Frugality, punctuality, meticulousness, sadistic rage, problems with control, submission, and defiance are common in people fixated at the anal stage. Because of their use of reaction formation, these characteristics may exist side-by-side with their opposites. In psychoanalytic theory, fixation at any stage of early development is believed to lead to particular personality characteristics. The fixation may occur either because of excessive gratification or because of deprivation, as experienced by the child in terms of his individual needs.
Freudian theory is a set of propositions about human personality and behavior derived from observations of patients engaged in FREE ASSOCIATION at a time in history when the expression of sexuality was normally repressed. Such expression, often in symbolic form, convinced Freud that sex was at the basis of most psychopathology. He asserted that the uncovering of repressed unpleasant early experiences would disperse the psychopathology, which he claimed they had caused. He proposed arbitrary divisions of the mind into SUPEREGO, EGO, and ID. He asserted that infants pass through three stages- oral (birth to 18 months), anal (2-5 years) and phallic (5 years onward), and that the personality could be fixed at any of these stages with serious consequences, curable only by psychoanalysis. He proposed the OEDIPUS COMPLEX and the castration complex. Freud's ideas and discoveries continue to have wide influence, but are not now generally believed to have any scientific basis. There is little convincing evidence that the application of his theories in psychoanalysis has any specific value in the treatment of psychological disturbance.