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Compensation

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Compensation

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

  

Description

Where a person has a weakness in one area, they may compensate by accentuating or building up strengths in another area. Thus when they are faced with their weakness, they can say 'ah, but I am good at...', and hence feel reasonably good about the situation.

Compensation may also occur in ad hoc situations, for example where a person does not get a joke, they may compensate by hearty laughter or by feigning disinterest.

Example

People who feel inferior because they are short may train hard to be very strong.

People who are not intellectually gifted may turn their attention to social skills.

Discussion

Compensation lets us avoid the discomfort of feeling inferior by counterbalancing this with a feeling of superiority in an area which is close enough to the uncomfortable situation such that where it appears, the compensation automatically is accessed.

Compensation is usually relatively harmless unless the area of compensation is harmful in some way, for example where a person who is socially limited compensates with aggression.

So what?

See the compensation that others are using to identify their areas of weakness, then (depending on your intent), either support them or take advantage of the weakness.

See also

Avoidance

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