The Ego Ideal


EGO-IDEAL (Freud) : The ideal of perfection that the ego strives to emulate. For Freud, the ego-ideal is closely bound up with our super-ego. The super-ego is “the vehicle of the ego ideal by which the ego measures itself, which it emulates, and whose demand for ever greater perfection it strives to fulfil” (“New Introductory Lectures” 22.65). Given the intimate connection of the super-ego to the Oedipus complex, the ego-ideal is likely “the precipitate of the old picture of the parents, the expression of admiration for the perfection which the child then attributed to them” (“New Introductory Lectures” 22.65) . It is also tied up with childhood narcissism (the belief in one’s own perfection), which in adulthood can take as its substitute the perfection of the ego-ideal.

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