S & I needs a Heathy EGO (Part 2)

strong identity 

the healthier I am

Previous: S & I – EGO (Part 1)

SITE:  “Defense of the Ego


Throughout childhood, Ego develops in sequence, from a combination of :
• our innate & inherited qualities  flowers
• having our basic needs met
• identifying with others (copying admired adults)
• interpersonal relationships
• studying & learning
• mastering development tasks
• effectively solving problems
• successfully coping with life’s challenges

✶ The healthy ego exists for a legitimate purpose, an integral part of spirituality & totality of Being. Removing the ego is like removing your right hand & only keeping the left one

BASIC COMPONENTS of the Healthy Ego
For ACoAs & all other wounded people, the following qualities are what we can strive for as we heal. The stronger these are, the better our self-esteem. ‘Ego functions’ are the means by which people successfully adapt to the world:

🍂 Affect Regulation – The ability to maintain or increase positive emotions & a sense of well-being, while minimizing or regulating stress feelings & defensive states.  Able to manage all types & intensity of Es, without being overwhelmed by them.  It’s the result of the growth, development & links to our emotional brain (limbic system), based on early experiences with parents

🍂 Defensive Functioning  – Automatic psychological processes that make us aware of internal or external dangers & stressors.  It appropriate use of our defense mechanisms, those developed in childhood & more mature ones (projection, intellectualization, rationalization…), which guard against powerful identity-threatening feelings (panic, hate, rage…) that get stirred up

🍂 Impulse control – (opposite of impulsive or compulsive acting out)
The ability to choose when & how to act – for short or long-term gains when moving toward a specific goal – allowing us to wait to get something we want.  Helps prevent immediately acting on aggressive &/or sexual wishes, & not developing physical symptoms from repressing those desires (actual ailments, obsessions, hypochondria….)

🍂 Good Judgment –  (NOT being judgmental). Forming the best opinions & decisions, by objectively considering, comparing & evaluating known info —> while resisting peer pressure & our own emotions. Allows us to act responsibly, which includes identifying our options, anticipating & evaluating likely consequences, & choosing appropriate actions in each circumstance

🍂 Object Relations  – how the The Self relates to other people (Subject to Objects) in the unconscious, based on internalized images of our actual parents (or parts – like mother’s breast), as well as images we create about others (ogre, angel…).
When emotionally healthy, we have the capacity for mutually satisfying relationship – seeing ourselves & others as whole three-dimensional ‘objects’. We can form emotional bonds with others, instead of only focusing on ourself

🍂 Reality Testing The ability to distinguish between what’s going on in our own mind of thoughts, feelings, fantasy & distortions from objective facts AND the external world – in order to act in a way that shows an awareness of accepted social norms & customs. By imaging, labeling & organizing our observations, we can make sense of them & put into mental files so we can make decisions about their “value,” as potential threat or benefit….
A reality test uses ‘reality-indicators’, that help us come to grips with practical, in-the-present facts. A way for the mind can determine whether an experience is happening now, or is remembering a previous one

🍂 Synthesis – (opposite of Splitting), the most basic ego function : stringsynthesising together succeeding moments of experience into a single preserved ‘event’, allowing all ego functions to be used. It means to be internally congruent – without different parts of ourself being in conflict (‘UNIT’ = PP vs HA, LP vs WIC…)

This organization & unification allows us to think, feel & act in a consistent way. Meshing (not enmeshment) a healthy ego identity with personal & group identity gives us a framework for successfully operating in the world

🍂 Thought Processes – 2 states of the thinking mind (vs. emotional):
a. Primary – ‘primitive’, imaginative style, during altered states of consciousness, not in the Ego’s control, from wishing, day-dreaming, night-dreaming, fugue states —> all the way to psychosis, & may include some loss of motor function

b. Secondary – normal waking consciousness of adult humans – the stable Ego’s work to minimize free-floating mental energy. It’s been called ‘inhibited’ or ‘bound’ because it is guided by the ‘Reality Principle’ (delayed gratification). This gives the ability to develop & hold logical, coherent, abstract thought. Also, to make appropriate decisions, use cause-&-effect thinking & be goal-directed.  (MORE...)

NEXT: Negative Benefits – #1

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