Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, created psychoanalysis. As he elaborated on his theories centered on the subconscious, he developed the model many know today as the id, ego and superego. These three parts of human psychology control the subconscious mind. This is especially important to understand in terms of the tension myositis syndrome (TMS) which many people suffer from every day. I overcame TMS by refocusing my mind. But, before you can overcome and live a pain-free life, you have to understand your own brain.
Freud developed his theory in 1923, when he realized the human psyche has more than one component. To understand your mind fully, it is important to know which parts of it are causing you pain or suffering.
Id – The id is the instinctive part of a person’s mind. This impulsive and unconscious part of a person’s mind is what tells people to operate on pleasure. Anything that the person wishes for, the id tells the mind to go ahead and get that thing in order to get immediate satisfaction, regardless of any consequences. The id engages solely at the primary process thinking level, and is primitive, without comprehension of objective reality and fantasy-oriented. When a person pushes back against the sometimes impossible demands of their selfish id, the denial can cause tension or strife in the unconscious mind.
Ego – Meanwhile, the ego has developed to act as a mediator between the id (unrealistic) and the world (reality). The ego is the decision maker, operating on realistic principles and working out ways of getting the id what it wants without breaking societal rules or norms. Similar to the id, the ego does seek pleasure, too – but, in the form of tension reduction to avoid pain. According to an article in Simply Psychology, “if the ego fails in its attempt to use the reality principle, and anxiety is experienced, unconscious defense mechanisms are employed” to protect the individual from pain.
Superego – The superego deals with both the id and ego. It tries to control the id’s impulses. According to a Simply Psychology article, it also tries to persuade “the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.” Within the superego there are also two systems: the ideal self and the conscience. An ideal self is the perfect form a person wishes to be in the eyes of society. When a person falls short of their ideal self, the superego may cause feelings of guilt. The conscience is tied to morality and can punish any mistakes the ego makes by causing more feelings of guilt.
TMS & Subconscious Thought
A lot of the time, those with TMS suffer from more than just physical pain – they suffer from mental anguish as well. Unconscious guilt and shame can cause a lot of damage to a person who isn’t aware of their existence. The guilt may be present on a subconscious level, with the superego making you feel bad for things that may have happened, or even trying to distract you from painful events of the past. The tension felt between conflicting wants (id), superego ideal self (goals) and conscience (guilt-making machine) can lead to a tremendous amount of pain buried in the subconscious.
If there is too much pain, and the ego fails to protect the mind, it may launch unconscious defense mechanisms to protect you from the pain, anxiety or guilt. In many, these defense mechanisms manifest as TMS. Your body and mind are just trying to protect you. It’s up to you to take back control and refocus your mind so you can live a pain-free life.