Those disturbing thoughts


 1-The Self

Most of us have a clear idea of who and what the self is.


2- The superego

The concept of the superego is the contribution of Sigmund Freud.

The superego can be seen as the ‘disapproving parent’ – it’s the place where we internalize all the rules of our parents,

and any other authoritarian figures who have had some kind of authority or control over us.

The superego is the source of our feelings of regret, guilt, and bad conscience, and is not something we can control.

These bad feelings are a kind of  punishment from the superego against the ego

for ‘breaking’ the moral rules which were entrenched in the superego by our authority figures..


3- The castrating superego

If those who created our superego were too hard or intransigent, then we - our superego  will be too hard on ourselves.

This creates an insecure person, or one with low self-esteem.

In his life, this person has felt undervalued, or not valued at all, and the ego has no confidence of its place in society.

When the superego is too harsh, Freud calls it a castrating superego.

It’s castrating because it castrates the growth, development, and happiness of the person -  of his ego.


4- The castrating superego in the schizotypal

The superego of the schizotypal is especially hard. It punishes the person ruthlessly and without cause.

It makes his life impossible

The schizotypal’s self-esteem is very low, and when presented  in society, he fails.

Life, for him, is empty, arid, and unbearable.

He still has fantasies where he can take refuge and find some relief ,

but,relentlessly – again and again -  his fantasies unavoidably take the form of self-castigation.

He is left with no alternative but to find an escape from these unpleasant fantasies.

 And he does this by resorting to a kind of magical thought

which becomes so intense and consuming, that he can no longer separate reality from fantasy.


5- The castrating superego in the schizoid personality

Though the superego of the schizoid may also be castrating, it is usually less severe.

In some schizoids (and even in some non-schizoids) the castrating superego recalls an episode in our life…

a negative episode or, one that is interpreted as negative, but which is actually neutral.

Nevertheless, it appreas in the mind as shameful, and is accompanied by an unpleasant sensation.

This is a reproach from the superego, a totally unwarranted reproach,

because it creates guilt and remorse from events which were actually neutral.

This is the superego, punishing the ego for innocent actions which involved no wrong-doing.

Naturally, this upsets the person, and both schizoids  and others suffer as a result.

However, this seldom causes permanent harm, and the person is still capable of enjoying pleasurable fantasies.


6- The importance of  fantasies

The discussions above, lead us to conclude that fantasies are not only whims or a waste of time,

 but that they have an important function.

 If a schizotypal personality is unable to have pleasurable fantasies, the consequences will be disastrous.

Fantasies are a spontaneous and natural activity for humans,

and should play an important role in our lives because they provide relief from the frustrations of real life.

Nature never endows us with abilities which are meaningless or useless.

The schizoid personality, who has been severely restricted by his inability to adapt to the ‘human herd’,

is able to compensate in some part through his fantasies of power.

 Thus, fantasies may be called the endorphins (1) of the soul.


7- Rejecting the annoying, castrating superego

I am my self, and I am also my superego – though I really identify with my self.

My superego and its punishing thoughts are intruders. I am gentle with myself,

 while the superego is disapproving, intolerant, irrational.

 Those castrating thoughts do not match my personality, or my maturity. I am critical of them and of  the superego,

I reject them, and the authoritarian and social values they impose on me – but I especially reject their disparate punishment.

I have my own values which are mature and rational but, unfortunately, so long as I live,

I will have to bear the disapproval of my castrating superego.

Still, I console myself with the knowledge that I can kick against it, and reject the lies that it

 and society have imposed on me.

The castrating superego may help to explain some of our suffering, as well as some of our behaviour.

(1) Endorphins = substances produced by the body which modulate pain, and promote feelings of pleasure.

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Site updated on March 3, 2011  .  Copyright (c) 2008-2011