According to Freud in The Ego and the Id, shame becomes unavoidable because the formation of the ego ideal
replaces the longing for the father after the Oedipal stage: "It is easy to show that the ego ideal
answers to everything that is expected of the higher nature of man.
Zizek attaches this father to "an Otherness" (Ticklish Subject 314) that is not the Other of the Imaginary or Symbolic, not the father as either Imaginary ideal ego or Symbolic ego ideal
. Instead, it is the father from the Real, the Other as "the Real Thing." This is not the Thing Lacan ordinarily associates with das Ding, the Maternal Thing.
This kind of internalization is implied in his discussion of the ego ideal
and superego, but not as a simple modelling process because narcissistic dynamics initially dominate the process and are always present.
Indeed Freud's sole extended analysis of identification (in "Group Psychology") occurs almost entirely within a matrix of "ego ideals
" and "superior powers" to which the ego strives to approximate, and whose "perfections" it emulates (139-41).
But the child also loves and admires his parents, and he similarly gives himself an inner object of love and admiration, the ego ideal
. Although Freud undergoes various changes of mind on this subject,(28) he generally describes the feared disciplinarian and the admired ideal as coordinate functions of a single internal figure.(29) The disciplinarian criticizes and threatens to punish the ego for not living up to the example set by the ideal.
Eventually, these parental attitudes are cathected, and the child become capable of self-shaming, through internal discourse with the ego ideal
. Additionally, at all times in discourse, we monitor our social bonds for damage, and feel shame when they are threatened.
Freud viewed the ego ideal
as the striving of an individual to recover some of the narcissistic perfection enjoyed in childhood: "What he projects before him as his ideal is the substitute for the lost narcissism of his childhood in which he was his own ideal" (Freud, 1914/1984, p.
The ego ideal
of the good director is one of upholding personal responsibility.
Holland's interpretation multiplies the Poe persona, so that, under the aegis of Poe as ego ideal
, Baudelaire's aristocratic, Masochian, modernist cynicism resolves itself in borderline narcissism.
He then presents the findings from his study of the interviews by considering the development of the ideal self, the ego ideal
and adaptational styles.
His particular focus on stress led to elaborating the concept of self-esteem as a product of the gap between the self-image (the mental picture one has of oneself at any given time) and the ego ideal
(the mental picture of oneself at one's future best.) The lower the self-esteem, the greater the stress, or feeling of helplessness, resulting in more intense angry pressure on self to attain greater self-esteem.
With great sensitivity Meissner discusses the long and difficult process by which Ignatius forged his complex new ego ideal
, that of a follower of Christ.