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Anxiety -Freud

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Anxiety

Freud once said “life is not easy!”
The ego — the “I” — sits at the center of some pretty powerful forces: reality; society, as represented by the superego; biology, as represented by the id. When these make conflicting demands upon the poor ego, it is understandable if it — if you — feel threatened, fell overwhelmed, feel as if it were about to collapse under the weight of it all. This feeling is called anxiety, and it serves as a signal to the ego that its survival, and with it the survival of the whole organism, is in jeopardy.

Freud mentions three different kind of anxieties: The first is realistic anxiety, which you and I would call fear. Actually Freud did, too, in German. But his translators thought “fear” too mundane! Nevertheless, if I throw you into a pit of poisonous snakes, you might experience realistic anxiety.

The second is moral anxiety. This is what we feel when the threat comes not from the outer, physical world, but from the internalized social world of the superego. It is, in fact, just another word for feelings like shame and guilt and the fear of punishment.

The last is neurotic anxiety. This is the fear of being overwhelmed by impulses from the id. If you have ever felt like you were about to “lose it,” lose control, your temper, your rationality, or even your mind, you have felt neurotic anxiety. Neurotic is actually the Latin word for nervous, so this is nervous anxiety. It is this kind of anxiety that intrigued Freud most, and we usually just call it anxiety, plain and simple.

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

May 25, 2007 at 7:42 am

Posted in Freud

Tagged with , ,

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