As we approach the end of deeply exploring David Richo’s How to be an Adult in Relationships, let’s take an opportunity to do an an ego audit. We have looked at the functional vs. neurotic ego, become aware of the conditions of existence, familiarized ourselves with the five A’s and looked at ways to strengthen them, as well as touched on the counterparts of the five A’s, which are the mindsets of ego. Striving to be more psychologically adult goes hand in hand with cultivating a functional ego. Use the statements below to assess what you seek in relationships as well as how you show up in relationships. This will give you insight into your ego state.
The neurotic ego says end my loneliness. The functional ego says be my companion while we respect the need to be alone at times.
The neurotic ego says make me feel good. The functional ego says I take responsibility for my feelings and don’t expect to feel good all the time.
The neurotic ego says give in to me. The functional ego says negotiate with me.
The neurotic ego says never betray me, lie to me or disappoint me. The functional ego says we are both fallible so let’s address, process and resolve issues with each other.
The neurotic ego say I depend on you totally. The functional ego says we are interdependent.
The neurotic ego says I deserve to have things my way. The functional ego says we are different people and you also have legitimate desires, wishes, priorities and values, even if they are contradictory to mine.
The neurotic ego says totally fulfill my needs. The functional ego says it is realistic to get my needs met in moderation outside of myself.
The neurotic ego says collude with me in repeating old, painful scenarios from childhood and past relationships. The functional ego says help me mourn my past, learn from it, and jettison unhealthy agendas.
The neurotic ego says indulge my ego. The functional ego says confront and free me from my neurosis.
If we tend towards neurotic ego, we likely expect need fulfillment and stability outside of ourselves. If we tend towards functional ego, we do a pretty good job of meeting our own needs and we feel internally stable, even when the chips are down. It is a life’s work to keep moving the dial towards the functional end of the ego spectrum. Have you signed up yet? For your own sake, as well as for the sake of your relationships, please consider doing so. I can’t promise it will be painless, but remember, pain is inherent in life. Might as well position yourself to deal with it along the way, right?
Until next time, peace.