A portion of Chapter Three:
As I searched for more truths, I found that Mr. Sigmund Freud’s Theory is quite complex and although his writings on psycho sexual psychosexual development set the groundwork for how our personalities developed, it was only one of five parts to his overall theory of personality. He also believed that different driving forces develop during these stages which play an important role in how we interact with the world.
According to Freud, we are born with our “id”. The id is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs met. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the “id” wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed; the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his or her needs are met.
The “id” doesn’t care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you think about it, babies are not real considerate of their parents’ wishes. They have no care for time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something, nothing else is important.
Within the next three years, as the child interacts more and more with the world, the second part of the personality begins to develop. Freud labeled this part of the mind “the Ego”. The ego is based on the reality principle. The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or even selfish can hurt us in the long run. It’s the ego’s job to meet the needs of the “id”, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.
By the age of five the “Superego” develops. The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.
Mr. Freud expressed that in a healthy person, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset or disturb the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of all situations. I would imagine this is not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification begins to control the individual’s life. It appears he also believed that If the superego becomes too strong, the person driven by rigid morals, would be become judgmental and become unwell to bend in their interactions with rest of the world.
In further observation I found that Mr. Freud believed that the majority of what we experience in our lives, what we call; the underlying emotions, beliefs, feelings, and impulses are not available to us at a conscious level. He believed that most of what drives us is buried in our unconscious mind. If you remember the Oedipus and Electra Complex, they were both pushed down into the unconscious, out of our awareness due to the extreme anxiety they caused. While buried there, however, they continue to impact us dramatically according to Freud.
The role of the unconscious is only one part of the model. Freud also believed that everything we are aware of is stored in our conscious. Our conscious makes up a very small part of who we are. At any given time, we are only aware of a very small part of what makes up our personality; most of what we are is buried and inaccessible at a level where we can consciously make use of it.
The last part is the pre-conscious or subconscious. This is the part of us that we can access if prompted, but is not in our active conscious. It is right below the surface, yet still buried to an extent unless we purposely search for it. Information such as our address, some childhood music memories, or the name of your childhood pet is stored in the pre-conscious.
Because the unconscious is so large, and we’re only aware of the very small conscious at any given time, this theory has been compared to an iceberg, where the vast majority is buried beneath the water’s surface. The water, however, would represent everything that we are not aware of; have not experienced, and that has not been integrated into our personalities, referred to as the “non-conscious”.