Developing A Strong Ego According To Freud

To develop a strong ego, Sigmund Freud stresses the need to find harmony with the id and the superego, that is, our social desires and obligations. Furthermore, it invites us to overcome the constant need to be loved
Developing a strong ego according to Freud

According to Sigmund Freud’s theory, developing a strong ego  means having an entity capable of understanding one’s needs and at the same time sensing the limits of society. We must, therefore, learn to move freely by bringing to light repressed emotions and also move in our daily environment to fulfill ourselves with integrity and satisfaction.

We could say that many of the concepts underlying psychoanalysis in Freud’s time are no longer valid. Let’s put aside, therefore, the outdated ideas of penis envy or female hysteria when we talk about how to develop a strong ego . To date, psychoanalysis combines with other techniques and disciplines to adapt to contemporary times.

The fire lit by the “Viennese sorcerer” (as Freud was called because of his innovative, yet risky, therapy) remains alive, but has lost the spark it had until a few years ago. According to some studies, such as the one conducted by researchers at the University of Link√∂ping in Sweden, the main weakness of psychoanalysis is the duration of the treatment.

This therapy requires four sessions a week for several months or years, depending on the case, a considerable commitment that is not always possible to carry out. The frenetic and demanding pace of everyday life, in fact, does not always adapt to such a therapeutic program and that is why other approaches are spreading, such as brief therapy.

Sigmund Freud would not like these new therapeutic approaches. According to the well-known psychoanalyst, one of the fundamental objectives of psychoanalysis is to work on the patient’s ego, making it a healthy entity in order to resolve any conflict between freedom and well-being. This goal takes time, a lot of effort and a lot of work.

Light bulb in the shape of a head

Develop a strong ego between limiting psychic forces

One of Sigmund Freud’s most interesting works is An Outline of Psychoanalysis , an unfinished text. At the time of writing, Freud was in exile due to the Second World War and his advanced age and health conditions did not allow him to complete what would have been a posthumous work.

The book is a synthesis and at the same time a deepening of Freud’s most important theories, such as the psychic system, the interpretation of dreams and psychoanalytic theory. Furthermore, it defines the concepts of id, ego and superego according to what experts have called the second Freudian topology.

For the first time, the famous Viennese psychoanalyst was concerned with defining a strong ego and dealing with the need of human beings to consolidate this entity within their psychic architecture. Freud also reveals how complicated it is for us to have and develop a healthier sense of self. This would explain why many of us don’t feel fulfilled, happy, or free.

Reasons why we cannot develop a strong ego

Two opposing forces coexist within us. On the one hand, there is the id with its elementary needs. On the other hand, however, there is the super-ego, with a rigid society that limits our desires, dreams, aspirations.

  • According to Freud, the id always needs something, it feels dissatisfied, it is restless, anxious, it does not mean past or future, it is always hungry for the present.
  • For its part, the superego is a complex entity that always forces us to postpone. Relegate our dreams, limit our freedom, control our behavior. It is a social and cultural entity that forges us and which acts as a force to repress the id.
  • The ego is placed between these two dimensions. It cannot always reconcile needs with obligations, dreams and desires with the rules of society. And this is why we fail to develop a strong ego, on the contrary at times we feel fragmented and lost.
Balls hit a head

How to develop a strong, healthy and happy identity (sense of self)?

In the book An Outline of Psychoanalysis , Freud explains that there are several factors that prevent us from developing a strong ego. Are the following:

  • Excessive dependence on parents. Freud argues that this is why children are late in maturing, in acquiring skills, in taking the initiative.
  • A childhood and adolescence marked by rules, punishments and a very strict upbringing.
  • The lack of affectionate and close figures capable of promoting optimal and healthy development.
Woman in a field

The father of psychoanalysis gives a lot of importance to the period of childhood. However, the true value of his posthumous work lies in the advice he offers for developing a strong ego. Here they are:

  • We don’t have to fight against the id or the superego.
  • A balance must be found between these two forces, in other words a harmony between needs and obligations.
  • To reconcile these energies, the repressed dimensions of the id and the superego must be brought to light. We are talking about hidden needs, impulses, unfulfilled anxieties, as well as childhood fears, traumas experienced, memories that have not been processed.
  • Freud also speaks of the need to work on our independence. When all those dimensions come out, we are forced to live with them with maturity.
  • It is possible that for part of our lives we have been influenced by the idea that we have not been loved as we deserved. It is a type of unsatisfied anxiety that haunts us everywhere we go. One way to create a strong ego is to get rid of this need because it creates submission, addiction and disease.

Many of the ideas proposed by Freud at the beginning of the twentieth century continue to prove useful even today or, better, are worthy food for thought. Developing and strengthening the ego is a task that must be nurtured every day throughout life. Let’s not abandon such a healthy exercise as this.

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