The human personality, according to Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalytic theory, is multifaceted and contains more than one component. He discussed how the human psyche has multiple dimensions.
His personality theory divided the psyche into three parts: Id, Ego, and Superego, which developed at different times during our lifespan. Each component of the personality has distinct characteristics that combine to form a whole and contribute in some way to an individual’s conduct.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these components, their functions, and how they interact.
Id, according to Freud, is the primary component of personality and a source of psychic energy.
It’s the only thing that’s there when you’re born.
This component of the personality is completely unconscious and contains intuitive and primal tendencies.
Id seeks for instant fulfilment of all desires, wants, and needs, guided by the pleasure principle. Anxiety or tension will result if the need is not met right away. It is sometimes impossible to meet these needs realistically, which leads to disruptive and socially undesirable actions.
The id, according to Freud, employs primary process thinking to relieve the tension generated by the pleasure principle, which entails forming a mental image of the sought object in order to satisfy the need.
The Ego develops from the Id and ensures that the impulses by Id are expressed in a more socially acceptable manner.
The ego has three functionalities: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious.
This is the component in charge of dealing with the real world.
The Ego follows the reality principle, which means it seeks to fulfil the needs of the id in practical and socially acceptable ways. This principle evaluates the costs and benefits of an activity before acting on or abandoning urges.
Secondary process thinking, in which the ego seeks out an object in the real world that corresponds to the mental image generated by the id’s primary process, also aids the ego in releasing tension caused by unsatisfied needs.
Around the age of five, the superego emerges, collecting the internalized moral standards and ideals that we receive from our parents and society (our sense of right and wrong).
The superego acts as a guide for making decisions.
It aspires to improve and civilize our conduct. It strives to make the ego act on idealistic standards rather than realistic principles by suppressing all of the id’s unwanted inclinations.
There are two components to the superego:
Information about things that parents and society consider to be bad is stored in the conscience. These actions are frequently prohibited, and they result in negative repercussions, punishments, or emotions of guilt and sorrow.
The rules and standards for behaviors that the ego strives for are included in the ego ideal.
Here is an example to understand the interaction between the three parts of the psyche as given by Freud:-
Babies start to cry when they are hungry without thinking or worrying about where they are. The only way to stop making them cry is to satisfy their need and feeding them. This is how Id plays a role here.
As we grow up we learn about the different norms and regulations of the society around us and we are taught to follow them too. So as 6-7yr old kids, we know that throwing a tantrum in the middle of the road because you are hungry is not acceptable behavior. This is basically the superego in action helping them understand acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
The Ego plays its part by making the kid realize that instead of creating a tantrum they can actually let their parent know that they are hungry which is not just a socially acceptable behavior but also helps in gratifying their need both at the same time.
The theory of Sigmund Freud presents one view of how personality is structured and how its aspects work. According to Freud, a healthy personality requires a balance in the dynamic interaction of the id, ego, and superego.
While the ego faces a challenging assignment, it is not required to operate alone.
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About the Author.
Rujusmitaa Panicker is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.