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zander101's avatar

In your own interactions with others, do you feel people use self-preservation, defense mechanisms or coping strategies in response to conflict?

Asked by zander101 (591 points ) March 10th, 2014

In social settings, work environments etc. we do influence each other to a degree where a certain approaches are used more than others to diffuse or sometimes escalate a situation. In reference to conflict, do you feel people use self-preservation, defense mechanism or coping strategies

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18 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Uh yeah, doesn’t everyone?

zenvelo's avatar

Everyone uses a different, personal mix of that and other things. And, it is situational: a conflict with a stranger on the street will be handled differently than a conflict with the boss at work, or with a policeman directly questioning, or a child that is testing boundaries.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s not an either/or question.

Different people use different actions in different situations. It’s a combination of any/all of the ones that you describe, depending on the reason for the reaction and the amount of criticism they are receiving.

Almost all actions of this type are situational – there isn’t one particular path that is always taken.

susanc's avatar

I have a problem with the question. Are you asking whether I use these things or whether I believe other people do?

downtide's avatar

I think I need an explanation of the difference between these three things. The question confuses me.

Coloma's avatar

It all depends on how self aware one is and if they have ever done any personal growth or communication work.
I consider myself to be a good communicator and am not easily offended or upset, I am assertive and take a pretty clear and direct approach to issues. I often encounter defensive and worse, passive aggressive people that have the communication skills of a 4 yr. old when under duress. I am, as a woman, an rare rational thinking personalty type and not given to allowing my emotions to over rule candor and logic.

I find it very hard to relate to a lot of women that are feelers, because they tend to use emotional reasoning in situations that call for adhering to the facts and logic without going all emo. I have a very warm and caring side, am quite easy going, but if you want to rile my emotions be irrational and unable to stick to the topic at hand without resorting to emotional blackmail and other irrational responses to problems that need to be addressed with logic, facts and candid discussion.
Those that cannot differentiate between reason and emotion drive me insane. lol

I recently confronted my boss about her minimizing my work duties when she hired me last year, and asked for a raise.
She attempted to try and rationalize her very unclear and minimized job description. I kept my cool, stuck to the facts and presented my issues calmly without allowing her to derail the topic.
It was quite funny because I observed she couldn’t make eye contact with me, was trying to walk away and was flustered that I would not concede to her flimsy “reasoning.”
At one point she attempted to try and tell me that ” well, that’s part of the job” as if she could arbitrarily continue adding more and more responsibilities on me that were not previously discussed.

In reply to her dysfunctional “reasoning” ( read: taking advantage of me ) I calmly stated that all these unmentioned extras had value.
She blurted out as she scrambled for an exit ” Okay, okay, you’ve got it!” the raise

I think I intimidate her. Nice switch on the employee/boss relationship. haha.
Many people feel threatened by clear, direct communication.

gailcalled's avatar

“Coping skills” covers it all.

Defense mechanism is a term coined by Freud; “Most notably used by {him} in his psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism is a tactic developed by the ego to protect against anxiety.”

“Self-preservation” covers most of it, too.

The sabertooth tiger waits to pounce on you. You feel the need to preserve the self, seriously cope, and protect against anxiety.

The mean high school girls are saying mean things to you. You feel the same need to preserve the self, cope, and protect against anxiety.

Defense-mechanisms traditionally refer to;

Denial
Repression and suppression
Displacement
Sublimation
Projection
Intellectualization
Rationalization
Regression
Reaction formtion
Altruism
Avoidance
Compesation
Humor
Passive-aggression

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Yes, however humor would be considered suppression, and suppression is always preferable to repression. haha
Gah….one of the worst IMO is using “altruism” manipulatively. I have had a few encounters with the saintly evil. lol

gailcalled's avatar

Coping mechanisms include, by definition, coping against the coping mechanisms of others.

edit; compensation

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Haha…agreed!
If ya can’t cope, get a rope, and hang ‘em high! ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

^^ That would be “unpassive aggression.”

Coloma's avatar

^^^ Yes, it would be assertive aggression, you will see me coming with the rope, no passive aggressive hangings. haha

KNOWITALL's avatar

Most people at my job use self-preservation. They will lie straight to a manager’s face to deflect the blame onto someone else or claim ignorance, it’s terrible.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Ugh! The games people play.
What I hate most about my work is having to be social and force myself to be little ms. sunshine on days when I just don’t have it in me. Nothing worse than forced socialization.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma Agreed. Or chit-chatting when you’re busy and you really just want to tell them to shut up and go away (co-workers)...lol

zander101's avatar

@elbanditoroso it can be depending on the person you encounter, zenvelo hit it right on the head, it is situational. @KNOWITALL self-preservation is always a given in the workplace environment, especially when an individual gets threatened by another, it’s really sad really. @Coloma I agree people do get threatened by clear direct communication in response some personalities get really nasty from my experience.

Coloma's avatar

@zander101 Welcome to the pod, and yes, so true. Bah! lol

NanoNano's avatar

In strict answer to your question, science has shown that in crisis situations the brain stem makes our decisions for us as it acts faster, on what you might call “instinct” or flight or fight response.

It bypasses the cerebral cortex, the higher thinking center where we reason things out logically and weigh the pros and cons. You don’t want your cerebral cortex in charge when a lion is running your way. You’d be lunch.

But in a typical office setting, I think what you are seeing as a coping strategy is the application of habit. Someone’s brain reverts to learned behavior that works, how were conflicts revolved with siblings, with friends at school, within transitory relationships with the opposite sex growing up? These memories are accessed and used.

So I wouldn’t call it self-preservation. Its more of self-perpetuation of old strategies that often are out of date, but hold some residual value.

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