One example of this is Lyle's conception of family life. His father punished him. This punishment was based upon a decontextualized biblical passage, and claimed to be the result of fatherly love. Hence Lloyd's conception of fatherly love was skewed from a very early age. For Lyle, the "truth" behind punishment is love. His anger and pain, as suppressed elements, fuel this conception, and Lyle is unable to break the cycle of his own violence.
Problem solving is another part of reasoning with which Lyle has considerable difficulty. He is faced with several problems. The first problem is his broken window. An effective way to solve this problem would have been to accept the Bravertons' offer to pay for it. However, this would not solve the problem in Lyle's mind. Instead, he requires punishment for the child responsible. When he is unable to obtain this, his inability to solve the problem in his mind further brings to the fore previously suppressed feelings of rage and his even more deeply buried pain. Because his reasoning ability is insufficiently developed, Lyle is unable to solve his problems effectively and become more and more deeply embroiled in his own cycle of violence.
In order to protect himself from his own undesired and feared impulses, Lyle constructed several defense mechanisms. He uses this to distance himself from a full awareness of both his past and present thoughts, feelings and desires. Indeed, he is unable to face the horror of what he has become, while also deeply burying the horror of his past. He represses these events to such an extent that he is barely even aware of the defense, even as he presents himself to his social environment. In this, he has constructed an unconscious ego mediation of id impulses. These are in conflict with the wishes and needs of the ego and superego. Indeed, when regarded in this way, it appears that Lyle's id, ego, and superego are experiencing a lack of constructive and cumulative function.
Lyle is for example unable to face the true reason for the reason why his family has left. He cannot face up to his own monstrosity as presented in the eyes of his wife and son. Instead, he constructs an alternative "truth," which is that the loss of his family is directly related to his wife talking to the Bravermans. This is more tolerable for him than admitting his own hand in the event.
It has been mentioned above that Lyle's connection to his reality is somewhat distorted as a result of his childhood years. He refuses to accept the reality of his life and situation and therefore denies it. Denial is one of the most primitive defense mechanisms and is generally constructed in early childhood. As a result of this denial, Lyle also displaces blame for the events in his life to the Braverman family.
Displacement also manifests itself in his conversation with the repairman, where he blames many different atrocities on the repairman's Asian origins, as well as the Asian race as a whole. Lyle is primarily angry at his father, who began the dissociation between what parental love should mean and his action of punishment. In turn, he is also subconsciously angry at himself. This is however unacceptable to him, and he displaces this anger towards others in his social sphere, including the repairman, the Bravertons, and finally the police.
All these defense mechanisms culminate in the fact that Lyle's autonomous ego functions are no longer operating effectively. Instead, his coping mechanism in the face of adversity is completely broken down. The result is anger and violence towards others. He copes in the only way he can, by victimizing those he believes are weaker and more vulnerable than himself. This once again is an indication of the abuse probably perpetrated by his father. Lyle's ego has been broken down, and is unable to cope with the harsh realities he observes. He is unable to manage his own affects and becomes excessively defensive as a result.
In terms of the synthetic functions, Freud's belief was that the ego was generally the dominant mental agency in a normally functioning human being. In Lyle's case, however, the ego malfunctions because its sense of well-being and security has been all but destroyed. This led to anxiety, which Lyle now masks as anger, which appears more powerful. Lyle masks his anxiety by persistently harassing the Bravermans and attempting to hurt their children.
Both Lyle's autonomous and synthetic ego functions are therefore in dysfunction as a result of his childhood experiences. The above are all psychoanalytic functions promoted by Freud and modernized by current Freud followers.
Object-relations theory, in turn, as promoted by a branch of modern psychoanalysts, is a theory that emphasize human relationships, rather than the drives of aggression and sexuality, as motivational forces in life. While Lyle is therefore significantly aggressive, the theory surrounding object relations would search for the emotional forces behind this behavior. While Freud suggested that human beings are pleasure seeking, relations-theory analysts believe that human beings are most motivated by their search for relationships. This includes the importance of the relationship with the therapist.
In his current circumstances, Lyle has several relationships. The two most important of these are his relationship with his own family on the one hand, and his relationship with his neighbors on the other. His relationship with his family is strained by Lyle's belief that punishment is the primary requirement for proving parental love. When his family does not react like he expects them to, he reacts with rage. When they leave, he is profoundly wounded by the loss, and responds with even more aggression. This is the trigger for Lyle's strained relationship with his neighbors.
Lyle seeks contact with his neighbors as a type of surrogate family. He intrudes upon their lives and expect to be able to show his version of love by means of punishment and fear. Again, when he is not allowed to do this, his rage reaches a further pique and extreme aggression results. His broken relationship with his hypothesizes father drives Lyle to seek relationships of his own to model on the same behavior his father displayed towards him. However, this is a self-defeating search, as the fear and anger that result drive away Lyle's family and any potential friends he might have made. This creates for him a condition of extreme loneliness, which is counterintuitive to obtaining healing for his condition.
Object-relations theory is build upon the Freudian concept of objects, which originated as objects that infants desire to satiate themselves. Objects that satisfy the libidinal and aggressive drives were at the heart of Freud's model of human behavior. Freud's model was drive/structural, while object-relations theory tends to be relational/structural, where the object in question refers to human beings and potential relationships with others. According to this theory, human beings have an innate need to enter into and maintain relationships. The Freudian drives, such as the libidinal and the aggressive, gain extra meaning within this context.
In the case of Lyle, his primary relationship with his parents drives his need for similar relationships with others. When he is unable to maintain these relationships, his psyche is injured and his aggression fuelled. Furthermore, his aggression is also fuelled by the appearance of fear in the face of his drive to punish. His wife's pleas to stop for example only furthered his aggressive drive. In this way, his aggression creates a vicious cycle by means of which he seeks, forms, and breaks down relationships.
It is not apparent that Lyle formed any attachments with any inanimate objects. His main problematic is focused upon the human relationships and the roles he expects to fulfill in these relationships. He is the aggressor and punisher, while his relational partners tend to be victims. In this way, his original relationship with his father profoundly affects his subsequent relationships and his behavior within it. Indeed, he built his self-structure on the model of his early relationship with his father. Lyle appears extremely resistant to change regarding this, and is most likely not even aware of a need for change.
Because psychological issues are then primarily the result of object-relations difficulties, psychotherapy is positioned to form a relationship with the client, which is to remedy the effects to he early trauma. The goal here is to model both a healthy and therapeutic relationship, by means of which the person in question can achieve healing. This is something that Lyle needs, as his self-object internalizations have resulted in dysfunctional current relationships. Lyle's relationships are then based upon his immature sense of self-actualization, which could not develop or mature as a result of the early trauma and victimization caused by his own family relationships.
Freud's concept of the Superego can be divided into the conscience and the ego ideal. The Superego is the highest form…