According to Sigmund Freud, we’re all made up (between the ears at any rate) basically the same. Sigmo’s theory was that we have three components to our personality 1) the Id, 2) the Ego and 3) the Superego. Now, you can spend years going into the minute psychology of it all, but as I see it, it sort of breaks down like this:
Superego is the guy driving the car. He is mature, licensed and responsible and spends a lifetime becoming that good guy in the driver’s seat both by reading all of the manuals, listening to mom and dad and learning from the example of other good drivers. Sign says 45 mph? He goes 45 mph – maybe even 43, for good measure.
Ego is the co-pilot and navigator and is a bit of a back-seat driver. He points out every red or yellow light in advance, giving “helpful” instructions along the way, but sometimes lets little infractions slip past (California Roll at the stop sign with no other cars around for miles? No biggie. This time.).
The wild card in all this is Id. I like to think of him as Id Vicious. Guy sits in the backseat, being seven kinds of distracting, throwing things, belching and maybe even swinging an open container around the car. Bad news bear, he is. If this guy needs a potty stop, he will bang on the back of your head until you pull over. It doesn’t matter if he’s old enough to know better, he’s an immature brat. He is disruptive and socially unacceptable. Darn him.
Which brings me to my point (I know, you’re shocked that I even have one) – looking around lately at how people interact, I have decided there are two kinds of friends in this world. Those that are your closest pals, your confidants … people you share your heart with and show your soul to: your intimate friends. Then, there are those slopping over with id-like tendencies who intimidate you, leaving you with head-scratching moments of, “Uhm... why did I let them talk me into that? Why didn’t I stand my ground? How did that happen?”
The bulk of my closest and dearest friends and family members tip the personality scales more in the direction of ego and superego, in the best possible ways. I like having them in my life because these folks make me want to be a better person. I love them for that. These intimate relationships keep me in line, making me more balanced and stable and who among us doesn’t want a lil’ more of that in our lives? [And the occasional slice of red velvet cake. Seriously, I could rule the world with certain combinations.]
There are other friends and acquaintances out there that have a more intimidating nature, which can leave you feeling off-balance and slightly wounded when you part company. Don’t get me wrong, Id can be a lot of fun, but it comes at a price and can be draining. Id doesn’t like to let others have opinions, not when theirs is so far superior (or so Id thinks). It also doesn’t help that Id tends to walk around in a constant state of anxiety or tension and as Id’s friend you’ll feel compelled to try and mold your time together to make sure Id is happy (because an angry Id is just ridiculously difficult to deal with).
It’s not impossible to be involved with Id and their intimidating nature – sometimes you have no choice. You are related to them, work for them, serve on committees with them, play monthly poker/bingo/bunco with them, entered into matrimony with them or managed to make in-laws out of them. In order to keep your equilibrium in these difficult narcissistic relationships, you need to have coping skills firmly in place. Experts will tell you “be patient, be ever mindful of your own needs and give yourself permission to liberally use the word NO!” As one who has had boatloads of experience with these folks, allow me to add my own unqualified, yet highly successful piece of advice: find a way to laugh at the wacky idiosyncrasies of those intimidating personalities (heaven knows, I do). Then, over a pot or pitcher of tea -- share the details of The Adventures with Id with intimate friends and you’ll find you just might laugh all over again. You’ll feel better and trust me, it will be splendid.