In my self-analysis The Caliban Complex (October 1988), I made the following observation based on Freud’s theories:
The subject, on the other had, seeks out objects whose ideals match those already existing in the prescriptive portion of his superego (ego ideal); his injured ego then introjects by way of identification, the valued qualities of the object, thereby enriching the ego with those qualities, and ultimately (1) diminishing the tension, or disparity (guilt), between the ego and the ego ideal, and (2) providing the ego with a bulwark against the claims of his conscience, i.e., the prescriptive portion of his superego (see final paragraph of footnote 14). By means of identification with certain others the subject obtains a general state of emotional well-being that is fundamentally grounded in a diminution of guilt. See Freud, S. (1921) “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” (especially the following sections: VII. Identification; VIII. Being in Love and Hypnosis; and XI. A Differentiating Grade in the Ego), reprinted in A General Selection from the Works of Sigmund Freud, at 169-209, Rickman, J. ed. (Doubleday: 1989). The subject’s ego ideal is narcissistic, and his sense of well being, when it is achieved, is that of perfect narcissistic integrity recovered through the introjection of idealized objects.)
We find echoes of these ideas, derived from Freud, in the theories of Heinz Kohut (The Analysis of the Self, 1971). I knew nothing about Kohut when I wrote The Caliban Complex.
The third group of disturbances occurs as a result of trauma in the Oedipal or even early latency period when the superego is not yet complete. The adult who experiences trauma during the late Oedipal and early latency years will have a superego that contains values and standards, yet he “will forever search for external idealizable objects from whom he needs to obtain the approval and leadership which his insufficiently idealized superego cannot provide.” (Kohut, 1971, p. 49. Allen M. Siegel, Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of the Self.