Excerpt About Unconscious

The Unconscious Remains Unconscious Out of Fear of the Superego

Originally, the anxiety was the fear of the coercive agencies in childhood, mostly represented by the parents. Whenever the parents disapprove of a certain action or feeling of the child—and this happens repeatedly—the child learns, out of fear of this disapproval and also out of love for the parents, to suppress and finally repress this particular action or feeling. However, the disapproval becomes internalized in time as part of the child's own superego. So eventually, whenever a situation provokes this particular action or emotional state, the child's own superego disapproves and, in fact, punishes the child with guilt, shame, and other painful affects. The fear becomes a fear of one's own superego. The child, out of this fear of the superego and the punishment, learns to defend himself the way he did with his parents. He represses the particular action or feeling. He cuts off his awareness from his own impulses, feelings, and actions. For this to be effective, the whole operation must become unconscious and automatic. The unconscious remains unconscious out of fear of the superego and to defend against its attacks. Thus, the superego becomes the inner coercive agency that guards the status quo of the personality.

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