Excerpt About Awareness
The Ego Responds to Anxiety by Cutting off AwarenessAs awareness expands, the person becomes aware first of the necessity to find ways of dealing with his superego. This is the first important task. Without this ability, the individual will find it extremely difficult to expand his awareness and deal with his unconscious. The reason is that the status quo of the personality is maintained by the superego. In particular, the status quo is continued by keeping the unconscious unconscious, by enforcing the defensive mechanisms of the ego. The agent that enforces these defensive functions is the superego. We need to understand the process of repression in order to understand this mechanism more fully: awareness of unconscious material causes anxiety to the ego. The ego responds to anxiety with repression; it cuts off awareness from the arising unconscious material. In this way it avoids experiencing the anxiety and thus avoids the disintegrating effect of the anxiety on the ego structure.