Difference Between Ego and Superego

Main difference

The main difference between Ego and Superego is that Ego is common sense while Superego is morality.

ego versus superego

The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the subconscious is called the ego. In contrast, the part of the mind, which is self-critical awareness, is called the superego. The ego refers to reality. In contrast, the superego refers to perfectionism, a sense of ideality that is learned from parents and teachers.

The ego comprises reasoning, judgment, understanding and planning. On the other hand, the superego is made up of punishments, warnings, and rewards. The ego can be defined as a realistic approach to life, while the superego is the last component of the critical and moralizing part.

The ego is mainly related to the long-term benefits and results of actions. On the other hand, the superego is concerned with rules and other norms when dealing with a person’s actions and possessions. The ego acts as a bridge between the id and the superego, which are parts of the psyche of the brain. On the other hand, the superego confines both the id and the ego by the consequences of its actions.

The main role of the ego is to maintain the balance between the conscious and the unconscious. On the contrary, the main role of the superego is to enclose the mind within the confines of norms and morality, and prevent them from becoming socially unacceptable.

The ego manages to deal with the id part of the psyche, pleasing and controlling it at the same time. On the other hand, the superego directly contradicts the id, limiting human actions by considering their consequences.

Comparison chart

Ego Superego
The realistic and controlling component of the mind is called the ego. The moralizing and critical components of the mind are called the superego.
Maintain a balance between reality, the superego and the id. Confine both the ego and the id by the consequences of their actions
Relationship to Id
Try to please and control the id at the same time. Check and contradict the id
Refers to
Common sense Awareness
Benefits and long-term consequences of actions. Rules and regulations about a person’s actions and their effects.
Consists in
Reasoning, tolerance, memory, understanding, judgment and planning. Punishments, warnings, ego ideal, rewards, and positive reinforcement
Responsible of
Reality tests and personal identification ideal social standards
broadcast center
Part of the mind that acts as a transmission center between the conscious and the unconscious. Part of the mind that acts as a transmission center for self-critical awareness.
developmental age
At the age of 3 At the age of 5

What is the Ego?

The ego is defined as the part of the id that has been altered by the continuing influence of the external world. The ego develops to mediate between the real world and the unreal id. The ego develops after the development of the id, which is beyond reality.The ego develops at the age of 3, after which the sense of reality is produced in the individual. The ego is the deciding factor that determines the personality of an individual. The ego works with logical reasoning, while the id is absurd, unreal and unreasonable.

The ego works with social norms and protocols in mind, often negotiating or suspending satisfaction to escape the concerns and negative comments of society. The ego helps the person to behave and meet the demands of the id by working realistically.

The ego lends a hand to appease and accommodate the demands of the id, as well as to control its chaotic attitude by confining it to social norms. The ego resembles the id in seeking pleasure and reducing stress, but it contradicts the id in devising a realistic strategy for obtaining pleasure. The ego has no discernment of what is right or wrong, as its sole determination is to achieve satisfaction without harming itself or its id.

In most cases, the ego is weak and the id is strong. The ego’s primary purpose is to give the id the right direction and claim credit for itself for heading in the right direction. The example of him is realized by the correspondence that the id is the horse, while the ego is the rider.

What is the superego?

The superego is defined as a sense of morality and goodness that controls the unlimited id. The superego develops after the development of the id and ego at the age of 5 years. During the 3-5 years, the phallic stage of psychosexual development, the superego, is technified and nurtured.

The main role in its development is played by teachers and parents who teach the child to differentiate between good and bad. This ideal behavior, being the basis of the superego, controls the impulses of the id, especially those that are forbidden by society, that is, hostility and antagonism.

The superego forces the ego to change its goals from the struggle for reality to moralistic goals that seek perfection. The superego is made up of two classifications. The first is conscience, which can discipline the ego by producing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego rejects the demands of the id and forces the individual to strive for reality, the superego can make the person feel bad and guilty.

The second classification of the superego is the ideal self. The ideal self is also called the ego-ideal, which shows an imaginary image of how things should be, how to treat other people, how to represent oneself in society, etc.

The perfect image of the world, of yourself and of the people related to you is reflected in the category of the ideal self of the superego. The superego can punish us if we neglect the ideal self, or it can make us feel proud if we behave correctly following the ideal self.

Key differences

  1. The ego is defined as the part of the psyche that develops after the id at the age of 3, while the superego is the part of the psyche that develops after the ego at the age of 5.
  2. The ego tries to appease and control the demands of the id at the same time. On the contrary, the superego contradicts above all the irrational demands of the immature id, mainly in the characteristics of moral and ethical notions.
  3. The ego controls the impulses generated from the id, which helps it develop various defense mechanisms such as repression, reaction formation, projection, regression, denial, rationalization, and sublimation. On the other hand, the superego opposes the demands, ambitions, and imaginations generated by the id.
  4. The ego eventually develops from childhood with a single factor of reality. On the contrary, the superego develops, mainly, in function of the internalization of the vision of the world, of the norms, of the influences of the parents and the environment.
  5. The ego is a common sense, consisting of memory, indulgence, recollection, judgment, understanding, and machination. On the other hand, the superego is a conscience associated with ethics and spiritual values, which reminds us that we must always be right.
  6. The ego is more related to the unconscious that submits to appease the id, while the superego always contradicts the unconscious, either encouraging or discouraging.

Final Thought

The ego deals with reality and chooses a middle ground between the id and the superego. On the contrary, the superego moralizes or criticizes the psychic part of the mind, which always contradicts the irrational demands of the id and turns it into a blameless citizen.

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