Ego Ideal - Further Developments

Further Developments

Freud's followers would continue to exploit the potential tension between the concepts of superego and ego ideal. 'Hermann Nunberg defined the ideal ego as the combination of the ego and the id. This agency is the outcome of omnipotent narcissism and is manifested as pathology'. Otto Fenichel, building on Sandor Rado's 'differentiation of the "good" (i.e., protecting) and the "bad" (i.e., punishing) aspects of the superego' explored attempts to 'distinguish ego ideals, the patterns of what one would like to be, from the superego, which is characterized as a threatening, prohibiting, and punishing power': while acknowledging the linkages between the two agencies, he suggested for example that 'in humor the overcathected superego is the friendly and protective ego-ideal; in depression, it is the negative, hostile, punishing conscience'.

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