Suppression vs Repression: Difference and Comparison

Just like in other languages, English also has a log of pairs or even groups of words that sound and look similar but should be used in different contexts due to their meaning.

These words might be confusing, but it is considered to be more professional when we use the right terms in the right sentences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Suppression involves consciously preventing or inhibiting thoughts or emotions, while repression involves unconsciously blocking out thoughts or emotions.
  2. Suppression is a deliberate, temporary process, while repression is a more long-term, automatic process.
  3. Suppression can be a healthy coping mechanism when used in moderation, while repression can lead to psychological issues if left unchecked.

Suppression vs Repression

The term ‘suppression’ can be used to show the act of blocking something. This term is used for things which stopped on their own. The term ‘repression’ can be an action which is performed to stop something from occurring. This term is used when something is stopped by someone forcefully. This term can be used in psychology.

Suppression vs Repression

The word suppression is a noun. It is a three-syllable word. It conveys the act of stopping or blocking something. It is obtained from the root verb ‘suppress. In the form of an adjective, it becomes ‘suppressive. Example – The people tried to suppress the power of the leader who they gated.

The word repression is a noun. It is a three-syllable word. It conveys the meaning of being repressed.

It originates in the root word repress, which means to cause something to stop or to do something to retain the event’s occurrence. Example – Repressing your ideas due to your fears is not good.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSuppressionRepression
MeaningThe word suppression means to force something to be terminated or emphasize that something is to be blocked. The word repression means to retain or hold something back and stopping it from happening or occurring.
ApplicationThe word suppression is used while talking about something that stops or gets paused on its own.    The word repression is used when someone or something causes, forces, or eventually leads to the termination of sorting or when a person or thing holds back an event from occurring.
UsageSome places where it is used are while talking about blood, bleeding, and tactics.Some places where it is used in sociology and psychology.
The First Syllable‘sup ‘ is the first syllable.      ‘Rep’ is the first syllable.
Example They suppressed the blood flow from her wound.    His father represses his desires to make sure he gives a good life for him and his brother.

What is Suppression?

Suppression is known as a form of self-defence in a human’s brain. It is a phenomenon in which the brain voluntarily, intentionally, and deliberately stops and gets rid of unnecessary thoughts, feelings, and impulses.

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Other than for general purposes, these terms are specifically used to describe the human mind and the psychological responses of our brains.

It is a condition where the individual forcefully tries to get rid of unwanted feelings and thoughts. This helps our brain to get rid of negativity and undesired emotions, helping us to comfortably focus on our tasks without being carried away much by disturbing thoughts.

One good example is when a mother is annoyed by her child’s naughty and mischievous behaviour when all her friends are around, yet she suppresses her feelings so that she can prevent herself from feeling awkward and embarrassed around the guests.

She decides to talk to her child and fix this later as she doesn’t want to scold or talk about that to her child at the moment.


What is Repression?

Repression is known as a form of self-defence in a human’s brain. It is a phenomenon in which the brain unconsciously stops and gets rid of unnecessary thoughts, feelings, and impulses.

It is termed disassociative amnesia since the thoughts and emotions are unconsciously blocked. It is considered to be a mechanism that the brain comes up with to help us but might also be not favourable in certain cases.

One good example where it is extremely favourable is a king of amnesia a person experiences after an emotional trauma or shock. However, it may also include the loss of some significant part of the memory. It occurs subconsciously in the mind of a person.

This means the person is totally unaware of the past emotion and also has no idea this impulse exists in their mind. The mind is subconsciously repressed since these may be identified to be devastating and harmful for that individual at that specific instant.

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The mind completely hides this from us, and hence we don’t even recognize what is going on inside, and thus it enables us to concentrate peacefully.


Main Differences Between Suppression and Repression 

  1. Suppression refers to stopping or blocking something on purpose, whereas repression means retaining or preventing something from happening.
  2. Suppression is done when it happens automatically or done when something is intentionally used to stop or block something. Repression is used when some unintentional; event causes something not to happen.
  3. It is used when talking about wounds and the flow of blood, while repression is used when talking about desires, ideas, and wishes.
  4. The first syllable of suppression is ‘sup’, and for repression, it is ‘rep’.
  5. Example for suppression – They suppressed the swelling with some ice cubes. Example of repression – I had to repress my desire to eat pizza since I am on a detox diet.
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Last Updated : 22 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “Suppression vs Repression: Difference and Comparison”

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