Ego, otherwise known as I, is a word that usually describes someone who thinks highly of themselves and let’s everyone around them know how great they are. I know, a face just flashed in your mind who displays an excessive ego. But maybe that face is our own, since the super ego controls our own ego.
But why are some people more self-aware of their actions than others? It may be that they have a larger super-ego. No, it’s not that they think more highly of themselves. Having a super ego means that you’re more self-aware of how your behavior affect, not only others, but your own outcomes due to your behaviors. With an increase in self-awareness of what your actions can result in, good or bad, we learn to become more self-controlled.
Sigmund Freud popularized the three different psyches, id, ego, and super-ego. The Id is your basic means to survive, and find pleasure. You inherit your id at birth and it responds directly to what brings it the most pleasure, and it doesn’t change through time. The Id is your unconscious and controls those habits that we either don’t know we have, or struggle to change. Why is it so hard? because your unconscious controls the majority of our actions, whether we know it or not and that is where the id resides, only in our unconscious.
The ego wants to please the id, and the ego’s behavior can be both unconscious and conscious. The ego helps us make rational decisions and delay gratification through developing self-control. For example, people who steal may be considered to have low ego due to needing that material possession before they could buy it. They let their own desires, or id, control their actions, which are against social norms. The ego helps us develop options to gain the ultimate goal, to satisfy the id, even if it eventually breaks societal rules.
The super ego is modified by your external environment and it develops when your around 3 to 5 years of age. This is why they say a child’s personality is developed by the time they’re about five. The super ego is what values and morale’s where instilled in you, or in some people’s situation, beat into them, which can really cause havoc with the id. The super ego controls the id’s impulses through either rewarding or punishing the ego through guilt. The super ego resides in both the conscious and unconscious, but also the preconscious, which is an event in the process of becoming conscious. That’s why the super ego overlaps the ego and id, it’s like a mediator between the two. I like the ice berg diagram which depicts the id, ego and super ego along with unconscious, preconscious and conscious, which only is about 25% of our reality.
This is why we struggle to understand why the office bully or how some people say the stupidest things, they lack the awareness or don’t have the ability to let their super ego control their actions. So if someone has a super ego they’re able to control their actions and emotions, where as I always thought of someone with a super ego where the ones who did whatever they could to satisfy their own needs, at the expense of others.