Two studies examined whether volitional resources can shield implicit self-evaluation against the autonomy-undermining influence of external demands. Volitional resources were operationalized as individual differences in action orientation (Kuhl & Beckmann, 1994). Implicit self-evaluation was assessed via an adaptation of the affective priming task (Fazio, 2001). In Study 1, a threatening visualization led participants with low action orientation (or "state-oriented" individuals) to display less autonomous implicit self-evaluations compared to participants with high action orientation. In Study 2, performance-contingent rewards led action-oriented participants to display more autonomous implicit self-evaluations than state-oriented participants. These findings were specific to the autonomy motive. Volitional shielding plays an important role in self-defense processes.