Freud believed that personality developed through a series of childhood stages in which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas. An erogenous zone is characterized as an area of the body that is particularly sensitive to stimulation.
During the five psychosexual stages, which are the oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital stages, the erogenous zone associated with each stage serves as a source of pleasure.
The psychosexual energy, or libido, was described as the driving force behind behavior.
Psychoanalytic theory suggested that personality is mostly established by the age of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behavior later in life.
Each stage of development is marked by conflicts that can help build growth or stifle development, depending upon how they are resolved. If these psychosexual stages are completed successfully, a healthy personality is the result.
If certain issues are not resolved at the appropriate stage, fixations can occur. A fixation is a persistent focus on an earlier psychosexual stage. Until this conflict is resolved, the individual will remain "stuck" in this stage. A person who is fixated at the oral stage, for example, may be over-dependent on others and may seek oral stimulation through smoking, drinking, or eating.
During the oral stage, the infant's primary source of interaction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and sucking reflex is especially important. The mouth is vital for eating, and the infant derives pleasure from oral stimulation through gratifying activities such as tasting and sucking.
Because the infant is entirely dependent upon caretakers (who are responsible for feeding the child), the child also develops a sense of trust and comfort through this oral stimulation.
The primary conflict at this stage is the weaning process--the child must become less dependent upon caretakers. If fixation occurs at this stage, Freud believed the individual would have issues with dependency or aggression. Oral fixation can result in problems with drinking, eating, smoking, or nail-biting.
During the anal stage, Freud believed that the primary focus of the libido was on controlling bladder and bowel movements. The major conflict at this stage is toilet training—the child has to learn to control their bodily needs. Developing this control leads to a sense of accomplishment and independence.
According to Freud, success at this stage is dependent upon the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parents who utilize praise and rewards for using the toilet at the appropriate time encourage positive outcomes and help children feel capable and productive.
Freud believed that positive experiences during the toilet training stage serve as the basis for people to become competent, productive, and creative adults.
However, not all parents provide the support and encouragement that children need during this stage. Some parents punish, ridicule, or shame a child for accidents.
According to Freud, inappropriate parental responses can result in negative outcomes. If parents take an approach that is too lenient, Freud suggested that an anal-expulsive personality could develop in which the individual has a messy, wasteful, or destructive personality.
If parents are too strict or begin toilet training too early, Freud believed that an anal-retentive personality develops in which the individual is stringent, orderly, rigid, and obsessive.
Freud suggested that during the phallic stage, the primary focus of the libido is on the genitals. At this age, children also begin to discover the differences between males and females.
Freud also believed that boys begin to view their fathers as a rival for the mother’s affections. The Oedipus complex describes these feelings of wanting to possess the mother and the desire to replace the father. However, the child also fears that he will be punished by the father for these feelings, a fear Freud termed castration anxiety.
The term Electra complex has been used to describe a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Freud, however, believed that girls instead experience penis envy.
Eventually, the child begins to identify with the same-sex parent as a means of vicariously possessing the other parent. For girls, however, Freud believed that penis envy was never fully resolved and that all women remain somewhat fixated on this stage.
Psychologists such as Karen Horney disputed this theory, calling it both inaccurate and demeaning to women. Instead, Horney proposed that men experience feelings of inferiority because they cannot give birth to children, a concept she referred to as womb envy.
During this stage, the superego continues to develop while the id's energies are suppressed. Children develop social skills, values and relationships with peers and adults outside of the family.
The development of the ego and superego contribute to this period of calm. The stage begins around the time that children enter into school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies, and other interests.
The latent period is a time of exploration in which the sexual energy repressed or dormant. This energy is still present, but it is sublimated into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important in the development of social and communication skills and self-confidence.
As with the other psychosexual stages, Freud believed that it was possible for children to become fixated or "stuck" in this phase. Fixation at this stage can result in immaturity and an inability to form fulfilling relationships as an adult.
The onset of puberty causes the libido to become active once again. During the final stage of psychosexual development, the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. This stage begins during puberty but last throughout the rest of a person's life.
Where in earlier stages the focus was solely on individual needs, interest in the welfare of others grows during this stage. The goal of this stage is to establish a balance between the various life areas.
If the other stages have been completed successfully, the individual should now be well-balanced, warm, and caring.
Unlike the many of the earlier stages of development, Freud believed that the ego and superego were fully formed and functioning at this point. Younger children are ruled by the id, which demands immediate satisfaction of the most basic needs and wants.
Teens in the genital stage of development are able to balance their most basic urges against the need to conform to the demands of reality and social norms.
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst
Understanding the differences between covert and overt abuse
"I am the son of a narcissistic mother. Everything said in this video is quite accurate. I was entangled in a very unhealthy relationship with my mother."
The son rejects his non-narcissistic father so completely due to the overpowering fake love relationship he has with his mother.
Sigmund Freud chose the term Oedipus Complex to designate a son’s feeling of love toward his mother and of jealousy and hate toward his father
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