Section III

In this final section Freud investigates the role of the castration complex in the disturbances to which a child's original narcissism is exposed and its connection with the effects of early deterrence from sexual activity. The castration complex (in boys, anxiety about the penis - and in girls, envy for the penis), Freud proposes, appears as narcissistic interests. From this context, he notes that Adler (1910) derived a concept of 'masculine protest', as the sole motive force in the formation of a character and neurosis alike. However Freud disagrees, arguing that the masculine protest is narcissistic in nature thereby derived from, rather than separate to the castration complex.

From looking at the castration complex, we arrive at the concept of libidinal instinctual impulses undergoing repression if the conflict with the subject's cultural and ethical ideas. This repression proceeds from the self-respect of the ego. From the conditioning factor of repression, Freud proposes the idea of the formation of an 'ego-ideal' by the ego, which now becomes the target of self-love which was enjoyed in childhood by the actual ego. The formation of an ego ideal is not to be confused with the sublimation of instinct (this latter is the process of directing ones instincts towards something other than sexual satisfaction). Freud clarifies this differentiation further, as, the formation of an ego-ideal heightens the demands of the ego and is the most powerful factor favouring repression; sublimation though, is a way out, a way by which those demands can be met without involving repression.

Freud then looks at the role of the ego, in paranoiacs, and their delusions of self-regard, leading to self- criticisms, and also the role of dreams in representing this critical observing agency. He then discusses the self-regarding attitudes in normal people and neurotics. From these observations he proposes that every remnant of the primitive feeling of omnipotence that his experience has confirmed, helps to increase one's self-regard, which in turn is an expression of the size of the ego. Applying his distinction between ego-instincts and ego-libido (i.e. sexual instincts), Freud proposes that one's self regard therefore has an intimate dependence on the narcissistic libido. In support of this, he cites the fact that in paraphrenics self-regard is increased. While in (transference) neuroses it is diminished, additionally being loved raises ones self-regard, and not being loved lowers it.

From these premises, Freud goes on to express the relations of self-regard to erotism (i.e. to libidinal object-cathexes). He cites two cases, one where the libido has been repressed and where it hasn't, culminating in ideas that real love corresponds to a return to the primal condition where object-libido and ego-libido cannot be distinguished.

Freud concludes with a few remarks on the development of the ego - the departure form the primary narcissism, giving rise to a vigorous attempt to recover that state, brought about by means of the displacement of the libido on to an ego ideal imposed from without. The ego-ideal also opens up an important avenue for the understanding of group psychology, since as well as its individual side it has a social side, as the common ideal of the family, class of nation. The original sense of guilt brought by non-fulfilment of the ideal, is often a transformation of the liberation of the homosexual libido. The guilt is seen to represent a fear of losing the love of one's parents, and this in conjunction with the frustration of satisfaction of the ego-ideal, and injury to the ego, and thence possible transformations of ideals, assist in clarifying the underlying factors in schizophrenia and other paraphrenic disorders.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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