Anal character. Anal expulsive and anal retentive personalities are forms of sadistic and rigid personality that are associated with the psychoanalytic theory of personality development. Each body part — mouth, anus, and genitals for the oral, anal, and phallic stages, respectively — provides a source of bodily pleasure as well as a set of developmental challenges for the child to master. If the child encounters difficulties in a particular stage, perhaps because of conflicts with parents or others that arise from expressing or inhibiting its desires, a fixation may result. Fixations at a developmental stage create points of vulnerability in later life. The insufficiently resolved psychosexual stage may leave its mark on adult personality and create vulnerability for particular Skip to main content Skip to table of contents.
Psychological Fixations and How They Develop
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Anal Expulsive/Anal Retentive Personality
These fixations occur when an issue or conflict in a psychosexual stage remains unresolved, leaving the individual focused on this stage and unable to move onto the next. For example, individuals with oral fixations may have problems with drinking, smoking, eating, or nail biting. During the anal stage, for example, a child supposedly gains a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment by controlling his or her bladder and bowel movements.
The term anal expulsive refers to a personality trait present in people fixated in the anal stage of psychosexual development. Sigmund Freud proposed that during the anal stage, the primary zone of pleasure shifts from the mouth to the anus. For a child in this stage of development, control of bowel movements is the primary source of pleasure.