Building Blocks of Personality (Id, Ego, Superego)

In this article, I will talk about the concepts of id, ego and superego, which are very important in the science of psychology and which form the basis of personality development.

According to Freud, the self is divided into 3 layers. The id is the primitive self or id, the ego, the self, and the superego, the superego. When a person is born, he first exists with his primitive self, and over time the ego and superego develop.

The id, the primitive self, lives according to primitive impulses. It does not seek logic or rules. They are instinctive movements. It acts according to the pleasure principle, that is, its main purpose is to satisfy the impulses. Let’s take babies as an example. Since there is no ego development yet; They behave with primitive behaviors aimed at satisfying their impulses. He wants to eat when he is hungry, he does it when he comes to the toilet, he does this when he wants to pass gas or burp, he is uncomfortable if he can’t. Of course, it is quite normal to act with the primitive self during infancy. However, it is a problem that, after becoming an adult, the ego cannot do this to the point where it should control the id and continue to live according to the primitive impulses.

Ego is; It is the mechanism that reminds the primitive self that there are some rules on the way to reach pleasure. It is a kind of organizer, it tries to balance between the pleasure seeking of the inner world of man and the realities of the outer world. For example, the situation that a person who is very hungry at a meeting does not immediately run to look for something to eat, and waits for the meeting to end first, is a situation provided by the ego’s control. The ego begins to develop gradually in childhood. Both the impulses are noticed and the conditions in the outside world are understood.

If the superego; is the sum of human values. Rights, respect, shame, prohibition, etc. represent concepts. What is right, what is wrong, which actions are accepted by the society, which are punished, what is shameful, etc. is the formation and internalization of concepts in the mind. Thus, the person’s own value judgments are formed and he learns to act with these value judgments even if there is no one around. It is rather a repressive mechanism and is identified with feelings such as conscience, guilt, shame. It begins to develop at the age of 5-6 years.

The ego and supergo layers are formed later, but with their formation the id does not completely disappear. Every person has 3 layers, but the balance of these may vary from person to person. In a healthy adult, the impulses of the id are met tolerably, and the pressure of the supergo is shaped by value judgments that will not distress the person. In some cases, one can act more impulsively, but in general, one acts in harmony with the outside world and has certain value judgments. For example, in a situation where we are extremely hungry, we postpone all our other work and give priority to eating (id), but we still do this in harmony with the outside world (ego), we do not go and take the food of a person we do not know at all, because we know that this is wrong behavior (superego).

If a part of the self is too dominant, it causes various problems. For example, people who are constantly id dominant; Generally, there are individuals who do not respect others, think of their own interests and act accordingly, do not hesitate to fight, try every way to get what they want and cannot tolerate being hindered, cannot delay their sense of pleasure, want to have what they want immediately, and do not care what other people say.

People with a dominant superego are; They become individuals who are overly attached to social values ​​and feel obliged to strictly abide by them, are perfectionists, cannot reveal their emotions, are shy, constantly needing approval, and overly consider what other people think and say about them.

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