Jump to the following topics:
- What is the superego?
What is the superego? According
to Freud, the superego is the part of the psyche which has the
- The superego contains our values, our sense of morality, and
our conscience. These ideas are the ones which we adopted from
society, primarily from our parents. Thus, the superego is a
re-enactment of a parent within our psyche; we created the
superego by identifying with the same-sex parent in our early
childhood (around the age of 5 or 6). This internalized parent
judges our psychological activity (i.e., our thoughts, images,
energy tones, and actions) according to its standards. When we
comply with those standards, we feel good about ourselves; when we
fail to comply, we feel anxiety and guilt. As we mature into
adulthood, we can replace our parents' standards with our own.
- The superego contains our "ego ideal." The ego ideal is the
collection of standards to which we aspire. Those standards were
acquired from society, primarily from our parents.