We all have heard the word ego and many of us use it in conversation but what is the ego and how can it hurt or even destroy our relationships?
What is the ego?
Well simply speaking the ego is a part of the mind that is concerned with “me”, “I” or “mine”. I have thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and reactions, and they belong to me or they are mine. The ego is where things become personal. Opinions are stated from my own perspective and my own framework. The ego uses many “should” or “shouldn’t” statements and judgments about ourselves and other people, and these are mostly stated as if they are facts.
Some examples include –
“I am still upset that Michael didn’t call me. He is so irresponsible!”
“Pia should never have spoken to Arki like that.”
“Oh no, I can’t wear this on my date. She is going to think I am fat.”
What is the role of the ego?
The role of the ego is to alert us to any situation where it feels insecure, wobbly, or unsafe. Our egos are constantly trying to alert us of threats or even just perceived threats. Think of the ego as you’re an early warning detector when we are moved out of our comfort zone. Our egos want to keep us safely in boxes, so we “don’t fail”, “don’t expose ourselves”, “don’t be vulnerable”, or “don’t end the relationship in case you are alone forever”.
When we feel ourselves wobble or even feel unsafe, our ego is looking for a way to bolster itself. We don’t like to feel insecure, and we want a quick fix to feel better again. We do this by creating ego-based stories. For example, if we feel someone has slighted us, we may create a story in our own minds that judges them as somehow inferior to us or that we are superior to them in a particular area. We may even tell ourselves a story that degrades them and calls them a name, such as “stupid” to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes we create angry or anxious stories, where we put others down. In these stories we can also play the victim, we can make stories where someone is frightening and dangerous for us to be around. Our egos can also create stories where we complain, blame, and accuse others when we feel disrespected or hurt. These stories can be directed toward our partner in a couple relationship.