As people grow older, they experience many physical and mental changes that affect their functioning in society. Initially, many people attain the mid-life crisis between the ages of 45 and 64 and experience a psychological crisis due to life events that highlight their advancing age, shortcomings in accomplishments, and inevitable mortality. For instance, they have a longing for youthfulness and feel remorseful for the goals they have not attained (Kirsh, 2014). Moreover, as people advance in age, they begin to suffer from physical and mental ailments that are linked to their advanced age. For instance, the grey matter declines in older people and they lose certain cognitive functioning such as bas coordination and memory. Moreover, older people are also marginalized from society since they are economically dependent on their families, as most of their peers have succumbed to the effects of old age.
Helplessness is a behavior, which people develop after they experience situations where they are exposed to painful events that they cannot avoid or escape. Helplessness occurs after an individual faces adverse stimuli over time and he/she gives up since the person feels they have lost control of the situation (Kirsh, 2014). Psychologists feel that many people who suffer from mental illnesses such as clinical depression, do so after succumbing to helplessness. However, people who have not embraced helplessness still feel that they are in control over their lives and they, therefore, take conscious steps to address the challenges they are facing. Such people develop a positive attitude even when facing major life challenges since they have the self-confidence in their ability to overcome the obstacles and change their lives for the better.
Defense mechanisms are psychological tactics that people subconsciously use to protect themselves from anxieties when they face unacceptable feelings or thoughts. Some of the common defense mechanisms include denial, projection, repression, regression, sublimation, and displacement (Schacter, 2011). There are several benefits and weaknesses associated with using defense mechanisms when dealing with stressful experiences. The first advantage is that people are able to cope with stressful situations without harming themselves. Another benefit is that it allows people to postpone dealing with stressful events until they are ready to face their situations. However, one disadvantage of using defense mechanisms is that it does not address the issues facing the person and he/she, therefore, continues to hurt and cannot attain healing. Moreover, defense mechanisms suppress the stressful feelings that one is experiencing and this may manifest itself in harmful actions or behavior in the future if the person does not deal with the situation they are facing in life.
Kirsh, S. J. (2014). Text: Psychology for living: Adjustment, Growth, and Behavior Today
11th Edition. Pearson.
Schacter, D. L. (2011). Psychology Second Edition. New York: Worth Publishers
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