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Aim Inhibition

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Aim Inhibition

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

  

Description

Sometimes we have desires and goals that we believe or realize that we are unable to achieve. In aim inhibition, we lower our sights, reducing our goals to something that we believe is actually more possible or realistic.

Aim inhibition may well include elements of rationalization and displacement, although the prime force is the creation of achievable goals.

Example

A person who sexually desires another person but is unable to fulfill that desire (for example the other person is married) convinces themselves that all they really want is to be friends.

A person who wants to be a veterinarian does not get sufficient exam grades, so becomes a vet's assistant instead.

Discussion

The gap between wanting and not having causes the tension that aim inhibition seeks to relieve.

Aim inhibition is generally not particularly harmful and can be quite helpful in enabling us to live lives that would otherwise feel unfulfilled. It can also lead us to accept less than we might potentially otherwise gain.

So what?

To help a person raise their sights, show them others who have done so and then show how those others are like the person in question.

Where you want a person to lower their sights, show how what they want is unattainable.

See also

Rationalization, Displacement

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