Regression - This is a way of protection when the psyche resorts to returning to a childish state in order to reduce anxiety or resolve conflict. Accordingly, the children's model of behavior turns out to be immature, less effective, and difficult to adapt. At the same time, it often causes the state of a parent to others, an unconscious desire to take care of whether it is a weaker or more flawed person. However, the regression mechanism is included not only in interpersonal interaction, a person can activate it also alone with himself, in the inner psychological reality, because the child’s model of behavior seems to him more secure and calming.

What is regression in psychology?

Regression is a return to its earlier forms of behavior. It comes from the fact that the current, mature behavior a person does not have the ability to achieve the desired goals. For example, a girl cannot convince her man of a fact. What does she choose? Often these are tears, and crying, which are not a rational way to resolve a situation, this is the way she used in her childhood to attract attention and achieve what she wanted.

Athletes involved in martial arts and learn a lot of techniques in the hall, entering the ring, use only a few regression techniques, which is due to frustration, stress, in which people tend to return to the most effective early forms of behavior that have never failed him. Although their effectiveness is a very controversial issue, in fact it would be more appropriate to use other forms of behavior. But there are skills that are found in the basis of the psyche, as they say, “on the subcortex”, which are easy to return to, and this happens unconsciously. This does not solve the problem, but temporarily calms a person down, reduces his anxiety level.

Everyone keeps from childhood memories of pleasant moments, easy resolution of problems and at least once thought to return to childhood. Personalities that use regression as the dominant defense mechanism when it becomes a life strategy are called infantile; such a long-term regression in psychology is synonymous with infantilism.

Regression as a phenomenon was first described by Freud. Freudian regression is a rejection of the progressive movement of desire towards action, a return to imagery or hallucinations. Freudian regression also finds itself in dreams and neuroses, in which he considered a return to archaic life forms, both individual and phylogenetic.

Regression - defense mechanism

Regression in psychology is a defense mechanism that develops when I am weak in personality, it is the immature personality that most often resorts to regression, since this method is the closest to it and does not require any additional efforts.

In regression, a person seeks unconscious reunion, complete comfort and satisfaction, which he received from his mother. The absence of the need to make efforts, trying new strategies for carrying out, with a lack of energy and inertia of the personality makes the regression an accessible and simple way to adapt. Another question is that the adaptation is difficult and ultimately turns out to be incomplete. Build a mature relationship with others with the dominant regressive protection, infantilism, becomes impossible. The interaction is built only if the partner has a complementary strategy, the active state of the parent, the relationship then more closely resembles the child-parent symbiosis.

A stronger, sthenic person resorts to regression only when the other defense mechanisms were ineffective, and a state of frustration came. Regression in this case, most often partial and short-lived, returning to the children's forms of satisfaction of needs and having received the desired discharge, reducing stress, the personality returns to other types of protection. Therefore, having determined that regression for a long time dominates in the arsenal of defenses, attention should be paid to the development of the personality, recognizing its immaturity. The character is dominated by such features as dependence on others and their opinions, lack of independence, easy suggestibility and giving in to the influence of others, the lack of deep stable interests, a quick change of mood, tearfulness, touchiness, inability to bring to the end, irresponsibility and fear of the future. In extreme cases, this can be expressed in parasitism, alcohol abuse, dependence on narcotic drugs.

Regression in psychology - examples

A frequent example of regression as a reversal, in the past, to its earlier patterns, is the behavior of an older child at the birth of a younger one. It becomes difficult for the elder to endure that another object appeared for parental love, and he begins to cry and act up, as a few years ago, may begin to crawl into the stroller, take clothes, a nipple and rattles of the younger one, eat his food, roar, crawl, representing from a kid. Often there is even a return to involuntary urination. This helps him to cope with the tension, resentment and jealousy that appeared in connection with the competition, the "betrayal" of parents, to attract attention to him so that he will be loved just like a baby. The older child in this situation seems to have forgotten about him, although at the same age he was usually given the same amount of attention.

Regular childhood illnesses can also talk about the need for parental attention, with unwillingness to go to kindergarten or school, symptoms of a cold quickly appear, and in neglected situations serious chronic illnesses that have a psychosomatic nature develop. It is more often to show your child your love, and if the reason for the poor relationships in the children's team is to talk about it or change kindergarten or school.

The same can happen with an adult when he falls ill. A low temperature is experienced as a serious, serious illness that can be unconsciously displayed to others in order to receive the full care and attention that an adult remembers from childhood. This is what psychology treats as secondary gain.

Somatization may also occur here, when the disease itself occurs due to the need to reduce mental stress, as if to return to childhood and take a break. If the real cause of the disease was regression, the cure becomes very difficult, the doctors' efforts often do not bring the desired results, the disease can change its shape or even switch to another, showing high resistance to various medical interventions, hypochondria develops. Timely successful diagnosis of the psychological cause of the disease allows not only to go in the right direction to recovery, but also maintains the patient’s actual physical health.

In other cases, a tired adult can begin to whimper like a child, stomp his foot or be offended, know who, turn around and leave. This includes incontinence in emotions, which children often forgive, rebellion against authorities, chaotic behavior, love for fast and careless driving, without thinking about the consequences. In situations of overload, almost everyone was tempted to get wrapped in a blanket, eat sweets and watch cartoons. Some adults for life retain the love of children's animation, wear clothes in a childish style, play games. Computer addiction is also associated with a regressive departure from adult reality in the children's world on the screen, to which a person was used while still a child.

Examples of regression in psychology. Psychologists often observe a regression with their clients for counseling. As soon as the psychologist and the client approach the super-important for the last question that needs to be decided, the client often fails to endure this emotional overload and starts fooling around: twirl the hair on the nose, take off and play with the ring, spin on the chair, joke. Regression in child behavior drags a person back to reduce the critical level of stress, and the psychologist must track this and work with the client.

Regressive rollback to childhood is common to almost all people in a situation where the desired can be obtained from someone close. So the child begins to beg for candy from the mother in a more childish voice, capricious and crushing on pity. A wife can also come in, asking her husband, for example, to buy her a dress, unconsciously activating the behavior of a little girl. A husband can ask for fishing with friends, promising his good behavior, like a boy.

The tendency to mysticism is also often a regressive defense, when a person does not want to understand the real causes of what is happening, which will require efforts and responsibility to solve the problem, but, for example, justifies the complexity of the imposed damage or generic curse.

Regression often finds expression in reversals to earlier psychosexual forms of development, which is associated with the onset of neurosis. In the case of regression of the libido in full, the genitality is replaced by the pregenital means of manifesting sexuality, from where the anal-sadistic or incestuous tendencies, bisexuality, narcissism develops.

Marketing specialists often resort to the mechanisms of regression, creating in advertising prerequisites for an emotional return to children's feelings of complete comfort, total forethought and control by the manufacturer of their product, acquiring which a person can, like, plunge into the ideal reality.