Do you know what people mean when they describe someone as being oral or anal? Many times I have heard someone describe a co-worker as being anal and I wasn’t quite sure what type of personality that would be.
Recently, I was going through a psychology text and I found the answer to my question. This chapter was about various personality types . Listed were five stages that an individual goes through in their early developmental stages of life. Since the oral personality and the anal individual are the most commonly used, I will impart this information about these types of individuals.
The first stage is the oral stage. According to Freud, an infant is born with the desire for physical pleasure, which is focused on the mouth region. If you’ve raised children, you will remember that it is at this stage that the infant spends much of his/her time sucking, eating and biting. Freud states that behavior focused on the mouth is a source of sexual pleasure.
An infant can remain fixated on this stage if the mother overindulges her infant’s sucking desire. If she constantly feeds this infant on demand, this over indulgence develops into an oral personality. Freud makes a further statement that this overindulgence creates an adult who admires strength and leadership, but generally will not take a leadership role. Instead she/he will love to boss people for no apparent reason.
On the other hand, Freud states that if the mother is under indulgent and abruptly weans the infant, this infant will grow up to be aggressive, a sadistic person, who exploits others for his or her own benefit. Orally fixated people may also spend much of their later life centered around the mouth area. This can be seen in people who are constantly eating, smoking, or spending a great deal of their time talking. Do you know anyone who fits this category? I know people who fall into this category, but since I didn’t know them as an infant, I have no way of testing this theory, so I’ll leave it up to Freud.
Now we come to the anal stage. This is the type we hear about so much. Let’s see what Freud has to say about this type of individual when growing up. During the second and third years, the child enters the anal stage. This is when the pleasure shifts from the mouth to the anal area. It is during this period when the child faces toilet training. A battle between the parents and the child occur during this time. The parents try to force the child to control his or her bowels so that the toilet can be used instead of continually depending on diapers. It’s at this stage when the child resists and strives to be independent. The child takes a negative attitude towards the parents and is determined to do just the opposite of the parents’ wishes. If this type of behavior persists for any length of time, this child grows up to be compulsively neat or stingy or rebellious and messy. Does this type of behavior sound like anyone you know?
I have no proof of knowing how valid Freud’s statements are, but I can prove his penis envy theory which occurs during the Phallic Stage. This is the stage when a child is around four years of age and discovers his or her genital organs. When my daughter was about four years old, she wanted to go to the bathroom to see her little male friend. The look on her face was that of immense surprise when she saw him standing at the toilet. This was her first experience seeing a little boy going to the toilet. The next day, she took out a little toy knife and pretended she was cutting off her doll’s penis. (of course, dolls don’t have penises anyways). She said, “I’m cutting off your penis, so there!!!!! I said to myself, by golly Freud, you are so right!!!!!
We can either accept Freud’s theories or not. We’re all entitled to our own beliefs