An Introduction to Theories of Personality: 6th Edition by Robert B. Ewen

By Robert B. Ewen

First released in 2009. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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9–11, 14). Forgetting (or arriving late at) an appointment or college examination happens for definite reasons. The explanation of these parapraxes may be fairly simple, such as anger at the person to be met or fear of failing the exam. The causes of important psychic phenomena, however, are usually numerous (overdetermined) and more complicated. For example, the forgetful student may also be motivated by an unconscious wish to punish parents who are applying too much pressure to excel—and to punish herself because she feels guilty about her strong hostility toward them.

During the first 12 to 18 months of life, the infant’s sexual desires center around the oral region (mouth, tongue, and lips). Sucking at the breast or bottle provides not only nourishment, but erotic pleasure as well: Primarily, of course, [oral] satisfaction serves the purpose of self-preservation by means of nourishment; but physiology should not be confused with psychology. … No one who has seen a baby sinking back satiated from the breast and falling asleep with flushed cheeks and a blissful smile can escape the reflection that this picture persists as a prototype of the expression of sexual satisfaction in later life.

Repressed material is not affected by experience, since it is under the aegis of the id. So it remains at a childish level, which makes immature behavior more likely (such as a temper tantrum by an adult). And since repressions operate unconsciously, they cannot be undone when they are no longer needed. Self-deception provides relief, but at a price: an inability to perceive that the danger has disappeared, or that one is now old enough to deal with it effectively. Childhood repressions therefore persist into adolescence and adulthood, where they prevent true self-knowledge and may even lead to the development of troublesome neurotic symptoms.

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