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5 Psychological Defense Mechanisms You Probably Use Without Realizing It

4) Compensation

This is the closest thing to a healthy habit on this list because we all have weaknesses and if they're hard to correct, it can be natural to try to find ways to make up for our flaws. So far, so good. The problem comes in when we use this as an excuse to avoid needed changes. "Sure, I drink and drive, but I make a mean steak," "I may be spending us into bankruptcy, but I'm really good about cleaning the house," "I may scream at you in public now and again, but I'm really sweet most of the rest of the time." There's a lot to be said for having a package with a lot of fringe benefits, but it's also worth remembering that one fly can still spoil a whole bowl of soup.