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How to Handle the Male Ego
Dr Savita Date Menon
 
Jim Carrey, the Hollywood funny guy who makes even funnier faces says, “I own and operate a ferocious ego.” Colin Powell, ex US Secretary of State adds to that, “One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego.

The self is more distant than any star.” The male ego does sound like a mysterious powerful machine, doesn’t it. And there you were saying women are complex creatures!

Now, no discussion on Ego can happen without talking about Freud. It was he who gave it name and definition. His theory of personality structure identified three principle parts that were interlocked with each other for mutual satisfaction. The id was the storehouse of all biologically based urges: to eat, drink, eliminate and to be sexually stimulated. This sexual energy is called the libido. The id operated on the pleasure principle or the desire to satisfy itself, regardless of rules and morals.

The Ego is your executive function. It is the driving energy, the force, the action, the working towards satisfaction. The id needs the ego and its drive so that pleasure can happen. But the id is managed and bridled by the ego because of a third influence – the Super ego.

Key to handle the Male Ego
  • Try to control it, change it, give it your shape and you will ultimately put him off.
  • Understand the male ego, learn how it works, what it feeds on. And put it to good use
  • Affirmation is its fuel. It is also it’s vulnerability
  • Acknowledgement of achievement and
    success - it thrives on. Pointing out feet of clay - it detests.
  • Women want understanding, attention,
    affection. The male ego wants attention and recognition
  • Accept his sexual desire as a real need, just as you accept his need to eat good food.
  • The male libido desires, but also wants to be desired. This strokes his manhood.
  • Frequent lack of mutual desire at home, may in time, take him looking for someone, regardless of what he has to risk or lose.
  • So understand a little, praise a little, communicate a little, and give a lot. And you may hold the key to the Male Ego.

The Ego is your executive function. It is the driving energy, the force, the action, the working towards satisfaction. The id needs the ego and its drive so that pleasure can happen. But the id is managed and bridled by the ego because of a third influence – the Super ego. The Super ego is the Conscience, the prohibitions learned from parents and other authority figures. But it is also a set of positive values and moral ideals motivating the ego to work for a worthy cause. So far, this three way structure is common to both genders. Women too have an ego you know. But add to this a few ingredients, first being Testerone, the male hormone and the Ego now acquires more strength, power, aggression. It now gets ambitious, competitive and achievement oriented. Now throw in centuries of social conditioning that expects strength, security, protection, leadership, decisiveness, fearlessness from the male of the species. And you have a different kind of ego –The Male Ego. So to both you genders, what you understand, you can deal with better, right?

As said by Starhawk, “ The truth is that while men in our society are encouraged to have strong egos and to function in competitive, aggressiveness, intellectualized models that may indeed cause them pain, for most women, the ego is like a fragile African violet, grown in secret….”

The male ego can make the world go around, make great advances, create works of Genius, wage wars and win battles and even go through great pain to protect country and family. On the other hand, it also wants to win every argument, rubbish every opposing opinion, override every quiet word of wisdom, break relationships and cause most of our problems. As James Joyce says, “Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.” So fragile can the Ego be.

The Male ego is driven by affirmation, by recognition and positive strokes. An example of this is a ‘rich older man – pretty younger woman’ couple. Men on the wrong side of 60 can partner with women less than half their age. And the aphrodisiac is usually money. He succeeds in earning it and she succeeds in unendingly recognizing this success. Both get what they want and stay together. This also strokes sexual energy or libido. She finds him successful, powerful and Oh so desirable! And he feels more of a man knowing that he is so desired, especially by this pretty little thing. Win - Win for both partners shall we say? And it lasts till both see each others’ feet of clay.A good example is Salman Rushdie and his string of pretty, young, girlfriends, the latest being Pia Glenn. Closer to home, we have our own Barons of Wealth and more.

The Ego has a voracious appetite. And the Male Ego is conditioned to be even more so. The more you feed it, the hungrier it gets. So understand its vulnerabilities and feed it healthy food only. The hunger of the id, the driving force of the ego with the balancing wisdom of the Super Ego. Now that’s a healthy diet.
Dr Savita Date Menon is Clinical psychologist, popular speaker, columnist and guest faculty member at Harvard Medical School, USA

    
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