You are on page 1of 6

FREUDS THEORY OF PERSONALITY: THE PSYCHOANALYTIC LEGACY Freud is considered as one of the greatest thinkers of his time.

Even in modern day psychology, he is still considered the most influential in the field. Below are the Freudian concepts that every psych major like you must know. Some (or most) are unbelievable but at the same time cannot be dismissed easily. After reading this, see if you would appreciate Freud. Levels of Consciousness 1. Conscious level This contains whatever we are thinking about or experiencing at a given moment (All that our senses detect). All that are stored in the preconscious and repressed in the unconscious passed through the conscious level. It contains the Ego 2. Preconscious level This contains memories that are not part of current thoughts but can readily be available to mind if the need arises (equivalent to our memory). It is where memories and stored knowledge are stored. Its contains Superego 3. Unconscious level The bulk of the human mind that contains thoughts, desires, and impulses of which we remain largely unaware. Most of out unconscious thoughts were conscious but has been actively repressed-driven from consciousness because they were too anxiety provoking. It contains fears and violent motives, unacceptable sexual and immoral urges, irrational wishes and selfish needs, shameful experiences. These unconscious thoughts can come out through Freudian Structure of Personality When we were born, we already have our Ego and ID. That is why when we were still little children, we dont mind whether our actions were and good or bad. The Ego has no choice but to follow the Id. However, I think adults do not punish us severely when we did something wrong during our childhood years because they understand we are not yet that capable of determining good and bad behavior and not because they know we still dont have a superego (unless the parent is a psych major! ). So here are the structures: 1. Ego This mediates between id impulses and superego inhibitions. It determines who wins between the Id and Superego. It contains the reality principle and it is very rational and operates on the conscious level. 2. Superego It contains the ideals and morals. It is the conscience incorporated mostly from parents, school and society. The superego operates on the preconscious level. 3. Id This stores the basic impulses (sex and aggression) and it contains the pleasure principle--seeks immediate gratification. It is amoral, irrational and impulsive. It gets what it wants when it wants it. It operates in the unconscious level. Throughout history, the Id is always perceived as the bad guy in us while the Superego is the good one. It is understandable that both of them got these reputations but it is unfair to totally think that the Id is totally evil and the Superego is all good. There are times that we need to use our Id to for our own survival or for the survival of our love ones. The superego may not always be moral because not all the teachings of our parents, teachers and peers are correct. So, can you determine which of your structures is stronger? Are you an Id person or a superego person? Is it better for you to have a companion with a strong Id or strong superego? Psychosexual Stages of Personality Development According to Sigmund Freud, what we do and why we do it, who we are and how we became this way are all related to our sexual and aggressive drives. Differences in personalities originate in differences in childhood sexual experiences. Conflicts between the sexual and aggressive drives and rules of society are present in every stage. A proper resolution of the conflicts will lead the child to progress past one stage and move on to the next. Failure to achieve a proper resolution, however, will make the child fixated in the present stage. The latter is believed to be the cause of many personality and behavioral disorders. Freuds theory assumes that our childhood experiences will greatly influence our adult personality. Do you believe that? slips, dreams and irrational behaviors. It is also where the Id resides.

Key Concepts Libido sexual and aggressive urge that transfers to one erogenous zone to another Erogenous Zone part of the body where the libido is centered; part of the body that needs stimulation by engaging him/her in gratifying activities Fixation inability to proceed to the next stage due to frustration (under gratification) or over indulgence (over gratification); when we are fixated, we manifest certain behaviors that involve the erogenous zone and these behaviors will continue to manifest when we become adults, specially when we experience anxiety. Regression coping with anxiety by manifesting a childhood behavior that was learned from the previous stages 1. Oral Stage (Age: Birth - 1.5 yrs) Erogenous Zone in Focus: Mouth Gratifying Activities: Nursing - eating, as well as mouth movement, including sucking, gumming, biting and swallowing. Interaction with the Environment: To the infant, the mother's breast not only is the source of food and drink, but also represents her love. Because the child's personality is controlled by the id and therefore demands immediate gratification, responsive nurturing is key. Both insufficient and forceful feeding can result in fixation in this stage. Oral Fixation (The Getting personality)

Oral-Dependent Personality: If there is too much stimulation, the child may become very dependent, submissive, and uses his charms to get what he she wants. Oral-Aggressive Personality: If there is too little gratification, the child will be very aggressive and will get what he wants through force.

Symptoms of Oral Fixation: (if you manifest these symptoms, maybe you are orally fixated) Smoking Constant chewing on gum, pens, pencils, etc. Nail biting Overeating Drinking Sarcasm ("the biting personality") and verbal hostility

2. Anal Stage (Age 1.5 - 3) Erogenous Zone in Focus: Anus Gratifying Activities: Bowel movement and the withholding of such movement Interaction with the Environment: The major event at this stage is toilet training, a process through which children are taught when, where, and how excretion is deemed appropriate by society. Children at this stage start to notice the pleasure and displeasure associated with bowel movements. Through toilet training, they also discover their own ability to control such movements. Along with it comes the realization that this ability gives them power over their parents. That is, by exercising control over the retention and expulsion of feces, a child can choose to either grand or resist parents' wishes. Anal Fixation (the controlling personality)

Anal-Expulsive Personality: If the parents are too lenient and fail to instill the society's rules about bowel movement control, the child will derive pleasure and success from the expulsion. Individuals with a fixation on this mode of gratification are excessively sloppy, disorganized, reckless, careless, and defiant. Anal-Retentive Personality: If a child receives excessive pressure and punishment from parents during toilet training, he will experience anxiety over bowl movements and take pleasure in being able to withhold such functions. Individuals who fail to progress pass this stage are obsessively clean and orderly, and intolerant of those who aren't. They may also be very careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, conforming and passive-aggressive.

3. Phallic Stage (Age 4 - 5) Erogenous Zone in Focus: Genital Gratifying Activities: Masturbation and genital fondling Interaction with the Environment: This is probably the most challenging stage in a person's psychosexual development. The key event at this stage, according to Freud, is the child's feeling of attraction toward the parent of the opposite sex, together with envy and fear of the same-sex parent. In boys, this situation is called the "Oedipus Complex" (aka the Oedipal Complex), named after the young man in a Greek myth who killed his father and married his mother, unaware of their true identities. In girls, it is called the "Electra Complex". Boys, in the midst of their Oedipus Complex, often experience intense "castration anxiety", which comes from the fear of punishment from the fathers for their desire for the mothers. Girls' Electra Complex involves "penis envy". That is, according to Freud, the girl believes that she once had a penis but that it was removed. In order to compensate for its loss, the girl wants to have a child by her father. Success or failure in the Oedipus conflict is at the core of either normal psychological development or psychological disorder. If a child is able to successfully resolve the conflict, he or she will have learnt to control their envy and hostility and begin to identify with and model after the parent of their own sex, and are ready to move on to the next developmental stage. Phallic Fixation: For men: Anxiety and guilty feelings about sex, fear of castration, and narcissistic personality. They manifests traces of Oedipal complex (Mamas boy) Need to protect macho image For women: It is implied that women never progress past this stage fully and will always maintain a sense of envy and inferiority, although Freud asserted no certainty regarding women's possible fixations resulting from this stage. Similarly, Freud admitted uncertainty on the females' situation when he constructed the "penis envy" theory in the first place. Seduces and flirts men but will not commit (they make men fall in love with them then leaves them 4. Latency (Age 5 - puberty) Erogenous Zone in Focus: None Interactions with the Environment: This is a period during which sexual feelings are suppressed to allow children to focus their energy on other aspects of life. This is a time of learning, adjusting to the social environment outside of home, absorbing the culture, forming beliefs and values, developing same-sex friendships, engaging in sports, etc. This period of sexual latency lasts five to six years, until puberty, upon which children become capable of reproduction, and their sexuality is re-awakened. Some psychoanalysts also call this as the sublimation stage because our sexual and aggressive urges are translated to socially accepted activities. 5. Genital Stage (From puberty on)

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Genital Gratifying Activities: Masturbation and heterosexual relationships Interaction with the Environment: This stage is marked by a renewed sexual interest and desire, and the pursuit of relationships. Fixations: This stage does not cause any fixation. According to Freud, if people experience difficulties at this stage, and many people do, the damage was done in earlier oral, anal, and phallic stages. These people come into this last stage of development with fixations from earlier stages. For example, attractions to the opposite sex can be a source of anxiety at this stage if the person has not successfully resolved the Oedipal (or Electra) conflict at the phallic stage.

Anxiety All of us have sexual drive (Eros or life instinctinstinct to create life for the survival of the species) and aggressive drive (Thanatos or death instinctinstinct to destroy life). We need to attend to our sexual and aggressive drives that are usually fueled by the Id. However, because of the superego, the Id could not easily operate. This leads to anxiety. So to protect ego from anxiety, we use defense mechanisms. Ego defense mechanisms Repression what you dont know wont hurt you Mother of all defense mechanisms Pushing conscious unpleasant thoughts to the unconscious a. Unexplained phobias caused by trauma b. Vague reports by rape victims to crime investigators c. Psychological amnesia and dissosiative disorders Denial Youve gotta be kiddin me! Refusing to accept painful reality (the truth hurts) Almost like a reflex Unconscious, unlike lying which is conscious a. You do have a crush on him!NO! I DONT! b. Our friend died yesterday!YOURE JOKING! c. We are just good friends d. I dont like ballroom dancing Healthy denial (conscious of the cause but not the behavior) a. Disabilities b. Deaths of a significant other Reaction Formation the more you hate, the more you love Doing consciously the opposite of what the unconscious feels Putting actions to your denial a. Being rude to someone you unconsciously like or the other way around b. Being homophobic because you deny you are a gay c. Being so religious and proper but deep inside your libido overflows d. Acting as if you are an independent person but actually your heart shouts How can I live without you Projection Look whos talking Transferring unacceptable thoughts to others Why are you mad at me? You are so green minded! Serve the food because they are already hungry! You have a crush on her!

ii.

iii.

Be aware of counter projections What about fishing? Do you think it is a type of defense mechanism?

Regression Childhood is good place to hide from danger Going back to childhood behaviors when faced with anxiety a. Crying, tantrums, silent treatment, impulsive verbal remarks b. Playing games when stressed Displacement Pick someone your own size! Redirection of emotion from a higher status person to a lower status person, object or animal Shouting at your little brother after being reprimanded by your father Sublimation This is not a sin! This is art! Express sexual or aggressive urges in a socially acceptable way Enroll or pose in a nude art class Play basketball and release aggression Some psychoanalysts believe that everything we do with passion is a form of sublimation even if it is not sexually or aggressive and nature. This is developed during the latency stage. Compensation Im bigger than my body Turning deficits to excess to hide insecurity Giving a verbal resume to show you are good Narcissistic behaviors Rationalization When it comes to feelings, even the wisest man may give the dumbest reason Justifying a regretful behavior or event o Sour-graping Making a negative justification to an event or behavior that is already negative She dumped me. But its totally fine. She isnt pretty anyway. o Sweet-lemoning Justification by creating a false brighter side She dumped me. But its totally fine. Its fun to be single! o Intellectualization Using logic rather than emotions to make it less painful (cheating) Everyone does it anyway. (after a failure) I am only human. Its better that we are apart. We can grow professionally. Philisophizing Promises are made to be broken Time is gold o Isolation Separate act from emotion A man caught committing adultery o It was only sex! Not making love! Father punishing a son o I spank you because you deserved it. Not because I do not love you. Man wanting to break up with lover o I still love you. Its just that we grew apart! o Its not you. Its me. o I need to fight my personal battle. o False humility (modesty) Not accepting compliments by giving other reasons You look handsome tonight It must be the new clothes.

Undoing Just press Ctrl+Z or click the undo button Canceling out a bad act by doing good o Buying flowers for your girlfriend after having a coffee with your ex-girlfriend. o Acting like a saint because you came from a family of corrupt politicians Identification If you cant beat them, join them! Associating self with those who possess the trait you desire (which you cannot achieve) o You want to look smartjoin the smart club! So what is your most common defense mechanism? Remember that for a while, defense mechanisms keep us from being insane but we should not make it a habit to use them.