Defense mechanisms are developed in order to protect a person against anxieties, stressors, and overall unpleasant feelings or tensions. Some of these unwanted feelings can be brought about by shame, low self-esteem, and conflict as well. In order to protect ourselves against these negative emotions, we have come up with defenses to protect ourselves. Most of the time, these defenses are unconscious to us, as in we are unaware that we even use them. That’s not always the case, and if we think about it we probably can identify with a defense mechanism or two that we have used before; however, in the moment of conflict or stress, we generally are unaware of our own defenses. Sometimes we use positive and mature defenses, other times not so much.
There are hundreds of defense mechanisms out there, and each one is unique in the way a person uses them as their situation and emotions can only be experienced by themselves. That being said, if we look to our zodiac sign, we may be able to determine the defense mechanisms we are more likely to use based upon the traits and characteristics we share on a general level with our sign. So if you’ve ever wondered the type of defense you tend to turn to, just take a gander at your zodiac sign.
Aries Men: Counterphobic Behavior
Simply put, counterphobic behavior means you do exactly what scares you. The reason is to prove that you’re not actually frightened by it. As a defense mechanism, a counterphobic behavior is a person’s own attempts at getting over the very thing they are fearful of, in order to relieve some of the tension that object or situation may bring into their lives.
Aries men do not like to show fear. They’re bold, brave, and a bit impulsive. They don’t like to feel limited by anything, so if there is something in their life that is causing unwanted tension they will do anything to dissolve it. This is especially true if they feel that the tension is based on a weakness of theirs. Aries men will want to overcome this weakness, especially if it is based on a fear of theirs, and so they will turn to counterphobic behavior as a defense mechanism in order to resolve such a problem.
Aries Women: Impulsivity
When used as a defense, impulsivity is closely associated with the defense of undoing. Whereas undoing is an apologetic action for a prior action, impulsivity is an action that is based on an unpleasant feeling. If something is creating stress or any other negative emotion, a person lacking impulse control may act out without fully thinking through the consequences. An example could be a person who rushes to date someone new immediately after a breakup in order to relieve the negative feelings from the end of one relationship.
Aries women are likely to use impulsivity as a defense mechanism. By nature Aries tend to be impulsive, so when faced with unpleasant emotions they reach for the first chance to relieve it. Aries women will act on the urge to do something as long as it offers the chance to relieve tension, finding another action or object to replace the one causing stress in their lives.
Taurus Men: Denial
Denial is perhaps one of the most common, or at the very least one of the best-known defense mechanisms. When a person is in denial they will ignore reality for what it is, perhaps turning a blind eye to a well-known truth. Denial is used as a way to suppress negative feelings, conflicts, or stressors. The idea behind denying a situation is if it is not thought about then the person does not have to deal with the suffering through the stress of the situation or even deal with it.
Denial is not the best form of defense, however, it is common for Taurus men to use. Taurus men like stability, security, and are very set in their ways, so when something disrupts that they want nothing to do with it. They are also known for being stubborn, which is why they choose to deny anything that doesn’t fit the way they want it to be.
Taurus Women: Displacement
In its definition, displacement as a defense mechanism is having feelings toward one person but rather than expressing those feelings towards them, you experience them with someone else. Simplified, displacement is taking emotions meant for one person and throwing them onto another. For example, when someone enrages you, rather than releasing your frustration on them, you argue with another, often times safer, individual.
As stable and secure a Taurus is, they tend to have quite the temper. For Taurus women, it takes a lot to really push their temper, and it usually only flares after the build of a lot of pent-up feelings. However, when their temper is unleashed it can be brutal. Unfortunately for some, a Taurus woman may displace her anger onto someone else in substitution for the person she is really angered with. Not to worry, once she cools down her logical side will take hold and she will likely apologize for her misplaced emotions.
Gemini Men: Garrulousness
Simply put, the defense mechanism of garrulousness is when a person talks too much without actually saying anything circumstantial or even tangential. People who use garrulousness as a defense tend to over talk as a means of protecting themselves from anxieties that may arise from others invading their self-image, or be getting too close to seeing their true selves.
Gemini men love the social scene and being surrounded by friends. However, just because they are social, doesn’t mean they necessarily feel the need to be a hundred percent open with people. Being that they are social, Gemini men have no problem talking to other people. In fact, they enjoy talking to people, including people they just met. However, they can get insecure and would rather be liked by others than disliked. When those feelings occur, these men can turn to their garrulous defense by continuously talking in order to avoid the conversation from ever getting too personal.
Gemini Women: Reaction Formation
Reaction formation is the urge to do or say something but instead doing the opposite of that urge. Often reaction formation includes when a person is angry at someone or dislikes a particular person, they won’t act unfriendly towards them, despite their dislike, opting to be friendly and polite instead. Reaction formation is said to reduce anxieties by hiding the negatives of how a person really feels, through them doing the opposite of their true emotions.
Gemini may say one thing and then do the opposite. Some may claim that is a case of indecisiveness but with Gemini women, it may actually be their defense mechanism. Gemini women are very social and don’t particularly like conflict. In order to avoid conflict, they’ll try to be friendly towards everyone, including people they dislike. They also understand how important this can be professionally, and so they use this defense mechanism as a means to reduce potential conflicts.
Cancer Men: Introjection
Introjection can work both as a defense mechanism, and as a coping mechanism as well. When someone uses introjection, they are taking the attributes of another person or environment onto themselves. When introjection occurs it is because the person had identified specific qualities that they felt necessary to take on as a part of them. However, they don’t necessarily realize they are doing this, rather they believe the ideas and values were solely their own and not from someplace else.
Cancer men use introjection as their defense mechanism. These sensitive individuals find it easier to identify with someone and interjecting that person’s attributes onto themselves than to deal with the stress and anxiety that they were feeling. Introjection works by allowing a person to walk in someone else’s shoes. When Cancer men feel overly stressed by something they will take on attributes of a person who is not stressed by the same situation in order to better cope.
Cancer Women: Undoing
Undoing is a defense mechanism meant to right a wrong. This defense mechanism kicks in when a person feels bad about either an action they have committed or a thought that passed through their mind. In a way, it is meant to atone for the bad by doing something good instead. For example, if you hurt someone’s feelings you may feel sorry for it and seek to make the person feel better by doing an act of kindness for them.
Cancer women are very emotional and sensitive individuals. At times they can be a bit moody, but it is never their intention to ever hurt someone. When these women act in a manner that hurts someone or simply have a bad thought about them, they will rush to make things right. Undoing works as their defense mechanism because it allows them to correct something they did that is causing stress in their life as a result.
Leo Men: Compensation
Compensation as a defense mechanism is defined as a means in which a person tries to make up for one of their weaknesses by building up their strengths instead. The purpose of compensation is to draw attention away from a weakness by overly and excessively promoting a strength. Rather than feeling inferior, compensation allows a person to obtain feelings of superiority in another area, ideally one still closely related to the area of weakness. Overall, compensation is a relatively harmless defense, unless acting out in violence is the compensation.
Leo men are prone to having sensitive egos. They do not like feeling inferior in anything, as they revel in feelings of superiority. When faced with something they see as a flaw or weakness, Leo men will not rest until they can make up for it, thus tending to find a strength they can compensate it with.
Leo Women: Sublimation
The defense mechanism of sublimation is known as a mature defense mechanism. Sublimation allows people to act on unacceptable impulses and behaviors by replacing the unacceptable action with a positive and acceptable one. For example, a person who has violent rage may take up kickboxing in order to release their aggression. Sublimation is all about finding an alternative route to release negative emotions rather than engaging in a negative action.
Leo women commonly use sublimation as their defense mechanism. Leo women feel emotions intensely and passionately, sometimes becoming over emotional. In these instances, they often will look for ways to release these feelings. As a sign that has a lot of energy, Leo women may take up a sport or physical activity in order to work out the energy that pent-up energy. They are also highly creative and may seek a more artistic approach to dealing with stress in their lives, pouring their energy into a new project.
Virgo Men: Intellectualization
Intellectualization is the attempt to use logic and reason to avoid uncomfortable situations. This defense mechanism can be as simple as choosing to talk about an interesting book you read instead of engaging in more emotional based conversations. A common trait of a person who uses intellectualization as a defense mechanism is to use a high level of vocabulary, known as jargon when conversing with others. As a defense mechanism, intellectualization seeks to avoid anxiety-inducing situations. Intellectualization is known as an “isolation of effect” as it uses intellect in order to remove emotions from a specific situation.
Virgo men are prone to using intellectualization as their go-to defense mechanism. They often avoid being run by their emotions, preferring logic and reason instead. That is why when it comes to awkward and uncomfortable situations or even any problem for that matter, they rely on logic, facts, and intellect to get them through.
Virgo Women: Passive Aggressive
Being passive aggressive as a defense mechanism means indirectly expressing anger. A passive aggressive person won’t vocalize their anger, rather they choose to remain quiet about it and let their feelings simmer. However, just because they won’t express what has made them upset doesn’t mean their actions won’t give them away. Passive aggressive behavior usually includes, a person retaining resentment or negative views about another person or situation, hostile jokes, silent treatment, and procrastinating out of spite. A passive aggressive person may struggle to express their true feelings.
Virgo women are very hardworking individuals, and for the most part, choose logic over emotion. They fear rejection and not feeling good enough. For that reason, they may have a hard time expressing their emotions. When feeling intense emotions, especially that of displeasure, they will try to cope with those feelings on their own, however, while they sit with those negative feelings they end up showing through as passive aggressive actions.
Libra Men: Rationalization
As a defense mechanism, rationalization is defined as coming up with a logical explanation as to why something occurred. Generally, when using rationalization, a person will try to come up with an excuse as to why they engaged in a bad behavior in order to avoid admitting why they really misbehaved.
Libra men tend to be a bit self-indulgent, and are generally always very charming. That being said they are good at talking and do so in a manner that makes what their saying seem appeasing and logical. When they do something that they know they shouldn’t do, this laid-back sign will simply come up with an explanation that sounds logical in theory in order to get out of dealing with their decision. They don’t like stress or anything overly emotional so they lean on logic to rationalize these feelings away.
Libra Women: Altruism
Altruism is a mature defense mechanism that seeks to avoid personal conflicts by focusing on the problems of others. Altruism as a defense mechanism seeks to help others solve their problems and helping them feel good. By assisting others, they avoid their own pains as their concentration is on another’s pain. This helps a person cope as helping someone with a problem, more so if that problem is similar to their own, indirectly allows them to come to terms with or find a solution to their own problem.
Libra women are very caring and unselfish. They will go out of their way to help their friends and family, without ever asking for anything in return. With their big hearts, Libra women enjoy helping people. Since they are used to being there for others, altruism is an easy defense mechanism to use. For Libra women, the best defense against their own pain is to help someone through their own pain.
Scorpio Men: Prevarication
Prevarication is a defense mechanism characterized as lying on purpose for a specific reason. Prevarication is calculated lying. This is done in order to gain something or to sway a particular situation in one way or another. This can be as simple as telling a little white lie in order to avoid hurting another person’s feelings, to a means of manipulation. Overall, prevarication is a common defense mechanism, generally to protect against superego anxiety.
Ironically, Scorpio hates liars. However, when it comes to the defense mechanism that is most common for them to use, Scorpio men most often use prevarication. Scorpio are very sensitive and can be their own worse enemy. They tend to suffer from superego anxiety, which makes them very self-critical. As a means to protect themselves from their own superego, Scorpio men will avoid the truth going so far as to fabricate a lie instead.
Confabulation is a defense mechanism described as an initially accurate perception that somehow becomes lost within extensive, unrealistic, grandiose, personal elaborations and associations. In more simplistic terms, as a defense confabulation is unconsciously motivated lying that occurs as an automatic response to low self-esteem when they can’t accurately recall the details of something. People using confabulation as a defense don’t even realize it.
Scorpio is the one sign that hates lying above all else, which makes it ironic that Scorpio women tend to lean towards confabulation as their defense mechanism. Scorpio women like to be in charge and have control over everything. For that reason, it becomes easy for Scorpio women to fabricate a lie in order to explain why something didn’t pan out, even if they have no idea what really occurred. They don’t mean to lie, and in fact, don’t even realize that they are. They simply believe their version of events is what actually took place.
Sagittarius Men: Humor
Humor is considered to be a mature defense mechanism. When a person uses humor as a defense mechanism they turn to kidding around in order to avoid any painful or discomforting feelings. People turn to humor in order to not think about or even to avoid showing how upset they might be. However, humor is not always a defense mechanism as it can simply just be used for a purpose of producing pleasure with a good laugh.
Sagittarius men don’t take things too seriously. They prefer optimism over pessimism and are very apt to accepting and supporting change. That being said, not much can keep them upset. So when something does bother them, rather than dwell on it, they are sooner to make a joke about the situation, laugh it off, and move on. Sagittarius men turn to humor to relieve any stressful situation because it allows them to laugh at something negative before moving onto life’s next adventure.
Sagittarius Women: Aim Inhibition
Aim inhibition occurs when a task does not go according to plan. Rather than do nothing, aim inhibition is a defense mechanism that takes action. People that use aim inhibition will modify their original plans in order to reach a new one if things did not work out for their initial goals.
Aim inhibition shows an ability to be flexible and to be adaptable to change. This is why Sagittarius women tend to use it as their defense mechanism. Sagittarius are very positive and hate pessimism and negativity. They don’t tend to let things get them down for long and are quick to pick themselves up again when things don’t turn out the way they planned. They are also very adaptable and love change. For these reasons they find it easy to use aim inhibition when things don’t go their way, easily altering their plans and goals in order to succeed.
Capricorn Men: Projection
Projection occurs when a person takes his or her own faults or unacceptable attributes and places them on another person. This allows the person to criticize these negative qualities without directly criticizing themselves. Simply put, projection is seeing your bad traits in others rather than yourself. This can come across as projective blaming as well, in which a person places blame for something that is upsetting them, even though it was their fault.
Capricorn men tend to use projection as their defense mechanism without even realizing they are doing it. Capricorn men have sensitive egos and take criticism poorly. They want to succeed and when faced with conflict, will search for where the blame should be placed. They may recognize that they are to blame but it is easier for them to project onto someone else in order to find a solution to the conflict rather than to beat themselves up over it.
Capricorn Women: Compartmentalization
As a defense mechanism, Compartmentalization takes on a “divide and conquer” mentality. This means compartmentalization is a process of separating conflicting thoughts and actions in order to avoid any tension, problems, or stress they may create. Simply put, Compartmentalization inhibits a person from making connections by building up internal walls to separate the different aspects of our lives, behaviors, or even values. A person may behave in a way that conflicts with their values, however, they are able to do so simply because the compartmentalized the behavior and value as separate aspects, never integrating the two.
Capricorns are all about efficiency. They want to get their work done with as little hassle as possible and move onto the next task quickly. Capricorn women tend to favor compartmentalization as their defense mechanism in order to tackle any task with as little if any, confliction arising.
Aquarius Men: Identification
Identification is a defense mechanism that uses the ability to take on the characteristics of someone else, who is seen as being an important figure. This mechanism is done in order to overcome feelings of inferiority. This defense mechanism generally occurs unconsciously as a person will view someone they deem great and then begin to model their life as such. With this defense mechanism, a person tries to avoid their own conflicts by attempting to create a better version of themselves.
Aquarius men are very unique so it doesn’t seem likely that they will try to be someone else. However, using Identification as a defense mechanism, Pisces men are simply trying to better themselves. They do so by keeping their individuality, something they are proud of, while only adapting traits that are better behaviors than some of their negative ones. Aquarius men want to lead successful lives and will identify with successful individuals as their role models.
Aquarius Women: Fantasy
As a defense mechanism, Fantasy can vary in degrees of harmless to delusional. At it’s worst, a person will completely deny reality and create a falsified world for long-term relief of everyday life. However, at its harmless stage, Fantasy provides temporary relief from stressors and conflicts by focusing all of your energy on something you want to achieve. For example, when failure occurs, begin imagining a long-term goal and the next steps that will bring you there, ignoring the current setback.
Aquarius are very inventive, especially women of this sign. They are unique and big dreamers, however, that never deters them from their goals. Aquarius women tend to use Fantasy as a defense mechanism in order to focus on what is really important to them. When things go wrong they run to their daydream of what they really want in order to motivate themselves to get right back on track.
Pisces Men: Temporal Regression
Temporal Regression refers to the focus on an earlier time in order to avoid thinking about a current conflict in your life. Temporal regression is often associated solely with regression, meaning reverting back to behaviors that perhaps you would do back at an early stage in your life. Generally, people with temporal regression will focus on their childhood, and can often get stuck placing too much focus on the past in order to avoid current issues.
Pisces men will often use temporal regression as their defense mechanism. Being a highly sensitive sign, Pisces seeks to avoid conflict above all else. They’ll frequently try to deny issues and stressors in their life, believing if they ignore it then it will go away. While trying to deny and avoid the problem they will heavily emphasize their past, getting wrapped up in a time when the current conflict was not an issue and may even begin acting in such a manner.
Pisces Women: Affiliation
Affiliation can both be considered an adaptive skill and a defense mechanism. However, affiliation is considered a mature defense mechanism, as a person chooses to seek out the counsel and company of others. As a defense mechanism, affiliation includes leaning on friends for support and counsel, venting to them, and even planning a day out in order to provide a distraction for the stressor in your life.
Pisces are very emotional. At times, they like to be alone, however, they often find themselves in the company of a wide variety of friends. Pisces women are especially selfless and will go out of their way to the people they care about. While they don’t generally seek out anything from people in return, they do seek personal connection. When faced with a negative situation, Pisces will turn to those closest to them for advice and occasionally for a distraction.