todealornot

The Psychology of The Business Mind-Set

In Readers Choice on September 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm
Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

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Freud’s Psychosexual Stages of Development

According to Sigmund Freud, what we do and why we do it, who we are and how we became this way are all related to our sexual drive. Differences in personalities originate in differences in childhood sexual experiences. In the Freudian psychoanalytical model, child personality development is discussed in terms of “psychosexual stages”. In his “Three Essays on Sexuality” (1915), Freud outlined five stages of manifestations of the sexual drive: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency, and Genital. At each stage, different areas of the child’s body become the focus of his pleasure and the dominant source of sexual arousal. Differences in satisfying the sexual urges at each stage will inevitably lead to differences in adult personalities. Conflicts between the sex drive and rules of society are present at every stage. A proper resolution of the conflicts will lead the child to progress past one stage and move on to the next. Failure to achieve a proper resolution, however, will make the child fixated in the present stage. The latter is believed to be the cause of many personality and behavioral disorders.

1. Oral Stage (Age 0 – 1.5)

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Mouth

Gratifying Activities: Nursing – eating, as well as mouth movement, including sucking, gumming, biting and swallowing.

Interaction with the Environment: To the infant, the mother’s breast not only is the source of food and drink, but also represents her love. Because the child’s personality is controlled by the id and therefore demands immediate gratification, responsive nurturing is key. Both insufficient and forceful feeding can result in fixation in this stage.

Symptoms of Oral Fixation:

  • Smoking
  • Constant chewing on gum, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Nail biting
  • Overeating
  • Drinking
  • Sarcasm (“the biting personality”) and verbal hostility


2. Anal Stage (Age 1.5 – 3)

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Anus

Gratifying Activities: Bowel movement and the withholding of such movement

Interaction with the Environment: The major event at this stage is toilet training, a process through which children are taught when, where, and how excretion is deemed appropriate by society. Children at this stage start to notice the pleasure and displeasure associated with bowel movements. Through toilet training, they also discover their own ability to control such movements. Along with it comes the realization that this ability gives them power over their parents. That is, by exercising control over the retention and expulsion of feces, a child can choose to either grand or resist parents’ wishes.

Anal Fixation

  • Anal-Expulsive Personality: If the parents are too lenient and fail to instill the society’s rules about bowel movement control, the child will derive pleasure and success from the expulsion. Individuals with a fixation on this mode of gratification are excessively sloppy, disorganized, reckless, careless, and defiant.
  • Anal-Retentive Personality: If a child receives excessive pressure and punishment from parents during toilet training, he will experience anxiety over bowl movements and take pleasure in being able to withhold such functions. Individuals who fail to progress pass this stage are obsessively clean and
  • orderly, and intolerant of those who aren’t. They may also be very careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, conforming and passive-aggressive.
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