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

S & I needs a Heathy EGO (Part 1)


allows me to flourish

PREVIOUS: Healthy S & I – #2

SITES : “Ego Psychology”  / / Trans4mind

See ACRONYM page for abbrev

EGO: The way Spirit has of expressing its uniqueness, so without Ego you as an individual would not exist. Therefore they go hand in hand. It’s “the Individuated consciousness of Infinite Being…. and a distinct personality apart from universal consciousness”, says Enoch Tan, in Dream Manifesto

To successfully S & I we need a HEALTHY EGO.  It’s the source of our overall physical, emotional & mental health, in relationship with ourselves & to others. Modern psychologists often replace EGO with “confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness”.

➼ It’s unfortunate that most people misuse Ego to mean ‘arrogant, self-centered, conceited, limiting’…. & therefore a bad thing! Since it’s almost always incorrectly equated with the real problem of adult narcissism, its original meaning has been forgotten. We hear this in 12-Step programs, therapy, ‘spiritual’ literature, even famous people – talking about the pitfalls of ego, such as ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass: The False Power of Ego’

These labels are not correct. The ‘character defects’ being referred to come from our PP or WIC aspects. Neither of those internal ego-states have healthy egos!  Wounded people are said to have damaged egos, split-personalities have multiple egos & psychopaths have fractured egos. NOT having a strong, clear ego causes us to be victims or absers!

NOTE: AA’s 3rd Step says: “Made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him”.
In this context, the focus is on the word will. What will? Who’s will? ACoAs are afraid of this Step because it feels like volunteering for slavery to yet another authority figure – in this case the “ultimate” one.
It’s one reason why so many of us reject all religious or spiritual connection, or are drawn to paths that don’t include a specific God-person. The WIC is still functioning from the feeling that “God is an alcoholic parent” & therefore unsafe

• Before Recovery (& even during) ACoAs don’t have actual free will – no matter how headstrong, arrogant or genuinely accomplished. As long as we’re still run by the Toxic Rules, our will is not our own, controlled by the Negative Introject, which the WIC is passionately devoted th-1to.
So, the point of S & I is to find & express our True Self, by no longer obeying the PP.

A NORMAL (healthy) EGO is the ‘eyes’ we use to see the world.  IT IS the :
🌱 aspect that lets us become strong, loving, valuable, contributing members of society, both at work & in relationships – the foundation for “emotional intelligence”
🌱 adult / reality part of ourselves, the “I” that chooses what to think, feel & act
🌱 part that’s separate from our own thoughts, & from the Self of others
🌱 natural capacity for attention, concentration, memory, motor coordination, language & perception.  It is NOT something to get rid of!

• According to Freud, EGO functions on the Reality Principle, ‘sitting’ mainly in the pre-conscious & conscious, but its strong ties to the id means it also interacts with the unconscious. (id = socially or spiritually unacceptable desires)

Ego is the part of the ‘psychic apparatus’ that works to achieve a balance between the id’s anti-social wishes & our personal standards, via the superego.  It prevents us from automatically acting on id-urges, while working to satisfy them in realistic & appropriate ways. This is done through a variety of defense mechanisms, in 4 levels, from worst to best: —-> Pathological, Immature, Neurotic, Mature.  (MORE…. )

Healthy Ego mediates conflicts between the demands of the:
id – the chaotic, impulsive, unconscious part of us, which is instinctive & totally unreasonable (young narcissistic child)
superego – the incorporated values of family & society which become our own Conscience & Ideal Self (Loving OR Bad Internal Parent)
reality – the current social & physical environment

EXP: If someone cuts you off in traffic, the Healthy Ego :
✨ prevents you from chasing down the car & physically attacking the offender (altruism)
✨ tells you that reaction would harm you & the other person, which is unacceptable (identification), that —
✨ there are other more appropriate ways of venting frustration, & is in control of your choices (sublimation)

Psychologist Kit Yarrow says: “A person with a healthy ego is able to see their flaws, learn from their mistakes and forgive themself. They allow others to know them, rather than only see their surface. Because they do – they feel loved. They act purposefully rather than react emotionally to stressful people & situations.”

NEXT: S & I – Ego, (Part 2)