Alfred Adler’s Safeguarding Tendency | Homework Helpers

According to Alfred Adler, there are safeguarding tendencies, which are survival mechanisms that help human beings protect themselves from public criticism and, as a result, maintain their ideal self.  Adler states that these tendencies often make an individual create a neurotic lifestyle, where one keeps his/her life hidden by displaying characters that would please the people.  This leads to a fictional existence, which withholds the growth of the character of a person. This is since such a person will not accept any correction or positive criticism by other people; hence, is doomed to repeat similar mistakes without learning.

One of the safeguard tendencies by Alfred Adler is “Excuses”. Excuses tend to protect a person, but end up inflating a sense of self-worth and deceiving people into believing that they are more superior than who they are (Eife, 2019). According to the Bible, King Saul was one of the individuals who tended to use this tendency.  God chose him to be the first King of Israel.  However, God required him to follow Prophet Samuel’s instructions, who God used as His mouthpiece. In one case, Prophet Samuel was told by God to give King Saul instructions regarding the battle with the Amalekites. King Saul was commanded to kill everything and not to leave anything since the people there were all evil and had wicked hearts.  Despite the warnings, King Saul failed to adhere to all the instructions, where he allowed men to bring back the best of women, animals, and the king.

As a result, Prophet Samuel confronted him about his disobedience to God. Instead of Saul humbling himself and admitting to his mistakes, he became proud and made multiple excuses about his failures and disobedient deeds.  As a result of this, he was thrown out of the Kingdom of Israel and never got to experience peace of mind ever again (1Samuel 13:9-12).  King Saul had all the chances of doing what was right but opted to be hard-headed and later have excuses for his dumb actions, rather than admitting that he was in the wrong. This, as a result, cost him his position in the Kingdom.  His excuses and disobedience also denied his lineage the opportunity of living with the Kingship forever.

Excuses entail expressing an intention of what to do to please others, then one explains why he/she cannot do it. Through an excuse, a person can protect his /her self-esteem by shifting the blame on their shortcomings (Salazar, Templo, Maunahan, & Perez, 2019). A person who makes excuses is not responsible for his actions, hence limiting him/herself from flourishing in life since the reasons one makes offers him/her comfort in failure.  This leads to attaining the bare minimum rather than meeting his/her full potential, which could have been possible.  A person who is ford of making excuses performs with little dedication in everything he/ she does since the main concern is to appeal to people rather than fulfilling the critical role (Eife, 2019).  This is clearly against the scripture, where Colossians 3:23 states that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you were doing it for the Lord.”


One of the critical safeguarding tendencies by Alfred Adler is “Excuses.”  Many people fail to fulfill their duties and responsibilities and instead cover them up with an excuse. This can be seen from King Saul’s story, who could not adhere to God’s instruction and instead made up an excuse for his misdoings. Excuses are harmful to a person’s life since they limit him/ her from achieving his/ her main potential since they cover for failure without giving a chance for correction.


Eife, G. (2019). The Development of Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology: Theory of Personality, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy (1912–1937). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Salazar, J. B., Templo, A. S., Maunahan, C. B., & Perez, A. J. (2019). Safeguarding Tendencies and Virtual Interpersonal Relationship Among Adolescents of Lipa City National High School. International Journal of Recent Innovations in Academic Research, 3(5), 174-196.3(5), 174-196.


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