We help people access, assimilate and integrate split-off parts
including a part often called ego. We help people understand themselves,
and each other, as a basis for healthy relationships and a healthy life.
What is Ego?
Ego simply means I in Latin, and
indicates a sense of personal identity, an essential part of the
system of interacting elements commonly called your mind.
Sigmund Freud used the word ego to define one of
the three elements of his model of human psyche (id, ego and superego).
He considered these elements to be functions of a human mind rather than parts of
a human brain.
Carl Jung said that consciousness and ego-consciousness
are the same. He wrote, "To be conscious of myself, I must
distinguish myself from others. Relationship can only take place
where this distinction exists." Jung's shadows appear to refer
unconscious parts of ourselves which we hide and would prefer to not see
nor allow others to see - yet our shadows also hold our unrealized potential.
More recently, people use the word ego to imply
an exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit; pride in oneself;
vanity or inflated sense of self-worth which usually emerges during adolescence.
Living without Ego
Although some people who follow spiritual or New Age paths
may desire to live without ego, and although we can help
people temporarily achieve this state, few people who experience
this sate want to stay in it. For most healthy people, the
price of constantly feeling opiated is too high.
We can help people temporarily disconnect their emotions and cease their
internal dialog ... yet people in this state seem unable to
learn from the past, cannot make decisions in the present nor plan their futures.
People in such egoless states can be here and now - and
experience the world without judgment or commentary - yet during
this experience they may become rather dysfunctional human beings.
After egoless experiences, people often say, "Wow, that
was enlightening!", but the people who want to stay in that
state often suffer from out-of-control internal dialog
or unpleasant emotions (e.g. chronic anger, boredom or lack of meaning). We prefer to help
people manage their emotions and
replace self-criticism with self-esteem.
Some people want a "vacation from reality"!
Some common ways that people use to end inner dialog or self-talk include
drugs, meditations and mantras. Yet some people who have
followed some path to inner peace (i.e. no self-talk)
... seem unable to cope with everyday life ... unless someone
looks after them. They may be called enlightened but they often need
People who try to erase their sense of self may lose
awareness of themselves as human beings. Transcending the ego, as
described in some Eastern and New Age philosophies, is often
interpreted as erasing or destroying the ego. But transcend need
not mean disappear - transcend can mean "not be
limited by", which reflects our systemic approach to "ego coaching."
Ego as a Teenage Part
Our ego coaching is useful for helping people deal with with inner conflict or dissociation
- we help people access and understand various parts, sides
or aspects of themselves. We often help people communicate
with, mature and integrate these parts of self with their overall
sense of identity.
This may be complicated when adults
want to behave like children. Teenagers often avoid responsibility and commitments
that can lead to lasting happiness, preferring fun distractions.
We perceive this as a challenge for people who
depreciate maturity and praise adolescence.
Some adults mimic adolescents. Some parents try to dress
and act like their teenagers’ friends and peers (although most teenagers
dislike this - most teenagers want to appear
different to their parents!)
A delayed consequence of a teenage ego might be a
mid-life crisis, when adult teenagers suddenly realize that a
decade or three has passed since their biological teenage years, that their bodies
are aging and that teenage rituals, games and toys no longer provide fun nor
Origins of Ego
The modern use of the word ego includes a set of values and
behaviors generally centered on the ideas of differentiating oneself, gaining
respect, immediate gratification and (often) displays of
All we ever do is try to please our ego;
it’s like we’re always paying
homage to our ego, offering it tea, chocolate and prayers. We dedicate
all our energy to our ego and what do we get in return? What does our
ego offer us? Mental pollution. It brings such a foul, suffocating smell
in our minds that there’s hardly room to breathe. Lama Yeshe
I perceive most ego values and behaviors as being typical of
young teenagers, and I hypothesize that ego (as commonly
used) is a split-off part of self stuck in teenage values.
Such parts seem to originate in family relationship disappointments.
As we are experienced in dealing with the consequences of trauma
and abuse, which includes expertise in integrating younger parts
of the self, we applied this to the egoistic teenage parts ... with
excellent results. We created ways to help people mature and integrate
difficult aspects of themselves.
Ego Health & Survival Potential
Our survival is subject to internal and external constraints,
both as a living system and as an element of living systems.
If our environment is stable, we need not change to
survive. If our environment is unstable, we may survive only by adapting
Our survival potential reflects our health and our ability
to cope with stress - whether biological, physical
or emotional. Our ability to cope with stress reflects our age, our
health, our ethnic background, our training and our genetic
heritage. Also, our survival often depends on the number and quality
of our relationships.
Our health reflects our
available energy, our flexibility, our immunity
and our motivation to cope with change. We can improve our
survivor potential by improving its components. Our body
health seems to be optimum when our immune system, cellular system,
endocrine systems and stressors are in stable equilibrium.
Systemic Ego & Survival
By systemic ego I refer to behavior of a system that involves
interaction and feedback, with elements within the system and with
its environment. A healthy systemic ego reflects an awareness of
the influences of a system as well as the influences on a
system. An unhealthy systemic ego may attempt to dominate other systems.
A systemic ego can support systemic success ... also called
adaptation or evolution. A lack of
systemic success can result in diseases of bodies, minds, relationships
and spirit; or even in systemic stagnancy, destruction ... or extinction.
People often strive to enhance their systemic success at
the expense of other human systems. This can motivate people to compete
with or fight rival systems rather than to develop empathy and cooperation.
Human systems need mature leaders who can fulfill systemic ego goals
- for example plan and direct paths to future survival. Less mature people
want leadership positions to fulfill egoistic goals - for example, to gain
recognition and power.
Some keys to a mature and fulfilling life are
knowing what you want, knowing what
important people want
and cooperating with those people to fulfill shared goals.
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
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© Martyn Carruthers, 2010-2018
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