OralThe oral stage begins at birth, when the oral cavity is the primary focus. Achild is preoccupied with nursing, with the pleasure of sucking and puttingthings into the mouth.The oral character at this stage is frustrated because its mother refused tonurse on demand or who truncated nursing sessions early. This Stage ischaracterized by pessimism, envy, suspicion and sarcasm.The overindulged oral character whose nursing urges were always andoften excessively satisfied, is optimistic, gullible, and is full of admirationfor others around him.The stage culminates in the primary conflict of weaning, which deprives achild of the sensory pleasures of nursing and of the psychological pleasureof being cared and/or held.This stage lasts one and one-half years.
AnalWith the advent of toilet training comes the child’s obsession with the erogenous zone of the anusand with the retention or expulsion of body waste. This represents the practical and societalpressures to control body functions.A child meets the conflict between the parent’s demands and the child’s desires and physicalcapabilities in one of two ways: Either he puts up a fight or he simply refuses to go. The child whowants to fight takes pleasure in malicious excreting, often just before or just after being placed on thetoilet.If the parents are too lenient and the child manages to derive pleasure and success from thisexpulsion, it will result in the formation of an anal expulsive character. This character is generallymessy, disorganized, reckless, careless, and defiant. Conversely, a child may opt to retain bodywastes to spite parents while at the same time, enjoying the pleasurable pressure of the built-up fecesin the intestine.If the latter succeeds and a child is overindulged, he/she will develop into an anal retentivecharacter. This character isneat, precise, orderly, careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, and passive-aggressive.The resolution of the anal stage, proper toilet training, permanently affects the individualpropensities to possession and attitudes towards authority.This stage lasts from one and one-half to two years.
PhallicThe phallic stage is the setting for the greatest, most crucial sexual conflict inFreud’s model of development. In this stage, the child’s erogenous zone is thegenital region. As the child becomes more interested in his genitals, and in thegenitals of others, conflict arises. The conflict is labeled as an Oedipus complex formales and an Electra complex for women and involves a child’s unconscious desireto selfishly possess the opposite-sexed parent and to eliminate the same-sexed one.In the young male, the Oedipus conflict stems from his natural love for his mother,a love which becomes sexual as his libidal energy transfers from the anal region tohis genitals. Unfortunately for the boy, his father stands in the way of this love. Theboy therefore feels aggression and envy towards this rival, his father, and also feelsfear that the father will strike back at him. As the boy has noticed that women, hismother in particular, have no penises, he is struck by a great fear that his father willremove his penis, too. This castration anxiety outstrips his desire for his mother, sohe represses the desire. Moreover, although the boy sees that though he cannotposses his mother, because his father does, he can posses her vicariously byidentifying with his father and becoming as much like him as possible.
Phallic (cont’d)the Electra complex has its roots in a little girl’s discovery that she, alongwith her mother and all other women, lack the penis which her father andother men posses. as she yearns for a penis of her own, she comes to blameher mother for her perceived castration, and is struck by penis envy, theapparent counterpart to the boy’s castration anxiety. Freud stated that thistype of resolution comes much later and is never truly complete. Just as theboy learned his sexual role by identifying with his father, so the girl learnsher role by identifying with her mother in an attempt to posses her fathervicariously.Fixation at the phallic stage develops a phallic character, who isreckless, resolute, self-assured, and narcissistic--excessively vain andproud. The failure to resolve the conflict can also cause a person to beafraid or incapable of close love. Freud also postulated that fixation couldbe a root cause of homosexuality.
LatentThe resolution of the phallic stage leads to the latencyperiod, which is not a psychosexual stage ofdevelopment, but a period in which the sexual drivelies dormant. Freud saw latency as a period ofunparalleled repression of sexual desires anderogenous impulses. During the latencyperiod, children pour this repressed libidal energyinto asexual pursuits such as school, athletics, andsame-sex friendships. But soon puberty strikes, andthe genitals once again become a central focus oflibidal energy.
GenitalIn the genital stage, as a child’s energy once againfocuses on his genitals, interest turns toheterosexual relationships. The less energy thechild has left invested in unresolved psychosexualdevelopments, the greater his capacity will be todevelop normal relationships with the oppositesex. If, however, he remains fixated, particularlyon the phallic stage, his development will betroubled as he struggles with further repressionand defenses.
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