Psychoanalytic View Of Personality
To explain personality which is the way people behave, think and feel, different theories have been put forward, and it is important to emphasize that one is not superior to the other. Therefore, it must be remembered that all of them are important in their own way and have a different view of personality development.
We will consider the leading name of this theory: Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that our childhood experiences and our unconscious mind have impacts on our personality development. In this theory, the observational bases of Freud are used mostly. He observed the consequences of Victorian society’s suppression and prohibition of sexuality in his female patients. And he first thought that personality could be divided into 3 parts: Id, Ego, Superego.
Id means ‘it’ in Latin culture. So, it is a pretty primitive part of personality. Freud believes that the id comes from birth. It has biological drives such as self-preservation, sex, hunger, etc. Superego can be considered as the internalized moral center. It is more likely to occur in pre-school ages in children because they learn the values and morals of the society in which they live. Superego may create conscience which means feeling guilty or moral anxiety when someone makes the wrong thing (according to society). Lastly, the ego is mostly conscious and rational. For instance, the ego can deny the id’s desires when these desires seem illogical. It can be said that the ego somehow balances the superego and the id.
After understanding these basic 3, Freud believed that personality development has 5 psychosexual stages. Before continuing with stages, firstly it must be understood what is fixation. Because while examining these stages, Freud used mostly the term Fixation.
Fixation: In one of the early stages of development, as a result of the unhealthy completion of the stage, the child is stuck with the behavior that is the source of pleasure. In the later stages of her life, she /he will have some behaviors as a result of this being stuck.
The first of the psychosexual stages is the Oral Stage. This stage happens in the first 18 months of the child. The conflict here occurs when the child begins to drink milk from another place rather than from the mother’s breast. The mouth is the erogenous zone, so if weaning (from the mother’s breast) is not done on time, there will be conflict over the person’s oral needs. When the person becomes an adult, some kind of behaviors such as smoking, talking too much, drinking too much, nail-biting can be observed (due to the fixation).
The second stage is the Anal Stage. It occurs in the period between 18 months and 36 months. The anus is erizone, so the source of conflict is toilet training. This period should not be overcome hard. With toilet training, the child learns to control himself/herself. If this period is experienced badly, excessive disorganization or meticulousness, stinginess and indecision can be observed in adulthood.
The third one is the Phallic Stage. It occurs in the period between 3rd age and 6th age. In this stage, the child becomes aware of him/her sexual organs. This phase is like discovery and awakening for the child. With this sexual awakening, a conflict called Oedipus Complex occurs according to Freud.
Oedipus Complex: It is the physical attraction or love that the boy begins to have towards the opposite-sex parent (mother), as well as the jealousy of the same-sex parent (father). This jealousy towards the father can turn into hatred, anxiety, or admiration over time.
Electra Complex: It is the physical attraction or love that the girl begins to have towards the opposite-sex parent (father). In that manner, she begins to envy her mother. She may harbor feelings of admiration and hatred towards her mother at the same time. The source of the hatred is that her mother gave birth to her without a penis. Freud argues that girls suppress this hatred by being with a man in the future and giving birth to a child.
If the Oedipus and Electra complex periods are overcome by experiencing problems, that is, by experiencing fixation, it is possible to observe cases of not being able to separate from the parents or wanting to separate from them completely in the future.
The fourth of the psychosexual stages is Latency Stage. It occurs during school years. Generally, boys play with boys; girls play with girls. Because in this stage, the sexual feelings of the child are repressed. The child develops more in social and intellectual areas. If fixation is experienced during this period, it may be observed that they will be too hardworking or too lazy in the future.
The last stage is the Genital Stage. The child feels sexual curiosity again. For a child, relations with the opposite sex develop. He/she can now be included in society in a more adult way.
After Freud’s contributions to psychoanalytic development of personality, some other psychoanalysts became neo-Freudians and contribute to this area. For instance, Carl Gustav Jung disagreed with Freud at the personal unconscious point. He argues that there is a collective unconscious that is shared by all members of society. After that, Alfred Adler argued that personality is more related to the defense mechanism of compensation which is one is superior to another according to birth order theory. Later, Karen Horney believed that the anxiety of a child is very important. According to him, if the parents do not treat the child with love, their future personalities may be adversely affected. Finally, Erik Erikson argued that social relationships very important at every stage of life and he developed another theory of development.
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