Case analysis using the Freudian perspective

CASE 1: A young man is arrested for raping a woman. Upon investigation, he states that the woman asked for the sexual contact because of the way she dressed: a very short skirt with a tank top that barely covered her breasts. Upon further interrogation, the suspect reveals that he has a tendency to rationalize all his behaviors as being the fault of society, evil corporations and corrupt government. Psychoanalytic Theory or Freudian Theory states that human beings are dominated by unconscious forces and driven by sexual and aggressive desires.

This theory states that we do not have free will and we are not in charge of ourselves. With Case 1, the subject already reveals a relation to the Freudian Theory. The man accused of rape shows that his personality has fixated in the ID personality. Freudian Theory has three divisions of human personality: the conscious, the pre-conscious, and the unconscious. Freud said that upon birth we have one personality structure, the ID. The id is based on the pleasure principle. It is considered the selfish part of our personality.

During the first two years of life, the second part of personality develops which is the EGO. The ego is based on the reality principle. Its main job is to satisfy id impulses. By age 5, the SUPEREGO is formed. The superego represents values and standards. Its aim is perfection. Freud’s three parts to the unconscious are easy to understand if we consider the id as the pleasure seeker, the superego as the morality and perfection principle, and the ego as the middle, which keeps a balance between the id and superego.

Freud theorized that the libido developed in individuals by changing its object, through the process of transference. He argued that humans are born “polymorphous perverse” where any object could be a source of pleasure. He constructed the psychosexual development stages and identified age ranges and erogenous zones on the body with each stage. These are five stages: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genital. These stages were related with adult personalities and personality disorders. Case 1 subject was fixated the genital stage of his psychosexual development.

His fixation on his id and genital stage has led him to selfish interpretations of the things happening around him. His actions were driven by his libido or sexual energy to achieve sexual pleasure centered on his self. As a person fixated on the id personality, his sexual aggression is very high and thus, will be his basic motivating force in taking an action on the situation he was into. Defense mechanisms are ways of distorting the perception of reality and dealing with unwanted thoughts, desires, or anxiety.

There are various types of defense mechanisms, one of which is rationalization. Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true explanation for the behavior. For example, a person who is turned down for a date might rationalize the situation by saying they weren’t attracted to the other person anyway, or a student who blames a poor exam score on the instructor rather than his or her lack of preparation. It not only prevents anxiety, it may also protect self-esteem and self-concept.

When confronted by success or failure, people tend to attribute achievement to their own qualities and skills while failures are blamed on other people or outside forces. Case 1 subject is a man who has a defense mechanism of Rationalization. He is caught in an act that is unacceptable to his society. He cannot accept this reality that he was involved with. Thus, when questioned of his motivations for committing an act of rape, he points the blame to other forces, which, in his case, the society he belongs in, the evil corporations around him and corrupt government he is under.

He holds these kinds of outside forces accountable for his actions in a rational manner to veer away from the reality of the consequences of his actions. The man involved in case 1, in the course of his human development, must have been spoiled by his environment during his early stage of development. The people, who surround him, must have provided him everything that he needed and wanted. Should there be any conflicts he was involved in at that stage, other people may have taken the responsibility or consequence, instead of him.

Thus, during his growing years, where he should have developed his ego and superego, he has enjoyed the stage of his id personality too much and was fixated on that stage. Although, his personality development had been stagnant, he has developed his psychosexual development from the first stage of oral and has moved to genital stage. The misalignment of his personality and psychosexual development might have led him to such a personality disorder. Therefore, his defense mechanism of rationalization was his manifestation of response to his personality disorder.