Thehuman personality according to Sigmund Freud, is very complex it ismade of many components. According to his psychoanalytic theory whichis very famous, the personality of humans consists of three elements.These elements include the id, the ego and superego. These threework hand in hand to form human behaviors which are very common. Eachof the elements contributes a unique part to the personality.
Thisis a personality element present from birth. It is completelyunconscious and involves the primitive and instinctive behaviors of aperson. According to Freud, this is where all the psychic energyoriginates and this makes it the primary element of personality.
Itis controlled by the pleasure principle that tries to achievesatisfaction of all the wants, desires and needs immediately. Ifthere is no immediate gratification, the person ends up in a state oftension and anxiety. A good example of this is when a person inhungry or thirsty, there is an immediate urge to eat or drink. It isvery important in early stages of life. It ensures that the needs ofthe infants are met. The infants cry when their needs are not metsuch as when they are hungry.
Thisthe element of the human behavior which deals with the reality. FromFreud’s theory, it is formed based on the id and assists theimpulses created by the id to be obtained through acceptable ways. Itacts in the preconscious, unconscious and the conscious mind.
Theego is very important in discharging the tension which is caused byimpulses which are not met. It does this through the secondaryprocess where it finds things in the true world which resemble themental image formed by the fundamental process of the id.
Egois very rare in children. They always want their needs to begratified immediately without considering ways in which they will begratified. For example, if a child sees something that they like,they will take it without considering the owner. If they are in shopswith parents, they may pick the toys they like without minding if theparents have money. If they are refused, they cry to be given thetoys by force. If a child likes something belonging to another child,they may take it by force resulting in a fight.
Thisis always the last element of personality to develop. It is theelement which holds of ideals that we get from both the society andour parents and also our moral standards which are internalized. Itis the sense of right and wrong. It gives us the guidelines which weshould use in creating judgements. Superego begins to develop at theage of five according to Freud’s theory.
Freud’stheory divides superego into two categories. The ego ideal involvesthe morals and guidelines for good conduct. The behaviors involve theones which are approved by the authority figures and the parents.Once the rules are obeyed, the person feels valued, prod andaccomplished. The conscience involves the information regarding whatthe parents and society view as bad. The behaviors are mostlyforbidden and result in bad outcomes, feelings of remorse and guiltand punishment.
Thisis the element which is least found in children. They rarely want toact according to the realistic standards. The society reacts to theseby having least expectations from them. Children may do somethingwrong but the society may not view it as bad as if it was done by amature person.
Thepreconscious, conscious and unconscious mind.
Theconscious mind is made up of the thoughts which are focused by ourattention at any given moment. In most cases, this includes whatpeople say or think when they are sober or alert. The preconsciousmind consists of things that are retrieved from a person’s memory.A person may not remember them on a normal situation unless theystart recall a certain thing which happened in the past. They may betriggered by the sight of similar events.
Thereis also the unconscious mind which is very important. This involvesthe processes which are the exact causes of most behaviors. Itfunctions as the store or as a cauldron of the primitive desires, andinstincts kept aside and are thought by the preconscious mind.
Childrenmostly have the unconscious mind. They rarely hide anything thathurts them. They say everything that they see and never allowanything to go to their preconscious mind.
Fromthe study, Freud explains that at birth, children have libido whichis sexual or pleasure urge. The child seeks pleasure from variousitems in several stages of childhood. The first stage is the oralstage where children find pleasure through the mouth by sucking orswallowing. The second is the anal stage where they find pleasurethrough the anus by expelling or withholding faeces. The third is thephallic stage where they find pleasure through the penis or clitoristhis may result in masturbation. This is followed by a latent phasewhere there is minimal or no sexual motivation at all. The last isthe genital stage where they find pleasure through the penis orvagina this involves sexual intercourse.
Peopleneed to complete all the stages successfully for them to bepsychologically healthy. For those who do not successfully completethe oral stage due to forceful feeding, deprivation or early weaning,in adulthood they start oral activities such as smoking, and theyhave a lot of dependency and aggression. Those who have problems inanal problem due to toilet training, are too harsh or are too lax,they become obsessive, very tidy or untidy, very mean or generous.The people who do not have successful phallic stage due to abnormalfamily set-ups end up being self-obsessive, have sexual anxiety, andhave feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.
Inhumans, the ego lies at the center of very powerful forces of societyand reality which are represented by superego and biology which isrepresented by the id. To handle the problems and conflicts in life,the ego uses defense mechanisms. These mechanisms function at anunconscious level and assist in removing unwanted feelings or theanxiety and it makes things feel better for the person. The ego,controlled by the id, pushed by the superego, and repelled by thereal world, tries to create harmony among the forces and controls howthe person operates.
Defensemechanisms are used for protecting people from feeling guilty oranxious which occur due to the feeling that one is threatened or dueto the increased demands from id or superego. Defense mechanisms arenon-voluntaristic and they are not under the human conscious control.When we encounter a stressful event, the ego will unconsciously useone or more ways to protect us.
Examplesof defense mechanisms.
Freuddiscovered this as the first and the most important defensemechanism. The ego employs it unconsciously to keep threatening ordisturbing thoughts to ensure they do not become conscious. The egorepresses the thought which would result in feeling guilt due to thesuperego. Repression is a choice that one makes so as to remainunaware of what we do not want to think about.
Agood example I know about this defense mechanism is from my very goodfriend who was brought up by his step mother. His step mother reallymistreated him with heavy duties and serious caning. He always toldhimself that once he is big enough, he will kill his mother in law.Today he is a grown up and he understands that it is bad to kill.When we share at times, he explains to me how he tries his best toforget about the mistreatment he got from the step mother and thechildhood dreams that he would kill her once he is big enough.
Thisis a mechanism where a person refuses to accept their previousactions or feelings so that they do not damage their ego due to theguilt or the anxiety they would have if they accept. It is one of theprimitive mechanisms because it is very common in childhood. It iscommonly used by many people worldwide when they do not want to admitpainful experiences. The person blocks external events fromawareness. People refuse to accept experiences if the situation istoo much to deal with.
Forexample, a smoker may not admit that smoking is harmful for theirhealth. When they think of the dangers of smoking, they may comfortthemselves with the thoughts that smoking is not bad because they doit. An alcoholic addict will never admit that they are addicted. Theywill always believe that someone is making them drink that much andthat it is not their fault. If a married woman has affection feelingsfor her husband’s friend, she will never show it. She will alwayspretend that nothing is happening and ignore the idea.
Thisthe mechanism where a person misattributes his or her unwantedfeelings, thoughts or impulses on another person who does not havethe same feelings, thoughts or impulses. It occurs when one has baddesires or feelings which can result in anxiety and which the persondoes not want to admit them. The person does not wish to express thefeelings and they feel very bad when they have them.
Forexample, if a spouse is very angry with the other and does not listento them, the angry spouse may accuse the other of being angry withthem and not listening to them. I once experience this when I wascrossing a certain bridge with my little brother. I was so afraid andshivering but being the big brother, I could not accept that I wasafraid, I had to prove to him that he was the one who was afraid. Iaccused him of having fear for heights and noisy moving water whilein the reals sense I was the one who was afraid. In the case ofProfessor Flechsig and Danile Schreber, Daniel accused the professorwho was a therapist of trying to harm him while he was the one whohad feelings of fear.
Thismechanism involves converting unacceptable feelings or impulses,emptions and thoughts into more acceptable ones. It is a moreadaptive mechanism where negative anxiety is converted to positiveenergy. It is described as a mature mechanism which can help a personto adapt to anxieties which are arising. When the libido energyemerges inform of impulses in the psyche’s id, the urges arerepressed by ego and superego may make a person to feel guiltybecause of developing unwanted feelings. Even if the feelings aresuppressed, the energy they possess still remains. Instead of aperson changing this to socially unacceptable habits, they canredirect it to more productive and acceptable activities.
Forexample, when a person develops sexual desires, they will wish to doaway with the feelings. Instead of getting stressed with theimpulses, they can start vigorous exercises to forget about thefeelings and use that energy somewhere else. It can also be done withfantasy and humor. When used as a defense mechanism, humor channelsthe thoughts or impulses into a joke or a light-hearted story. Itreduces the anxiety caused by the situation and makes the personhappy. Fantasy allows a person to channel the impulses intoimaginations. When someone experiences setbacks in their life, theycan start imagining how they can achieve their career goals. Thesehelps a person to view a stressful situation differently.
Thisis the process of covering the negatively perceived self-conceptswith positive ones which a person develops to cover the undesirableones. The person counterbalances psychologically the weakness theyperceive by stressing on their strengths which they have in otherareas. By focusing on their strength, a person admits that theycannot be strong in everything and admit their weaknesses.
Forexample, if a person does not know how to cook and they stay withanother person, they can offer to wash the dishes and the otherperson cooks. Also when a person is huge and they feel like they areidiots, they can use the huge body for functions such as beingbouncers in clubs. This helps people to appreciate themselves the waythey are.
Thismechanism occurs when a person expresses feelings to a differenttarget if they are unable to express them to the real target. Theexpressed feelings are expressed are usually negative and it would beunacceptable to express them to the real target.
Forexample, if a student is angry with their teacher, they know thatshowing negative attitude to the teacher can result in punishment.Since they cannot express the feelings towards the teacher, they canexpress them towards their friend and blame them for things theynever did. If a man is mad with their boss at job, since they cannotexpress the feelings to the boss, they can go and quarrel their wifeand children at home.