Any discussion of Personality can not begin without a thorough understanding of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), neurologist and psychoanalysist, who laid the foundation of early psychoanalysis. His ideas and work were pioneering and still remain influential to this day. 

According to Freud, Personality is a dynamic system in all of us, directed by three mental structures, The Id, The Ego and The Superego. Most behavior involves activity in all three systems. Freud’s idea of the mind’s structure consists of consciousness, preconsciousness and unconsciousness within this three-tiered realm. 

Floating Ice Berg

Our psyche, according to Freud, is like an iceberg with one-seventh floating within consciousness. What remains is mostly hidden, within preconscious and unconscious. Below the conscious and preconscious is a much larger unconscious. The unconscious contains thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories of which we are unaware. Some of these thoughts we store temporarily in the preconscious, which we can retrieve into conscious awareness. 

What We Repress

Of greater interest to Freud was the mass of unacceptable passions and thoughts that he believed we repress, or forcibly block from our conscious because they would be too upsetting to acknowledge. We are not consciously aware of them. These troublesome feelings and ideas influence us powerfully, sometimes gaining expression in disguised forms.

It is easy and naive, according to Freud, to take for granted the reality of the conscious and that what we think, feel, remember and experience, make up the entirety of the human mind. He believed that the active state of consciousness, the mind that we are directly aware of, is just a fraction of what exists. 

Balance of Power

Freud saw the interaction of The Id, The Ego and The Superego as a delicate balance of power within a constantly conflicting mental process.

Within our personality, The Ego is almost always caught in the middle and the pressure on it, by the unusually powerful Id and the powerful judging Superego, can be intense. According to Freud, you feel anxiety when the Ego is threatened or overwhelmed. Impulses from The Id cause neurotic anxiety when The Ego can barely keep things under control. The thoughts and threats of punishment from The Superego cause more anxiety. 

Calming the Anxieties

Each personality develops habitual ways of calming these anxieties, and many people resort to using Ego-Defense Mechanisms to lessen internal conflicts. Ego-Defense Mechanisms are mental processes that deny, distort or otherwise block out sources of threat and anxiety.

Is it any wonder we exist in states of anxiety, depression, neurosis and other forms of discontent? We cannot continually fight against ourselves, against the uprising of repressed material, and against the forces of death, without emotional turmoil.

In the 19th century, personality was barely mentioned in psychology, though there was much discussion of the topic of self, or “Ego.” 

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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