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Identification is a psychological defence mechanism which the mind uses to protect or bolster an identity under threat. It is the process whereby we associate ourselves with another person or group by finding or imagining some characteristic, skill, or ability which we have in common with them.

Like other psychological defence mechanisms, this one is unconscious (i.e., the person isn't aware they are doing it), but it goes something like this:

  • A dominant who has doubts about his ability may say to himself, "I must be OK because I can give a flogging just like Master K can", or
  • A submissive who is unsure of themselves may say, "I am at least as good a submissive as Slave Q because I can do XYZ easily as well as he can!"

See also