Book Definition: Freud's assumption that all our mental and behavioral responses are caused by unconscious traumas, desires, or conflicts.

In Your Own Words


  • All of our actions and thoughts are caused by the unconscious.
  • A response caused by a trauma someone has experienced.

Examples/Functions


  • If someone is highly aggressive, they may be a war veteran.
  • If you were to witness an attack on one of your family members and you meet the attacker later in your life then you would remember that time and it may make you want to get revenge on the person.
  • In past relationships, you haven't been taken seriously or the other person wasn't committed, and thus you decide to give up on committed relationships with others.
  • I am DETERMINED to not make the same mistake.
  • Remembering during your childhood you saw your mother snort crack and drink alcohol. Later in life you decide to try it because your mother used to do it.

Additional Resources


  1. http://changingminds.org/disciplines/psychoanalysis/concepts/life_death_drives.htm