The Gathering of the Freudian Slips
Using Freud's classification of the Id, the ego and the superego in everyday life, as well as the id-superego conflicts and its defence mechanisms in everyday life, one can greatly understand a person and his/her psyche. The Id is totally unconscious and displays our animalistic origin of the constant desire for sex and aggression. The superego, which is partly unconscious as well as conscious, acts as our rationale and moral conscious, regulating our actions and also prevents the Id side to take over, while the ego is the mediator between the superego and id, allowing us to still do things we desire without affecting society or others- it as well is partly unconscious. I have decided to make a Freudian analysis on three random individuals with or without psychological disorders. Each one has a different personality with different emotions, thoughts and behaviours as well as family background and upbringing. The participants will talk and become acquainted with one another, and at the same time, one of them with come with me into my office and discuss freely their thoughts and dreams, as I record and make observations in the hope of recreating a psychoanalytical session. In this report I have changed the names of the participants in order to protect their identity. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Jon Smith, case one: As my first participant gets comfortable on my reclined leather sofa, I wait for him to get ready to speak. "Every night, I have a craving to go downtown.. I haven't ever really had a girlfriend and I really want to meet women. I go to clubs and blow lots of money away every night, and the girls I meet are just temporary and I rarely ever see or talk to them again, but I always try to find the "perfect" one. I can't stop the craving to go downtown. I know I have school to do and a part time job also to juggle, but recently I haven't been going to school or work, even though deep down I know there will be consequences. At first I used to feel anxious because I knew it would be hard to juggle my social life and my academic life. But nowadays, I really don't care about school. I figure that I will just survive off my grandparent's money- they own a jewellery store that has been around since they came to Canada seventy years ago. School is boring anyways, and all the girls at school have boyfriends. I don't believe that I am doing anything wrong by just having some fun. I figure you are only young and beautiful once, so you might as well live it up- I really want a cigarette, can I smoke in here, doc?" (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Analysis of Jon Smith, Case one- I have discovered that Jon Smith had built up an animalistic pressure to find a girlfriend as fast as possible. In the beginning his pleasure seeking Id and his regulating Superego had a conflict over what was acceptable in society as well as the academic and financial duties of Mr. Smith. This conflict created the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety, which gave way to a more escapist Id route of smoking and going downtown compulsively. Mr. Smith's Id has totally suppressed his superego, and he now is no longer anxious, though he is dependent on constantly having a good time downtown, smoking and meeting girls at clubs. Mr. Smith's Id was victorious because his unconscious defence mechanisms attempted to create illusions in his mind blocking him from accepting the complete picture or truth and eliminating his guilt and anxiety. Jon Smith started using rationalization in order to explain his incorrect behaviour and make it acceptable to himself. He rationalized his need to search for an ideal girlfriend by always going downtown and participating in the party atmosphere in order to meet women. As time went by, his obsession to go downtown and meet girls expanded and no longer could rationalization alone help him from abstaining from anxious feelings. His next step was denial and Mr. Smith refused to admit the things he was doing were irresponsible and that he had an addiction to going downtown, or even to smoking. He combined these two defence mechanisms (rationalization and denial) to fully eliminate any anxiety or guilt and thus allowed his Id to take over- for example; he explained how all the girls in his school have boyfriends and that he will survive off his grandparent's money. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Bob, Case two: He walks into my office with his head down, avoiding eye contact with me. His clothes are quite conservative and he is wearing a large cross around his neck. Within a few minutes of small talk, we get into the session. Bob explains: "Well...I grew up in the suburbs in a religious Catholic family. I grew up with the belief that no matter what the other children or teenagers were doing, all their actions were sinful and I was not to participate. So I refrained from drinking, smoking and having pre-marital sex. I always had strange dreams I couldn't explain, where a broom was sweeping dirt into a corner. I joined a chess club, debating club and pre-med club. But when I entered college, I couldn't keep away from all the social pressures. I lived in the dormitory so I was pretty much free. I began to drink and have sexual relations. But then after when I would go back to my parent's house for the holidays, I felt extremely guilty for my unholy actions. So I joined Christian youth groups and restrained myself from t drinking and pre-marital sex. After a while, I wasn't satisfied with that either, so I joined a gym and now I have a much higher self esteem and I know myself better...I even have a steady girlfriend. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Analysis of Bob, Case Number two- Bob suffered from something most children and adolescences go through from parents who raise their children to believe in certain ideas and refrain from certain actions. Unfortunately for Bob, whose family was more religious than others in his school, he was forced to exclude himself from actions that seemed harmful and sinful in his parents' eyes. As Bob was growing up, he developed his first type of defence mechanism called repression. Bob craved and fantasized about having a relationship, having pre-marital sex and drinking with classmates at bars, but because he was taught that all these actions would send him to an eternity in hell, he pushed back all of his desires into his unconscious. As he grew older, Bob gave into his repressed desires. However, when he went back to the root of his anxieties, which was his parents' upbringing, he felt a wave of guilt. In order to self-repent, Bob entered his second defence mechanism- reaction formation. Reaction formation is when a person feels so guilty about their sexual desires or activities they actually join organizations to oppose them. Bob joined a few anti alcohol and anti-pre marital sex groups. Bob however was not satisfied and he became at ease with himself, when he activated his final defence mechanism, sublimation. Sublimation is when someone displaces their sexual energy into a socially accepted energy like, joining the gym. Because Bob has lots of energy releases, he is more at ease with himself, and has controlled his repressed animal instincts, and can live his life normally, even finding himself a girlfriend. He still believes in his religion but has found his own balance in life. Bob mentioned to me that he was very unassertive in the past but as creates his own life, though still somewhat shy, he feels more capable of forming his identity. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Jane Smith, Case Three- She entered the room with an angry look on her face. I attempt to make small talk and she snaps back at me. She then starts to tell me that she is having a terrible day. "I just came out of a relationship, and I really can't trust men that much ever since my father abandoned me and my mom when I was younger. I always seem to be getting upset for small reasons at the men I go out with and this leads to fights that can last a whole day. To top it off, I hate how those clerks at Rogers Wireless are so completely stupid; I can yell at them for a whole day, and they still don't understand anything. I also think, the two other male patients sitting across from me just keep staring at me and I can only imagine what they were thinking about. I can't stand men these days. Then I have to come home to a mother who has been bitter since she was married, and she always warns me not to trust men. I'm very confused and that makes me even madder. You probably think I am a psychopath. I shouldn't have ever volunteered for this". (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Analysis of Jane Smith, Case three- Due to her father's abandonment, Jane has developed a fear of being abandoned by a man. This fear is expressed through hatred and because of this; Jane always gets into fights with her boyfriends, whom she compares with her father. This defence mechanism is called displacement -meaning the victim cannot approach the main cause of her feelings and has to transfer her feelings towards another more innocent and available source, in this case, her boyfriends. She also projects her anger on clerks, which is a clear sign of displacement. However, Jane always feels like men want to use her and take advantage of her, and this defence mechanism is called projection- where the victim refuses to accept the responsibility for his/her actions, but instead blames others for her actions. Jane might possibly be attracted to one of the other subjects in the waiting room of my office; however, she does not want to admit this, and goes to the other extreme of saying that they like her and want to take advantage of her. Jane has problems truly opening up to men due to her unresolved past and her only means of expressing her emotions are through projection and displacement and by utilising anger and frustration to temporarily solve her problems. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
In conclusion, my findings demonstrate that although scientific theories must have scientific proof and tangible results, Freudian psychoanalysis can be equally valid. Though Freud's theories on the id, at the time weren't scanned with MRI's or other research machines, the theory on the human sub-conscious can explain a lot. It is simply amazing that just as animals behave with untamed instincts, human beings have instinctive and animalistic desires and cravings, yet what separates us from other animals is the fact that we have societal laws that force us to think rationally, thus creating the Id's opposition, the superego, the regulator of the societal law in our minds. What's truly amazing is our ego, or conscious minds that mediate between our two extremes in order to allow us to function in everyday life. But even with the compromise that the ego creates for us, people may still suffer from anxiety caused according to Freud by the inner conflicts between the pleasure seeking Id and the regulated Superego. And our minds are so complex that we even have built up defence mechanisms that are used to battle this anxiety in order for us to be relaxed and content, even if our defence mechanisms are harmful to others or ourselves. Take anyone, anywhere in the world; talk to them, and by using Freud's methods, one can figure out if someone is more, id driven or superego driven, or which defence mechanisms one uses to eliminate guilt and worry. (Plotnik, R. (2007) and Major, M.(Winter, 2008))
Major, M. (Winter, 2008). Class notes for Introduction to Psychology, Vanier College.
Plotnik, R.(2007). Introduction to psychology (eighth edition). Thomson Wadsworth Publishing.