Difference Between Suppression and Repression

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Suppression and Repression

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Similar to other languages, English features several word pairings or even groups that share a similar sound and appearance but have different meanings. Although some of these concepts may be difficult to understand, using the correct terms in the correct sentences is regarded as being more professional. Some terms are similar to one another in both the English language and other languages. There are so many nouns in the English language that some of them are sure to confuse others. English is a difficult language with many terms that sound the same but have diverse meanings. English speakers frequently switch two terms without even realizing they are speaking the incorrect thing. The fact that some words are interchangeable despite their spelling and others are not is one of the key reasons English may be so challenging to learn. When this is the case, it is quite difficult to determine. Let's examine the distinctions between the two words repression and suppression, which are extremely similar. Suppression and repression are examples of these words. They seem to be the same except for the first syllable, but it's very important. The meanings of these words are likewise surprisingly similar, with just little variations between them. The word to use when will normally be determined by the circumstances.

Suppression and repression are two separate but related concepts. Repression is the intentional suppression of unpleasant emotions, memories, and thoughts. Suppression, on the other hand, is the deliberate decision not to think about something. Both methods function to stifle unwanted emotions and thoughts, but they do so in different ways. In this blog post, we'll go into greater detail about the differences between repression and suppression. We will also discuss the potential dangers to mental health that each surgery may entail. There are terms used in psychology that science students should get familiar with. These terminologies are frequently so enormous that you already forget what they signify and what kind of examples to use just to explain a certain word to persons who are not knowledgeable about science. Because students will meet these words in the middle of several topics and lessons, they must first be thoroughly explained. They ought to be familiar with these terms already, so they won't be left wondering. The terms "suppression" and "repression" are two that are used in psychology and its theories. To easily distinguish between the two terms, "suppression" is defined as "intentionally forgetting one's thoughts and memories." For instance, one chilly night, a woman was being raped by an unknown man. The woman was questioned if she had such an event a few years later. There is, but she answered, "No." Suppression would be that. She is consciously repressing her negative thought. Another illustration would be if you asked a person who had failed their main licensing exam. He or she is consciously repressing their poor memory if they told you they couldn't remember. Suppression of thoughts and memories is frequently associated with difficult, traumatic memories for the person.

Repression is the concept of forgetting one's sentiments involuntarily. For instance, when asked when we first began talking and walking, we can reply, "I do not know." This is because we were dozing off at the moment. We had just gotten going. We're not even aware of them or conscious that we have them. Repression can also be shown in children who experienced physical abuse as children but have no memory of it. Building relationships is difficult for her since she finds it difficult to relate to and trust others. The defensive strategies that people use to deal with stimuli that could be harmful to them include suppression and repression. They can use these two defence mechanisms to protect their identity or reputation while giving themselves the choice to say no. These two phrases can aid in illuminating the reasons behind certain people's choices to reject an offer or remain mute in the face of a dilemma. They don't want to defend themselves; they just want to reply to these queries differently.

Suppression vs. Repression

The first syllable of the words Suppression and Repression is spelt differently. Despite having a similar sound and appearance, these words differ slightly in their usage and meaning. The ability to utilize the proper word in the right context is a trait shared by good writers and professionals.

Difference Between Suppression and Repression in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Suppression Repression
Meaning Suppression typically refers to exerting pressure to stop something or emphasizing that something ought to be stopped. Repression is the act of holding something back or preventing it from happening.
Application When referring to an independent stop or pause, the word suppression is used.  Repression is the phrase used when someone or something prevents an event from happening or when they cause, force, or ultimately lead to the cessation of sorting.
Usage It is frequently used while discussing blood, bleeding, and strategies. It is employed in some areas of sociology and psychology.
Initial Syllable The first syllable is "sup." The initial syllable is "rep."
Example  They suppressed the blood from her wound from flowing.  There was no help for this repression.

What is Suppression?

Suppression is a noun, not a verb. It has three syllables. The idea of stopping or obstructing something is conveyed. It comes from the verbal root "suppress." It changes to "suppressive" when used as an adjective. Example: The people attempted to curb the authority of the leader they had elected. In the human brain, suppression is regarded as a type of self-defence. It is a phenomenon when the brain purposefully, and consciously halts and extinguishes unneeded thoughts, sensations, and impulses. These phrases are used to particularly refer to the human mind and the psychological reactions of our brain, rather than for generic purposes.

In this condition, the person makes a conscious effort to push away unpleasant emotions and thoughts. This enables us to comfortably focus on our activity without being distracted by distracting thoughts by assisting our brain in getting rid of negativity and unwanted emotions. One excellent illustration is when a mother is displeased by her child's mischievous and naughty behaviour when all of her friends are there, but she hides her feelings to keep from feeling awkward and humiliated in front of the guests. Because she doesn't want to reprimand or discuss that with her child right now, she decides to talk to her and fix this later.

The act of repressing something or someone is known as suppression. Suppression in law can refer to the action of preventing the use of evidence during a trial. The act of suppressing dissent or criticism is another definition of suppression. For instance, a government may repress opposition organizations to keep control. The psychological technique of concealing particular ideas or feelings from conscious consciousness is known as suppression. Suppression is frequently employed as a coping method to help people deal with upsetting thoughts or memories. However, excessive repression might result in mental health issues including anxiety and sadness. Suppression is a psychological strategy that can be used to get rid of unpleasant information. Despite being aware of it, we intentionally decide not to engage in conscious thought, feeling, or action. This enables us to concentrate on our tasks without getting side-tracked by random impulses or having to act on them. We repress because we feel "I just can't cope with it right now" due to time restraints or because the impulse is improper given the circumstances.

We may actively choose to push the unfavourable sentiments and emotions deeper into our levels of consciousness to concentrate on the work at hand. We choose not to focus on an idea or emotion even though we are aware of them. When we do not express or consider our unpleasant emotions, we are considerably better able to concentrate on our daily activities. To help us perform to the best of our abilities, this defence mechanism is meant to be active all the time. It does this by stopping us from getting side-tracked or losing focus because of undesirable thoughts and sensations.

What is Repression?

Repression is a noun, not a verb. It has three syllables. It communicates the idea of being suppressed. It derives from the word repress, which means to stop something from happening or to maintain the occurrence of an event. Example: It's bad to repress your thoughts out of fear. In the human brain, repression is regarded as a type of self-defence. It is a phenomenon when the brain stops superfluous thoughts, sensations, and impulses without being aware of them. Since the thoughts and feelings are being unknowingly blocked, the condition is known medically as dissociative amnesia. It is thought to be a technique the brain devises to assist us, but it could also be unfavourable in some situations.

When someone experiences amnesia after experiencing emotional stress or shock, that is a great example of when it is incredibly helpful. However, a significant percentage of the memory may have been lost. It happens subconsciously in a person's head. This shows utter ignorance of both the prior emotion and the fact that this need even exists in the person's head. The mind unconsciously suppressed things since they might have been judged as horrible and damaging for that person at that precise moment. The mind allows us to focus blissfully because we are utterly ignorant of what is happening internally.

The ego uses repression as an unconscious protective strategy to shield itself from distress. When unpleasant or dangerous memories, emotions, or feelings are pushed into the unconscious mind, repression takes place. This defence mechanism lessens anxiety by keeping these hazardous memories out of our awareness. Repression is not a complete defence mechanism, though, and suppressed information can still have an impact on a person's actions. An individual, for instance, can still be negatively impacted by repressed memories of abuse in their beliefs and behaviour. Repression is a sophisticated psychological process, and each person experiences it differently. Repression is a technique for preventing unwanted, undesirable emotions and feelings from entering consciousness. Some people have experienced horrible events in their life that they would do anything to forget. Repression is not, however, something that a person consciously employs. Subconsciously, it occurs, and our desire to get rid of negative thoughts contributes significantly to the deepening of these memories in our minds. It is important to keep in mind that suppressed feelings and thoughts do not leave our psychological system; they simply do not reach the awareness level.

There is a problem, though. These emotions often find a way to surface as personality traits or, more dangerously, as criminal and insane behaviour. Although suppression is a useful defence mechanism that prevents undesirable sentiments and emotions from rising to the level of consciousness, psychologists believe that it can be a significant barrier to identifying the true source of an individual's anxiety.

Difference Between Suppression and Repression In Points

  • Repression is the act of holding something back or preventing it from happening, whereas suppression is the deliberate stopping or blocking of something.
  • When something occurs naturally or when something is consciously employed to stop or prevent something, it is suppression. When an accidental event prevents something from happening, repression is employed.
  • It is used to discuss wounds and blood flow, whereas repression is used to discuss desires, ideas, and wishes.
  • Suppression's first sound is "sup," while repression's sound is "rep."
  • They used some ice cubes to reduce the swelling as an example of suppression. Example of repression: Because I am on a detox diet, I had to suppress my want to eat pizza.


People have terrible incidents in their life that leave psychological scars on them. Similar to this, some unsettling unpleasant feelings and emotions can make people extremely anxious. Suppression and repression are two concepts used by psychologists to describe how people employ these undesired feelings and emotions as a form of self-defence.

Repression and suppression may appear to mean the same thing, but they emphasize and express very distinct ideas, thus it is important to use the right term in the right situation. In this instance, switching these words around won't have a significant impact on the meaning, but it will make you sound unprofessional and of average quality. When something or someone is being "held back," these two words are used to describe it. However, it's crucial to pay attention to the sentence's context so you can determine which one to employ. It can be useful to keep in mind that repression typically occurs subconsciously whereas suppression occurs consciously.

Who wouldn't want to sound more polished and authoritative? Make careful to always pause and choose the right term. Both of these words, which are nouns, can also be employed as adjectives and verbs. Even though there isn't much of a distinction between their meanings, it is nevertheless quite significant.



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"Difference Between Suppression and Repression." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 24 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-suppression-and-repression-945>.

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