The Id is in the unconscious mind and holds the innate drives stated above, Freud believed this was with us from birth and works on an instant gratification principle e. g. in babies the Id will demand to be nourished if this need is not met, babies will cry until the need is gratified. The Id stays throughout our lives and is known as the pleasure seeking principle as it only demands things which cause pleasure. It is very animalistic and its main aim is to preserve the species. The super ego and ego appear as we develop.
The Super Ego exists partly in the unconscious and partly in the pre-conscious, and is developed in opposition to the Id. It is known as the reality principle, its main aim is to highlight morals and show the Id it cannot always be gratified. It develops as we grow to take on morals and demands from society and is almost like a set of rules e. g. When the Id demands a drink, the super ego states that the child ask in a civil manner and wait patiently. As these two things are constantly in conflict, similarly to opposing sides in a debate, some measure needs to be put in place to make sure the debate doesn’t get out of hand.
An example of this would be the debate mediator-the ego. This is developed to act as a mediator and the main aim is to balance the two views. It acts as a go between, is based on common sense and is concerned with controlling any conflict to preserve the individual. The id, ego and super ego develop as we progress through what Freud called The Psychosexual stages. Freud believed that childhood provided the key to all people and this is where these psychosexual stages occur, in childhood from when we are born up until we finish puberty.
There are five stages within our development: The Oral Stage- This occurs in the first year of our lives. Much focus is placed on the mouth. The Id demands food and other oral gratification such as a dummy/ thumb. Problems arise when these demands are not met or are oversubscribed. This in later life could lead to the person becoming excessively passive, highly independent or dependent. The Anal Stage- This occurs between the ages of one and three and the focus moves from the mouth to the anus.
The journey out of nappies is the main event between these years and the conflict between the Id and newly developing Ego begins. The Id demands that the child must release urine and faeces and the ego demands that it is held in until the child is at a suitable place. Problems occur if the child is made to feel overly guilty about accidents or if the child is not praised enough or too much for the correct behaviour. In adult life this could lead the person to become obsessed with cleanliness and order or become hoarders or collectors and reluctant to share.
The reluctance to share and the need to hold on to things is said to be symbolic of the retention of faeces. The Phallic Stage- This occurs between the ages of three and fives. It is believed by Freud to be the most important stage. In this stage boys go through what is called the Oedipus complex and girls the Electra complex. The Oedipus complex was based on the Greek tale of a boy who unknowingly killed his Father and married his mother. Freud said that young boys are unconsciously in love with and desire their mothers, this leads to jealousy and dislike of the Father.
Boys often fear that their father may castrate them should he find out about these desires. This is resolved by the boy trying to be more like his father and in the process identifying with their father. The Electra complex is slightly different in that the girl desires the father and Freud suggested that the girl believed she has already been castrated and has what is called ‘penis envy’ this is part of what causes the resentment towards the mother. It is resolved in a similar way by the girl identifying with her mother.
This stage is important as it helps develop a healthy personality. If the complexes are left unresolved then it could lead to a fixation with the same sex parent or indeed to gender identity problems and weak moral service. The Latent Stage- This occurs from the age of five up until puberty. This is where there is said to be a dormant period where the child is more focused on developing intellectually and socially. Learning basic skills such as reading and writing and playing and become friends with other children.
The Genital Stage- this occurs through puberty and stops when we are sexually mature this is said to be the end of our development according to Freud. The focus comes back to the genitals but this time needed other people to satisfy the desires concerning the genitals The selfishness of previous stages is lost and at the end of this stage people are able to form loving heterosexual relationships and the Id, Ego and Super Ego stay balanced for the vast majority of our lives provided we have received the optimum amount of satisfaction in previous stages.
The psychosexual stages we go through help develop our super-ego to challenge the Id and the Ego to make sure that both are kept in balance. If we do not resolve all the conflicts met in the psychosexual stages then our ego does not strengthen from the weakness it was when we were in these stages. This causes us to become fixated in that particular stage and puts a high amount of pressure on the ego causing anxiety. Anxiety is present in a situation of danger and also when danger is threatened. Freud distinguished three types of anxiety.