How Sublimation Defense Mechanism Influences Our Behavior

How It Protects Us From Negative Thoughts

3 min readSep 6, 2022


Image by Elias from Pixabay


The sublimation defense mechanism is used when someone wants to transform their inappropriate impulses into more socially acceptable behaviors.

According to Freud, sublimation can be considered a sign of maturity because it permits the individual to behave and present themselves in a socially acceptable manner.

Some of the examples of sublimation defense mechanism

  • A person who has an unwanted inclination to engage in fights with others might try to participate in sports and athletic tournaments. By participating in competitive sports, the person is focused on winning instead of acting on negative impulses to fight with others.
  • A person who is going through a bad breakup might take interest in writing (any type). Through writing, the person is trying to cope with his/her unpleasant feelings. Furthermore, writing helps the person channel the grief and emotional turmoil into a creative activity.
  • A person who has obsessive control issues might take interest in leadership roles and activities. Here, the person is positively channeling their control issues by thriving in leadership roles and becoming a business owner.

What Effects Can Sublimation Have In Your Life

Sublimation enables us to direct our energy toward positive activities instead of behaving in a way that might cause harm to others. However, if this defense mechanism is used for a very long time it might negatively impact your mental health and wellbeing.

Although we are sometimes aware that our unpleasant emotions influence our behavior in a certain way but most of the time we are totally unconscious of such influence. Also, we are unaware of the defense mechanisms that are influencing our behavior and actions.

On the contrary, there might not be any direct relationship between the reasons behind the negative emotion and the sublimated behavior. Though…




Ph.D. Candidate (Mgmt)| Educator |Content Writer | Writing about things that intrigue my curious mind |