By Osarennoma Ogbeide

There are many things that happen which we think are just coincidental or things that happen by chance; and it’s most definitely not always “village people”. Sometimes these little things have psychological explanations to them.

Take for instance, people that talk too much or just always have the urge to put something in their mouth, be it a pen cover or their nails. The common thing here is the need to always keep the mouth busy. Psychology’s founding father, Sigmund Freud, propounded some developmental stages that all individuals go through which is pivotal in shaping the personality.

When the conflict at each stage is not properly resolved or overcome, a fixation occurs and it manifests at a later time in life. We then see people doing things they ought to have overcome at a younger stage e.g. thumb sucking.

The oral stage is where gratification is in the mouth and the desire to put things in the mouth. This usually takes place from birth till 18 months. Little wonder why babies can eat or chew on anything. One who is fixated at the oral stage may be a talkative, eat too much and basically engage in activities that involve excess use of oral stimulation like smoking or drinking.

The anal stage is the one where pleasure is in defecating. It is at this point that there is toilet training, from the age of 18 months to 2 years. One who has a fixation here could still be bed wetting or live a sloppy lifestyle.

The phallic stage, from 3-5 years is when pleasure is at the genitals. It is here that children experience the Oedipus and Electra complex. The Oedipus complex is experienced by the boys where they see their father as a competition for the mother’s attention; hence they become attached to their mother. On the other hand for the girls, they perceive their mothers as rivals and become attached to their father. This eventually leads to the common “mama’s boy” or “daddy’s girl” that we hear often.

Latency stage, from 5 years to puberty is a stage of rest, just as the name implies. Finally, the genital stage is where one becomes aware of the opposite gender and begins to develop intimate relationships.

These are just highlights of each stage and there are even more theories and developmental proponents that widely explain our personalities and beaviours in the long run.  It is important to know these things because even the most little things have psychological explanations.

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