According to Freud’s theory, the id, the ego and the superego help to build up the personality of humans. Most human’s behavior is caused and influenced by the above three elements. When humans are born, they will get the id thich is a major personality component automatically. This aspect of personality is unconscious and motivated by the pleasure to satisfy human immediate gratification (Cherry, 2019c). In Takashi’s story, he is quite a self-centered and conceited person. Therefore, what he does is to satisfy his needs and requirements. For example, he kicked his cat due to the scolding of the boss. This may be because he used this way to vent his negative emotion when he was a baby. Once he is in a state of anxiety or tension, he tends to use violence unconsciously to calm him down. However, this behavior violates the moral values of the society and hurts others. Id tries to solve the tension generated through the principle of pleasure by using main process thinking, which involves forming the mental image of the desired object to satisfy the needs (Cherry, 2019c).
The ego helps people to balance the need of id and the moral values by finding a socially acceptable method to due with the need of the id (Cherry, 2019c). In addition, the ego works in different aspects of mind which include the conscious, unconscious and preconscious mind. It is the component of the personality which is responsible for handling the reality (Cherry, 2019c). During Takashi’s story, he slapped the manager’s face because of the long waiting time. After comparing the cost and benefits of the action of slapping the manager, he chose to slap the manager to satisfy the need of id and the delayed gratification. The ego leads him to do so since he thinks this behavior is acceptable when a dissatisfied customer is showing his power and right.
The last component is the superego, the superego began to appear around the age of five. The superego holds the inner moral standards and ideals we obtain from our parents and society. The superego which includes information about things that are viewed as bad in society provides guidance for our judgment and behavior (Cherry, 2019c). As we all know, Takashi has a terrible relationship with his father since his father was addicted to gambling when Takashi was a boy and he sympathized with his mother’s overtime working, which causes him to have an unhappy home environment. This is the potential reason that he is fond of flirting with other girls even though he has a girlfriend at present. Maybe he does not realize that what he does is not acceptable in the society because his negative behavior is not supervised by his superego. In addition, he may have an absence of Oedipus complex due to his childhood experience. This makes him change girlfriend frequently, Freud believes that in the growth of young boys. He believes that in early development, around the age of five, children want the love of their entire mother. Therefore, jealousy makes them feel dissatisfied, and even unconsciously hope for their father’s death (Ahmed, 2012). Therefore, it can be assumed that he did not get enough love from his mother.
Overall, the imbalance of id, ego and superego cause his personality problem.
Based on the theory suggested by Freud, personality develops through five psychsexaual stages, namely, oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. These stages are known as psychosexual stages due to the representation of libidinal drive in each stage. Libidinal pleasure is focused on different bodily areas known as erogenous zones which pose conflicts at different stages (Cherry, 2019a). An individual develops a healthy personality upon resolving conflicts and completing each stage successfully. Fixation occurs if an individual fails to resolve the conflict at the suitable stage, resulting in libido being permanently attached in the pre-genital stages. One of the reasons for fixation can be under gratification that results from severe or sudden socialization. Another reason can be the reluctance to leave the intense gratification which is considered as too compelling (Schultz & Schltz, 2017). Takashi’s personality can be described by discussing the psychosexual stages and analyzing the fixations caused.
Firstly, Takashi’s personality type can be described as oral-aggressive. During the oral stage, the mouth is the erogenous zone. At the early stage of the oral phase, being fed and sucking are considered as the two sources of pleasure. If an individual is fixated at this stage, he or she is likely to become reliant on others, positive or credulous. At the later stage of the oral phase, biting and chewing are the activities that give pleasure. If fixation arsis, the individual tends to become hostile, devouring or sardonic (Schultz & Schultz, 2017). In Takashi’s case, Takashi has issues with aggression. Takashi’s rude and noisy complaint at the restaurant is the indication of an orally aggressive personality. As an infant, Takashi might have been overly engaged in activities such as biting and chewing, causing him to be hesitant to abandon the oral stage of development and becoming fixated at this stage. As a result, Takashi seeks oral stimulation by being orally aggressive.
Secondly, Takashi’s personality can be described as narcissistic. During the genital stage, children begin discovering the genitals, in other words, the focus of pleasure is on the genital areas. Boys develop oedipus complex in which they begin to be sexually attracted to their mother. The child represses the sexual desire due to the fear of punishment, which the child believes will cause him to become castrated — known as castration anxiety. Repression causes the child to become hostile towards the father who is regarded as a competitor for the mother’s affection. In order to cope with oedipus complex, the child starts to identify with the father, allowing him to evade the castration anxiety as well as vicariously gratify the sexual desires towards the mother. This leads to the child taking on the male gender role and forming superego by adopting the father’s behavior, values and attitude. If fixation occurs in this stage, the person is likely to develop a phallic character which is dominated by narcissism. A fixated person fails to build a mature hetrosexual relationship despite the continuous effort to attract the opposite sex. Male phallic personality is described as vain, masculine and virile (Schultz & Schultz, 2017; McLeod, 2018). Takashi has developed a phallic personality. With his manliness and masculinity, Takashi attracts many girls. But he faces difficulty when it comes to developing a mature relationship. This is evident by the claims made by his girlfriend. Takashi continuously seeks affirmation and admiration for his enticing and distinctive attributes, as a result, he keeps flirting with other girls and changes girlfriends frequently (Schultz & Schultz, 2017). Moreover, the father-son dynamic resulted in his lack of compassion towards the opposite sex, indicating his weaker superego. Takashi’s superego is weaker due to his father’s unloving and uncaring attributes that Takahsi adopted during his childhood. Takashi also developed vainness during this stage, giving credits solely to himself during the award ceremony is the indication of him being egotistical.
Takashi’s Social Relationship
Does he have a good relationship with others?
Despite having an attractive presentation on his social media that brought many followers, Takashi is not able to have any harmonious relationship with others, both peers and strangers alike, due to his personality, which negatively impacts his current relationships and future relationships with others.
An example of poor relations due to his personality is when he claimed that he was the main reason why the fitness center he works at was successful. Such a claim was frowned upon by his colleagues and his boss, where the former had feelings of resent and upsetness, while the latter gave Takashi a scolding. Takashi’s egotistical claim may be due to his fixation on the phallic stage, where he developed excessive vainness (Cloninger, 2013).
Another example of poor relations is when he recently had a break up with his girlfriend. The break up was caused by Takashi’s hypersexuality that led to frequent flirtings and hang outs with other women, and also his explosive personality that led to a mishap in an elegant restaurant that ended with him being rude and noisy, and slapping the restaurant manager. The latter scenario also acts as an example that Takashi is not able to form good relationships. Takashi’s hypersexuality may be due to his fixation on the phallic stage, where he needs constant recognition and praise for his attractiveness or uniqueness (Schultz & Schultz, 2017). This fixation will also ultimately lead to a fixation on the latency stage, where he developed the inability to form meaningful relationships, explaining why Takashi often has new girlfriends, and his habit of philandering (Cherry, 2019a). Moreover, Takashi’s explosiveness may be due to his fixation on the oral stage, which explains why he acted the way he did in the restaurant (Cloninger, 2013).
The final example of poor relations is his terrible relationship with his father. Their relationship worsened due to his father’s gambling addiction, which Takashi views as irresponsible, uncaring, and unlovable.
How did he cope?
Due to his poor relationship with others, Takashi coped or justified his actions using different defense mechanisms.
Firstly, when he was scolded by his boss for claiming to be the main reason for the fitness center’s success, Takashi used the defense mechanism displacement, which is to displace an impulse towards another object or person as a substitute, to cope. The ego finds a compromise between id’s want to satisfy its impulse while adhering to superego’s criteria of a more acceptable substitute (McLeod, 2019). As he is not able to directly show his anger towards his boss, he displaced it towards his cat by kicking it when he arrived home. By doing so, it satisfies his anger, while not risking losing his job.
Secondly, at the elegant restaurant with his girlfriend, he believes his action was justifiable as he has the right to show his power as a disappointed customer. This is a defense mechanism called rationalization which is simply providing excuses to justify their behavior (Coninger, 2013).
Thirdly, when his girlfriend asked to break up, Takashi was in a state of denial, a coping mechanism where there is the inability to accept reality, by forming his own sense of reality that his girlfriend was merely unhappy with him being busy at work to avoid perceiving actual reality (McLeod, 2019). However, upon realization of the break up, Takashi coped through regression, a defense mechanism where his behavior reflects that of a child, by cuddling up to his favorite hero figure just like he used when he was younger (Coninger, 2013).
Fourthly, Takashi believing that his father dislikes him when he hates his father is a defense mechanism called projection, which is projecting their own feelings towards another person. This is because the superego finds his hatred for his father as unacceptable so believing that his father hates him is the solution (McLeod, 2019).
Lastly, when Takashi broke up with his girlfriend, he coped through projection, and sublimation, which is very similar to displacement but the substitute for the impulse is constructive and socially acceptable (McLeod, 2019). For the former defense mechanism, he believes that there are women admiring him by stealing glances, when he may actually be the one stealing glances at them. As for the latter defense mechanism, he turns his negative emotions from the break towards body-building, such as releasing those negativity when punching at sandbags.
Help from Freud
Freud would choose to use psychoanalysis to help Takashi to control his behavior in daily life to solve the anxiety caused by those behaviors. Psychoanalysis aims to discover the unconscious mind of the patient and help them to analyze why the unconscious mind will lead to the action. Psychoanalysis majorly includes the part of free association and transference to discover the ideas for different events and the repressed thought from early childhood. When the patient has the ability to understand the unconscious mind more, it can help the patient to control his behavior more easily (Doorey, 2014). In Freud’s perspective, the unconscious contains different desires, wishes and memories which humans cannot have the ability to be aware of. However, the unconscious will lead humans to do the different actions to fulfill their eros or thanatos by changing human’s behavior (Doorey, 2014). In Takashi’s case, Takashi did different behavior which hurt the relationship of his ex-girlfriend and other trainers in the same company. Those behaviors may occur by the unconscious mind which is hard to find out individually. Therefore, using psychoanalysis can be one of the good therapy methods to help Takashi understand more of his unconscious mind and change his behavior to a more socially acceptable way.
In psychoanalysis therapy, Freud will let Takashi do the part of the free association first. Free association means that the patient can talk about every event, idea or feeling which he can think about at this moment. He does not need to care about any moral rules which always limit his behavior in daily life as free association aims to find out the patient’s unconscious mind to help for analysis (Lindfors et al, 2019). However, sometimes the unconscious mind may show resistance by preventing some of the repressed ideas from the past, so the therapist needs to help the patient by using interpretation to help for analysis (Doorey, 2014). In Takashi’s case, Freud may let Takashi sit on a comfortable chair with a silent environment to speak out what comes out from his mind at this moment. Also, he does not need to repress any of his feelings due to the aims of the treatment is to find out the unconscious mind. For instance, he may talk about his feeling of ex-girlfriend, every little event when he is working, the experience of surreptitious glance to the girl in the fitness center. All those little events can help to find out some clues of the unconscious mind and help to analyze what caused the unpleasant event that occurred in Takashi’s recent life. It may help Takashi‘s to find out the cause of those behaviors which hurt others and improve the social relationship with others.
Besides the recent event that can be easily talked about in the free association part, the past event which may also lead to the influence of the behavior in the present. Therefore, the psychoanalysis will have the part of transference which means the patients need to talk about the early life event which may be related to the patient’s family member. It can help the therapist to understand more of how the unconscious mind builds up in the early life of the patients (Doorey, 2014). In the Takashi case, Takashi may talk about the early childhood in which his mother needed to go out to work for 14 hours a day and his gambling addicted father. The above events let Takashi have very less time to communicate or feel love from his mother and it may make him lonely. Freud may use the poor of love in childhood which may be the cause of the unconscious mind to be one of the analyze points to explain the personality problem or behavior problem which Takashio is facing in recent life. It can also help Takashi to understand the cause of his behavior and it may help him having some ideas to improve the social relationship after having the long psychoanalysis therapy.
Using Freud’s five stages of psychosexual development, we can explain Takashi’s personality issues, and where it is rooted from. However, we cannot simply say that those issues can only be explained through the perspective of Freud as there could be alternative explanations from within the same or even different schools of thoughts.
Starting with Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Erikson’s theory was inspired by Freud’s where the former also believed in the unconscious being vital to development, and that development occurs in predetermined stages. Differences, however, are that Erikson focused on social as the impact of development, and that development still occurs after puberty (Cherry, 2019b). Although not all issues can be confronted, Erikson’s perspective can provide a different explanation to Takashi’s inability to commit to a relationship. In Erikson’s stage of intimacy vs isolation, success can lead to a loving and secure relationship while failure leads to loneliness, and success or failure is determined by one’s sense of self. Therefore, Erikson would explain that Takashi failed this stage due to his lack of sense of self (Cherry, 2020).
Moving on to Bandura’s social learning theory. Inspired by operant and classical conditioning, social learning theory is simply learning by observing others to imitate how to behave in different environments (Nabavi, 2012). In terms of Takashi’s case, not much information was provided on his childhood experiences. Therefore, we can make assumptions that his personality issues may have stemmed from learning them at a young age. For example, Takashi’s overconfidence may have stemmed from learning from his father’s overconfidence in winning at gamblings that led to his addiction. Takashi may have also learned to be explosive, or disrespectful to his girlfriends from his father, who was described as unloving and irresponsible as a family man. Moreover, Takashi’s fixation on manliness could have been learned from the pressure of society’s standard for men.
Finally, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow theorized that humans can reach their full potential in development from moving upwards the hierarchy of needs. The hierarchy of needs consist of five levels: 1) physiological; 2) safety; 3) belonging; 4) Esteem; and then 5) actualization (Lumen, n.d.). According to this theory, Takashi only managed to meet the physiological level of the hierarchy, which is the basic needs for survival, and Maslow would explain Takashi’s issues, which is keeping him from actualization, as such: a) in the safety level, although Takashi does regular exercise, which meets the safety need, he still has feelings of unsafety from his father that stemmed from his childhood, which would keep him from advancing to the belonging level; b) in the belonging level, through philandering, he may be able to meet the belonging need by satisfying the need for sexual intimacy. However, it is his inability to seriously commit, and his inability to produce and keep harmonious relationships with others are what will keep him from advancing to the esteem level; and c) in the esteem level, despite having a high self-esteem, he lacks the respect of others to advance to his full potential at actualization (Lumen, n.d.).