The Balance of Power, Ego & Aggression: Deprivation leads to Delinquency

Ozlem Yuksel-Sokmen
CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice 

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The famous German Psychoanalyst Jung, who with Freud extensively analyzed the ego of humans, said in 1916, "Children are born with the desire to exercise power over people and things about them" (Oxford English Dictionary, 2007). This notion leads to the complex view of power that the drive for power is derived from a so called “power instinct.” This means that at the start of its life, an infant has to create an ego, or as Adler (developed in Identity Psychology) called it, an “I.” In accomplishing the prime achievement, the infant uses power for the first time to survive. The infant demands food with a mere cry and thus is able to show its potentiality to develop an ego. The infant's use of crying for survival shows how powerful he is because its existential need is triggered by an inborn instinct…

…, the drive to execute the power. So everybody around the infant is influenced by its cry and will behave in accordance. According to modern psychologist Rollo May (Power and innocence, 1998), power is a central development in an infant's personality (p. 66). While developing transition into adulthood, the powerful cry of an infant develops into a cry for recognition and attention (Hendrick, 1951). Driven by ego, humans strive for status, happiness, and appreciation throughout their lives. Children who are deprived of parental care, love and power tend to be more aggressive and deviant than other children.

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