ID,Ego and Super-Ego
August 1, 2013 9 Comments
According to the father of psychology, Sigmund Freud, the human personality consists of three parts which he labeled as the ID, the Ego and the Superego.
An emotionally healthy person is said to have a perfect balance between the three parts. It is theorized that a person who exhibits mental health problems and/or emotional distress has one of those parts overpowering the others.
The id and superego are constantly in conflict and fighting for the power.
The Ego (the middle man) tries to keep the peace and does whatever it can to establish and maintain a balance between the two. When the ego isn’t strong enough and does not succeed at keeping that balance, it usually winds up looking like a mental illness.
The ID- All that the id really cares about is feeding,fighting and well, you know… The id’s function is to make sure all of our primary needs are met. You can think of the id as a spoiled brat who needs their needs met right then and there.
When you’re hungry, the id’s reaction is to quickly search for food and eat.
When you’re angry or threatened, the id’s reaction is to fight or flee.
When you’re sexually aroused, the id’s reaction is to find a mate and reproduce.
When you have to use the bathroom, the id wants you to go right then and there.
The id is your infantile impulse which lacks social awareness and really doesn’t care what anyone thinks, as long as the needs are met and the id is satisfied.
A greek philosopher known as Diogenes, founder of the school of thought known as Cynicism-which was the belief that true happiness of a human being came from the absence of societal rules, influence,social status and power,embraced his ID for his research.
Diogenes valued the id, although the title of the actual “id” was not developed until Freud’s time, Diogenes kind of beat Freud to the concept.
He taught his followers through true life events, by living like an animal on the streets and not paying any mind to what society thought of him. Diogenes believed true happiness came from human beings being able to live naturally and meet their needs as they come.
The Super-ego- All the super-ego cares about is what everyone else around you thinks and is hyper aware of values and morals of society. You can think of your super-ego as a critical parent pointing a finger at you and saying “no no no”.
The super-ego places guilt and shame on the reactions of the id.
It is what tells us what’s right and what’s wrong. It may seem as though the super-ego can be a bit mean and controlling, which is partially true, but without the super-ego, we would all be killing, having sex with everyone we see, hurting people’s feelings, using others, urinating and defecating on the streets and just not caring about societal norms and values whatsoever.
When the super-ego is too strong, we are known to be perfectionists. Everything must be right. This is not healthy and causes a great deal of mental distress.
The Ego- The ego is our mediator. It’s main purpose is to keep the id and the super-ego in check. The ego has an enormous box of tricks (what Freud called “defense mechanisms) to help us balance our impulses and hyper-critical thoughts and behaviors.
The ego is our common sense, objective judge, reality tester and reason. It wants to be able to satisfy our id and at the same time do it in a way where it is socially acceptable and safe without being too judgmental and neglectful to our needs.
Freud may have concluded that a criminal in jail for rape, aggression and violence towards others has an over powerful id or a weak and damaged ego with poor defenses.
Freud may have said that a person with OCD may have an overly hyper super-ego, as people with OCD usually are trying to “clean” “check” and obsess due to guilt and anxiety.
An example of a good working ego:
A man’s desire to display aggression and kill has become a surgeon. This man would not be conscious of his true desires to kill or dismember because the ego has done such a great job in finding a way to sublimate his id’s impulse to kill by performing surgery which is socially acceptable.
Anna Freud, Freud’s daughter, believed that day dreaming was the ego’s way of controlling the id’s need to masturbate!