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Ego-dystonic is a psychological term referring to behaviors, e.g. dreams,impulses, compulsions desires, which are in conflict with the needs and goals of the ego, or in conflict with one's ideal self-image.

Obsesional behaviour in obsessive compulsive disorder, in that it is experienced as discordant with the whole personality, is ego-dystonic. In other areas where people perform behaviours they feel are alien and repugnant (eg bulimia, sometimes homosexuality) these too are ego-dystonic

The term was first proposed by Freud in his book On Narcissism which he published in 1914. He returned to the theme again in 1923

It is the opposite of ego-syntonic.

See also


  • Freud, S (1914). On narcissism: An Introduction. (Standard edition XIV pp73-102).
  • Freud, S (1923).(Standard edition XVIII pp235-259).