The anal stage in psychology is the term used by Sigmund Freud to describe the development during the second year of life, in which a child's pleasure and conflict centers are in the anal area. This stage is exemplified by a toddler's pleasure in controlling his or her bowels. This is second of Freud's psychosexual stages. According to Freud's theories, inability to resolve the conflicts of this stage may cause anal retentive or anal expulsive fixations.
As the physical ability to control the sphincter matures (2-3 years of age), the child's attention shifts from the oral to the anal zone.
This change provides further outlets for libidinal gratification (anal erotism) and for the emerging aggressive drive (anal sadism).
The concept of fixation kicks in here. When there is excessive gratification in this stage, it leads to the development of extremely generous, unorganized personalities. When gratification does not occur, the individual becomes extremely organized.
Anal fixation, which may be caused by too much punishment during toilet training, has two possible outcomes.
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