Hysterical Symptom Formation and Hysterical Character Pathology
A psychological symptom is the end result of a series of compromises effected by the ego in an effort to regulate instinctual demands. One aspect of the compromise embodies the interrelationship of id and ego. Instinctual activity pressing for perceptual attention mobilizes defensive responses in opposition to it. The instinctual demand is symbolically represented and hence disguised and modified in its intensity through the defensive functions of the ego. It can then emerge within the realm of preconscious and conscious experiences, where the particular form the symptom takes is shaped and further modified by the compromises necessary in the interrelationship with the superego and with the adaptive demands of the external world. The discomfort created as a consequence of the prohibitive function of the superego is a manifestation of the compromise with the repressive influence of this regulatory agency. The discomfort is proportional to the degree the prohibition is effective and the particular form it takes is determined by the nature of the symptom, the level of organization of the superego, and the perceptual structures that register the disguised instinctual expression. The superego response may thus elicit guilt, shame, or the anxiety of anticipated disapproval.
KeywordsDefensive Function Character Attitude Symptom Formation Neurotic Disorder Obsessive Symptom
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