Pertaining to modern day race relations between European Americans and African Americans, for example, have we reached the point that ego defenses have actually become conscious defenses on the part of a significant number of White people?
Using ego defense mechanisms is often a way of buying time while we [White people] consciously or unconsciously wrestle with more realistic solutions for whatever is troubling us.
Psychiatrist William Vaillant (1993) has elaborated a detailed schema for understanding the continued development of the ego into adulthood, based on the evolution of ego defenses
1 Thomas Strentz, "Law Enforcement Policy and Ego Defenses
of the Hostage," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, April 1979, 1.
Moreover, a variety of symptoms were said to occur with the transition; these included subjective discomfort, confusion, mood swings, ego defenses
, impulsivity, acting-out, and heightened physical and somatic complaints (Erikson, 1956, 1963, 1968).
The ego defenses
, which have a particular influence on the musculature by increasing tension, prevent the conscious experience of such intrapsychic turmoil to reach conscious awareness.
In each issue where ego defenses
are clearly involved, the patient is also demonstrating efforts to compensate for cognitive disturbance with only partial success.