The ego is considered the chief executive, the decision-maker of the mind; its primary role is to protect the child-primitive. It interprets the outer world for the child-primitive and is rational and logical, but is also aware of the child-primitives demands and reactions.

The unconscious child-primitive harbors feelings of sadness, emotional pain, and rage. When triggered it wants to push these emotions into the conscious realm to be expressed, as would have been the norm in primitive times. The ego is aware of this urge for expression and wants to prevent the explosion of sadness, pain, and rage into consciousness. It believes the pain and sorrow would be too dangerous for the person to experience or the anger to be too socially unacceptable to express. Instead, it represses these unconscious emotions by distracting the conscious mind with pain. It decides that physical pain is less threatening than expressing repressed emotions. We are not consciously aware of this decision and do not have any influence over it.

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