You may have heard the term ‘ego-syntonic’ and ‘ego-dystonic’, so, first, they may seem like two very difficult terms to understand but in reality they are terms that must be understood to know how we ourselves or others connect with the world that surround them (or do not connect). The same name tells us what each thing means and what it can refer to in people.
When we talk about an ego-syntonic person it means that he is well with himself, that he is in tune with his self (ego-tuning). They may have a disorder but that does not because those suffering towards themselves, since people who have an ego-syntonic disorder usually harm people around them.
Then, at the other extreme we find people who are ego-dystonic or who suffer from an ego-dystonic disorder. These people are not in tune with themselves which means that their pathology generates internal suffering, but they do not generate so much damage to their environment. This person may be more aware that he has a problem than his opposite partners, people with ego-syntonic disorders.
Ego-syntonic disorder vs ego-dystonic disorder
As you can see by reading the previous paragraphs, these two terms are used above all to describe how a person perceives himself (thoughts, behaviors, circumstances in life, etc). But they are not only disorders, a person who has a characteristic of ego-syntonic personality is when this person does not feel discomfort when facing situations or problems. Instead, a person with an ego-dystonic personality characteristic lives life with constant discomfort.
People who suffer from a disorder are not always aware that their behavior or attitude to face various situations can cause problems such as conflict, anxiety, depression and even ruptures in interpersonal relationships.
When to ask for psychological help
A person with these types of disorders only ventures to ask for psychological help when they begin to notice how the symptoms of their disorder cause them discomfort. Normally, ego-syntonic people do not seek to change because they do not believe they need it, but ego-dystonic people do tend to end up asking for help because they realize that there is something that is not going well with them.
Psychologists before treating such people will take into account a multitude of factors, such as social supports that count, social skills, whether or not they have anxiety, if they are aware of what happens to them, how is that person’s ego, etc. Each person is a totally different world and you cannot perform the same treatment at all equally, you have to look for the characteristics of the person and then (only then), assess what would be the best therapy for these people.
For the process of change the person needs to feel the discomfort, if you do not do it it is very complicated that he has the real will to do things differently. Although the discomfort should be moderate since if the person feels too anxious it can be emotionally blocked and that the changes occur too slowly or that they do not occur because of their internal blockage. If there are no internal discomforts or they are too mild, then the person will adjust to their situation and will not believe that they really need a change to improve their quality of life and emotional well-being.
The experiences lived make a difference
Depending on the person’s experiences, the symptoms of the disorder can be perceived as ego-syntonic or ego-dystonic. Homosexuality, personal or labor conflicts … everything can make experiences be perceived in different ways depending on the context or feelings that the person has, as well as their particular behavior.
Maybe a person wants to live in calm and emotional well-being and that is his only goal, but perhaps the changes he wants to make in his life to achieve it are the real focus of his discomfort (for example, a person who lives well-off in a city with a demanding job but that gives him money to live well, he wants to leave work to move to a quiet place without always having to deal with work stress).