Monday, May 28, 2012

Talk Thursday: Identify Your Selves: Id, Ego, Superego

I took psych classes in high school and college. I discovered that I have a hard time remembering names and dates and theories that don't make a lot of sense. (Maybe it's just the whole "pseudoscience" thing)  Also, I might be fucked up. (I'll revisit that later.)

I have never understood Freud. I have never understood how a man so incredibly fucked up himself, became a leading authority on the fucked-uppedness of others. It boggles the mind.

So Mr Freud had this theory of Id, Ego, and SuperEgo. In a nutshell, these are the theoretical tiers that make up the human psyche. To quote Wiki, "According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the ego is the organized, realistic part; and the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role."

To expound a bit:
ID is the unconscious part that drives the instinctual needs, "fight em, fuck em, or flee." It serves to protect the others from pain and displeasure. According to Freud, it "knows no judgements of value: no good and evil, no morality...Instinctual cathexes seeking discharge — that, in our view, is all there is in the id."

The SUPEREGO seems to be the check system. " It comprises that organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual's ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency (commonly called "conscience") that criticizes and prohibits his or her drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions."

The EGO seems to be the balancing system through which the others see fruition.  "The ego comprises the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory."

So basically, Id, Superego, and Ego, are the want, censure, and how to proceed functions of the personality.

I don't know about you, but my Id and Superego are two completely different beings with little or no understanding of each other.
 My Id is a prison yard boss named Skull who will squash you like a bug for not covering your mouth when you sneeze. He will envision ripping out your entrails and stuffing them up your nose. Then laugh.
My Superego is a strict non-secular Mother Superior named Mary Agnes who always looks for "right" regardless of personal opinion. She would hand the sneezer a box of tissues and lecture Snake on the exact science of sneezing, berate him for his violence, and then expound on the art of forgiveness.
My Ego is kind of like a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Did you ever watch Another World? The characters played by Anne Heche pretty much sum up my Ego. Marley, a super sweet, non-violent pushover... and Vikki, a don't fuck with me, anything goes (often in a chaotic whirlwind of poorly thought out fucked-uppedness), balls-to-the-wall, the ends justify the means kind of girl.

Mary Agnes communes fairly well with Marley. Marley fights to suppress Snake and Vikki, but there comes a point when Snake and Vikki are pushed too far, tired of being censored, and come out with all four fists swinging. When the dust settles, Mary Agnes shakes her head and asks, "Are you happy now?"
Snake tells her to "SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
And Marley just cries.

Vikki picks up a sharp stick and goes to look for something to poke. 

Perhaps you're coming to realize that my "organized, realistic" part isn't that organized and realistic. A psychic once told me that I'd never get anywhere in life if I didn't pull my head out of the clouds and live in reality. Truth is, reality sucks. Reality is boring and depressing.

I have this huge filing cabinet in my mind where all those things that hurt me, make me angry, or stress me out, all get filed away and ignored. This works pretty well, for the most part. Until Snake gets Vikki worked up enough, and all those files get dumped in my lap at once. Marley gets instantly overwhelmed and adopts the fetal position, while Vikki goes on a rampage.

Or maybe I just don't understand this theory at all and Snake, Mary Agnes, Marley, and Vikki are all parts of the Ego, and Freud was right in that the Id and Superego are mostly unconscious bits of the psyche. In that case, I'm probably even more fucked up than I thought.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Talk Thursday: Jealousy

Jealously is a serious and sensitive subject.

I think we've all felt it ourselves, and we've all probably been affected by the jealousy of others. Be it in a friendship or a sexual relationship, it's pretty much a fact of life. If you've ever felt jealousy, then you know it's pretty hard to just shrug off. In fact, I don't know that we can really change that about ourselves. What we can change is how we deal with it.

Jealousy rarely has much to do with the subject causing the jealousy. I mean, if we all were self confident, sure of ourselves and our place in this ball of chaos called "life", we probably wouldn't go stark raving mad when we feel shunned or slighted. If we did feel that way, we'd probably have the balls to stand up and say, "Hey, you're ignoring me and being an asshat!" Most of us don't have the courage to say that. That would be weakness. That would open us up to bigger injury. So we act all psycho, or dictatorish, or fall into deep depressions.

We have relationships for totally selfish purpose. Relationships with others of our species is a biological need for humans. Studies have shown that babies born prematurely, who aren't touched during incubator time are less likely to survive or prosper. Children who spend infancy in orphanages are shown to have hormonal and chemical imbalances that are directly linked to emotions and neurological activity. We need each other. When we find a good relationship, be it friend or lover, the mutual benefit is maximized. We begin to care about the other subject and desire to fulfill their relationship needs, and we reach symbiosis. (I would like to point out that symbiosis has nothing to do with giving and taking equally. It simply means "mutually beneficial".)

When you're in the midst of jealousy "drama" it's hard to remember this basic knowledge. If you've made a new friend and your other friend starts acting weird, consider this: Perhaps you haven't done enough to assure them of their place in your life. Sometimes we fall into that "She knows I love her" trend. I mean, it's become kind of 'uncool' to tell your BFF "I love you". But we should. Probably way more often than we do.

Studies show that love effects dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin levels in the brain. When these are effected, we not only see change in moods and emotion, but brain scans show that different regions of the brain are accessed. So, when your friend freaks out at you, try to be a little understanding... Her biology is acting against her. Studies repeatedly show that suffering a heartbreak affects the brain much like cocaine withdrawl. If you knew your friend was trying to kick a coke habit, you'd be more understanding, right?

Sometimes we just can't say "I love you" enough. Right? Your BFF, or boyfriend, SHOULD TOTALLY know by now that they are número uno in your life, but they still seem to need constant affirmation. This is all them and is probably the result of something traumatic that has happened at some point in there history. You can't fix that for them. They could maybe get over it some day. Maybe not. The question is whether or not you can deal with it. Some of us are just needier than others. Remember this is, generally, a self esteem issue. A truly symbiotic relationship will accommodate that. If you can't, you have to be honest with everyone involved.

Does your BFF always have to be número uno? What about número dos, tres, or cuatro? You've had more than one love in your lifetime, right? Those who talk about "one true love" are only trying to make their current love feel like their "best" love, in my opinion. If you think about all the people you've loved... you, more than likely, loved them all fairly equally, but for very different reasons. It's no different with BFFs. I, personally, have 4 "best" friends. They all mean something very different to me. I enjoy different things about them and they all fulfill different needs in me. That doesn't necessarily mean that I have to love one more, or less, than any of the others. 

I suppose I should address that megalomaniacal jealousy. Jealousy, in it's purest form, serves a purpose. It promotes stasis, or balance, in the relationship. It is the red light indicator that one is not secure in their role. It is the warning light that goes off to encourage us to ask for that reassurance. Megalomaniacal jealousy has NOTHING to do with this. 

Rape is to lust as megalomaniacal jealousy is to love. 

One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Like rape, this "jealousy" is primarily about control. It does not mean that he LOVES YOU OHHHH SO VERY MUCH! It means he (or she) needs a victim. Plain and simple.... RUN!

My message here is that we need to re-evaluate what jealousy (in it's pure form) truly is, and what it means, and address it accordingly. I often hear, "I just don't understand jealousy at all." Perhaps you are a very self confident person.  I wish we could all have that, but we don't. 

Remember that jealousy is an indication something is missing. Self confidence? Communication? It is the responsibility of both parties to isolate and alleviate the cause.