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From a Freudian point of view the rape and sexual assaults discussed in this example, stemmed from the impulses from his “id” which were demanding sexual gratification. Freud may have contended that Tyson’s id had won control of the available psychic energy coursing through his body, which neither the ego nor the superego could stop or negotiate. This sexual energy and desire from the id arguably overpowered Tyson’s mind and his focus was to obtain sexual satisfaction. From this perspective other illustrations of Tyson’s id taking control of his psychic energy are evident when considering his behaviour during his youth.
Hoffer, (1998) has noted that he habitually stole from people who had something he wanted, and assaulted others who tried to stop him. In these instances the demands Tyson’s id forced him to take whatever he wanted, even if it was to the detriment of others. However, it is ironic to note that these impulses from his id which forced him into engaging in this type of behaviour to satisfy its demands were the very same impulses that gained him respect, fame and fortune inside the boxing ring. Arguably, his id’s desire to retain the title and maintain the status and respect he now had, facilitated him to achieving a high position in life.
Paradoxically this argument lends a little more credence to Horney’s theory of inner safety. Arguably, Tyson was indeed being driven by demands from his id in a Freudian sense, but these demands were bound now by the rules and regulations set out by the boxing authorities and this framework provided him with a sense of safety. Boxing protocol ensured that Tyson’s safety was not under threat and this enabled him to perform his aggression in a controlled, supervised and acceptable manner. As stated earlier Tyson was a victim of bullying. However it was also noted that he reached the stage where he himself became the bully.
Younger weaker children were the first targets Tyson chose to assault, but he quickly progressed to older children when he found he could beat them easily. His fighting ability, which was swift and vicious, resulted in him gaining respect throughout the neighbourhood and becoming an accepted member of the gangs. It could be argued from both of the points of view in this discussion that Tyson was using defence mechanisms in order to abate his anxiety. From a Freudian perspective the bullies who taunted Tyson made him feel inferior causing him biological anxiety.
The bullying that he suffered resulted in his ego feeling threatened and losing its balance of power, and in order to regain this balance, his defensive reaction was to eliminate the source of the threat. This example of Tyson targeting younger weaker children is a good illustration of Freud’s defence mechanism of displacement. Corey, (2001 p72) notes that one way for a person to cope with anxiety is “discharge impulses from a threatening object to a safer target. ” However, Horney’s description of the defence mechanism Tyson used here would be slightly different.
From this point of view it would be described as “compulsive aggression. ” Accordingly, people who display this type of aggression are making an effort to hide any sign of weakness or fear by “moving against people. ” The compulsive needs of this type of individual according to Horney’s theory, is such that they have “a need to dominate and control others. ” ( Fadiman & Frager, 1994 p141) It could be argued here that every time Tyson beat a child who taunted him he regained his feeling of safety. Subsequently, each time Tyson felt the need to regain this feeling he repeated the actions.
A further reinforcement Tyson may have found from these actions was the added bonus of gaining respect from his peers and becoming an accepted member of his immediate surroundings. Arguably this exact pattern of events brought him success, fame and fortune inside the boxing ring. This huge money earning period of Tyson’s life enabled him to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. It was noted by (Hoffer, 1998) that Tyson had a passion for collecting expensive possessions. He owned Siberian tigers, cars, fur coats and mansions. From a Freudian point of view Tyson could be said to be fixated in his Anal stage of psychosexual development.
This stage of development according to Freud’s theory happens between the ages of one and three. An important aspect of this stage is the toilet training of a child. A child learns during this time to control his sphincter and bladder and could find that he is chastised for mistakes or praised for conforming to his parent’s wishes. The child may pass a bowel movement and feel immensely proud of it he may then seek praise from his parent but feel dejection when he did not receive it. This situation may render the child with feelings of deflation and rejection. Fixation in this stage according to (Corey, 2001) can then occur.
Corey, goes on to note that this can manifest in later life as a need to collect possessions for which one can feel proud so that the earlier feelings of deflation and rejection do not reoccur. Arguably though, this aspect of Freud’s theory would be difficult to support with empirical evidence. Most people would be unable to recall with any degree of accuracy the toilet training methods employed by their parents. Horney’s theory of cultural and environmental factors surrounding a person’s childhood having a critical effect on their behaviour in adulthood would be easier to provide evidence for.