Freud distinguishes between three superimposed entities within all human beings: the ego, the id, and the super-ego. He defines the super-ego as the outcome of the Oedipus complex and the internalization of parental criticism. This is where the conscience and moral norms are situated. The ego is always involved in mediating between the demands of the super-ego and the drives. Freud locates these drives in the "id," stating that: "Where the id was, the ego shall be."
The treatment of a neurotic is mainly concerned with articulating the conflicts between these three entities. This is meant to bolster the ego's role as an intermediary. In the process, it is important to accentuate the impulses emanating from the "id" and to lower the demands of the super-ego. The more one gives in to the super-ego, the more unforgiving and nitpicking it becomes.
"I was keen to show the regular officers that people like me had not only learnt a good deal, but could stand a good deal too. One day we started on a short march and during a halt I lost my pince-nez (Zwicker)." In the course of analysis, it comes to light that an unconscious motif is concealed behind this loss: another word for pince-nez is Kneifer (quitter), and quitting is what the Rat Man wants to avoid at all costs. He wants to prove to himself and his father that he is a "real man." Since he does not want to be reminded of his father's accusation that he always quits, he loses his pince-nez.