The word ‘super’ implies above and when it is combined with the term ‘ego’ it becomes ‘superego’, which denotes a manager of our psyche. The function of this manager is to supervise the activities of our mind, thus assisting in making correct judgments and decisions. When we commit a mistake knowingly, it is this superego that makes us feel guilty and warns us not to repeat such an act again. Remember the times during childhood when we were taught about morals and values by our guardians?
Superego is no different from our guardians. In fact, as we grow up these morals and values get well merged into our personalities and manifest into superego. Freud described superego as an internalization of parental values. It this superego that makes us either feel proud or guilty. The psychoanalyst Schecter in 1979 designated adjectives like loving and persecuting to the superego.
Freud interestingly symbolized superego as an iceberg, which is partly immersed within the unconscious state of mind. Although one can understand parts of it but certain aspects of this superego may end up surprising us as well. Ego has often been found caught amidst the id and superego. These two facets of human personality stretch the ego in opposite directions. One which pulls towards the positive side is termed as an angel and the other half towards the negative side is commonly regarded as a devil. Superego grows in an individual by the age of four or five years.
Superego is sometimes compared with the conscience as it aids in differentiating between the right and wrong. As per Freud, a person with a healthy psyche is one in whom the ego is the strongest. Only such an ego is able to maintain a fine balance between the id and superego.
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