The ego is the plumber who works to redirect the pressure produced by the id instincts into acceptable or at least less problematic outlets. The ego is the part of the mind that constrains the id to reality. According to Freud, it develops within the first two or thre years of life (after the "terrible 2s"). The ego operates according to the reality principle. The ego understands that the ur ges of the id are often in conflict with social and physical realit . A child cannot just grab a candy bar of f the shelf at the grocery store or hit his sister whenever she makes him angry. Although such acts might reduce immediate tension in the child, they conflict with society s and parents' rules about stealing and beating up little sisters. The ego understands that such actions can lead to problems and that direct expression of id impulses must therefore be avoided, redirected, or postponed.
The ego works to postpone the dischar ge of id ur ges until an appropriate situation arises. The ego engages in secondary process thinking, which is the development of strategies for solving problems and obtaining satisfaction. Often this process involves taking into account the constraints of physical reality, about when and how to express a desire or an ur ge. For example, teasing one' s sister is more acceptable than hitting her , and this can perhaps satisfy the
id's aggressive urge almost as well. There may be some ur ges, however, that simply remain unacceptable according to social reality or conventional morality , regardless of the situation. The third part of the mind, the superego, is responsible for upholding social values and ideals.
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