Previously published in Examiner
Continuing with a simplification of Freud’s theory of Personality
Freud postulated that we all progress through the different stages of development and sometimes we get stuck in a certain stage if our needs were not met at the stage. This is what he called a fixation. Adults who did not successfully move on from the oral stage in life, for different reasons; perhaps because they were not given enough food as a child, or they were not bottle fed long enough and so on may develop an oral fixation. These people will show the need to use their mouth and the sensations that come from it. excessively later on in life. For example, they become nail biters, smokers, drinkers, or have a fixation on food.
Anal Stage – second stage in Freud’s psychosexual theory
The second stage of personality development by Dr. Freud was the anal stage. This is at the time when the toddler is being toilet trained. How toilet training is effectively done will have a bearing on the development of the personality. If the child is supported, he or she will grow up with a good personality and be well balanced, but if the parents are too strict or too lenient with toilet training the personality will suffer for it.
If the parents were too lenient then the child will grow up to be a messy person, they could be wasteful, and even destructive. Freud called this the anal-expulsive personality.
On the other hand, if they are too strict the child will feel shamed and embarrassed and grow up with an anal-retentive personality where he or she will be too orderly, (neat freak), very rigid in thoughts and behavior, obsessive, not easily able to try new things or enjoy life without taking it too seriously all the time.
The third stage is the phallic stage. This is the stage that is most controversial. In this stage Freud contended that little boys are jealous of their fathers and little girls grow up to envy men and wish they were men. This theory led to his famous penis envy theory. As you can imagine this theory has never held well among women.
To be continued
Montreal psychologist and mental health center
Lisa Santa-Maria Barbagallo
Queen Elizabeth Health Complex
Montréal, QC H4A 3L6