Saturday, April 18, 2015

Relationships and Ego

Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalyst, says human personality has three parts: id, ego and superego. Each layer has a role in maintaining a healthy relationship.
Ego is your conscious mind, it is responsible for the way you perceive the world, i.e. the internal and external impressions. Id is your subconscious mind: every primitive instinct that you cannot handle or that make you uneasy (aggression, anger, fear) are there in your subconscious mind. This part of your personality demands satisfaction, instant gratification, it wants to experience pleasure and avoid pain. Super-ego is “the ideal self”, the person you want to be, it contains your conscience and values. The layers of your psyche should be in harmony. If there is a huge gap between your id (subconscious mind) and your superego (idealized persona), then you will have self-esteem issues.

Functions of Ego
It has your reality testing ability. It is a skill to perceive what happens within your mind and in the external world. Stress may cause mild, temporary damage to this function.

Impulse control is a skill to deal with your instincts.
Judgment means that you behave responsibly, to measure the consequences of your actions.
Healthy self-esteem means that you feel good about yourself and have self-respect and confidence, even if you face stress.

Freud dealt with psychosexual development. According to him, people have five different stages of psychosexual development. After birth, humans are fixated on their mouths and nursing. The next stage is controlling bowel and bladder functions. After that, they discover their genitalia. The fourth stage is the latency stage, from which they are supposed to grow into the fifth stage: mature sexuality. If the development process breaks at some stage, it will cause a fixation.

Phases of Development
Other psychoanalysts also divided human life into different parts and phases.
According to Erik Erikson, during the first phase of development, one has to trust others. Otherwise they will have trust issues in their relationships. During the second stage, from the age one to three years, they should develop autonomy. If they do not, they will suffer from shame or self-doubt. In the next phase, from 3 to 6 years, they should learn planning skills and development skills, or they will be dependent all their lives. The fourth stage, age 6 to 12, they should experience success, they should be satisfied with what they can accomplish, otherwise they may grow up to be insecure adults and they will experience guilt. At the fifth phase, they should have identity. As young adults, people should feel optimistic – provided they have a healthy intimate relationship.

Your id, ego and superego – each component of your psyche – define how you select your partners and how to deal with them in the long run. When you select a partner, you see your own superego and the partner’s superego. However, in a long-term relationship, you are supposed to deal with the id of both parties.