a person cope with those impulses that are deemed unacceptable. They
are activated in order to reduce anxiety.
Repression, the act of motivated forgetting or removing painful experiences
from memory is the first defense mechanism that the ego will attempt. If that does

not work, other defense mechanisms are introduced. Others include: rationalization:
attempting to justify behavior or an attitude with a logical reason to hide ones true
motives, reaction formation: replacing threatening inner wishes with exaggerated
versions of their opposites, projection: placing ones own threatening motives or
impulses on to another person, regression: reverting to immature behavior to deal
with internal conflict, displacement: shifting unacceptable feelings or motivations on
to a less threatening alternative, identification: dealing with feelings of anxiety by
emulating another person who seems more able to cope, and sublimation:
channeling unacceptable sexual or aggressive impulses into more socially
acceptable activities.
Many of these defense mechanisms sound familiar because at one time or
another, we have used them or can identify someone else who has. There is one in
particular that I have used with some frequency, which is displacement. One
situation in particular brings out the worst in me: driving. Driving in general puts me
in a bad mood. There is just something about it that makes me crazy, impatient,
and rude. I have found that if I have to spend more than just a few minutes behind
the wheel, there is a very good chance that I will turn into a completely different
person. When I would get home from a particularly awful drive, usually done
through rush hour traffic, I would take this bad mood out on my familymy husband
in particular. Many of our arguments were started just because I was mad at or
annoyed by other drivers on the road. The negative feelings that I was experiencing
had nothing to do with him, but he became my unfortunate target.
I have not wanted to keep exhibiting this behavior. I have actively tried to
stop doing it because it was negatively affecting my home life and my relationship
with my husband. I have found that some kinds of music calm me while driving, like

classical music or songs that I like to sing along with. Listening to audiobooks has
also helped. The best remedy overall has been just acknowledging that it was
happening and mentally trying to keep a positive attitude instead of letting other
drivers get to me.