How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Freud's Psychosexual Stage Theory
Sigmund Freud developed a theory of how our sexuality starts from a very young ages and develops through various fixations. If these stages are not psychologically completed and released, we can be trapped by them and they may lead to various defense mechanisms to avoid the anxiety produced from the conflict in and leaving of the stage.
Strong conflict can fixate people at early stages.
Oral fixation has two possible outcomes.
Anal fixation, which may be caused by too much punishment during toilet training, has two possible outcomes.
At the age of 5 or 6, near the end of the phallic stage, boys experience the Oedipus Complex whilst girls experience the Electra conflict, which is a process through which they learn to identify with the same gender parent by acting as much like that parent as possible.
Boys suffer a castration anxiety, where the son believes his father knows about his desire for his mother and hence fears his father will castrate him. He thus represses his desire and defensively identifies with his father.
Girls suffer a penis envy, where the daughter is initially attached to her mother, but then a shift of attachment occurs when she realizes she lacks a penis. She desires her father whom she sees as a means to obtain a penis substitute (a child). She then represses her desire for her father and incorporates the values of her mother and accepts her inherent 'inferiority' in society.
This is Freud, remember. He later also recanted, noting that perhaps he had placed too much emphasis on sexual connotations.
Freud's theories are largely criticized now as lacking in substantial corroborative data. He was, however, using a model to describe observed behavior. His ideas may thus still be used as metaphors for actual developmental issues.
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