Formation of the oral nature - Psychoanalysis. T...

Formation of oral nature

Some analysts believe that early weaning (deprivation) gives birth in the mouth of an "oral" propensity to pessimism and even sadism. The bearers of such an oral-sadistic component are aggressive and show sarcasm in relations between people. They constantly demand satisfaction, literally suck their neighbors, sincerely believing that they are obliged to realize their claims.

Let's give the word to one of my patients: "After listening to several lectures on different types of character, I decided that I'm a classic oral type."

1. My mother nursed me for 1.5 months. Then she started mastitis. She was seriously treated, but I was already fed from a bottle. When I was six months old, my mother took me to her grandmother in the Ukraine to the village. At that time my father was 21 years old, and my mother was 25 years old. It worked until I was born. There was not enough money, it was necessary to return to work, and all relatives were far away. While my father defended his diploma and got a job, I lived with my grandmother. When my mother came for me, I was lying in the stroller all smeared. Grandmother worked in the garden. I can imagine how much I needed to cry and scream. I was immediately taken to Moscow. I was a quiet child, unlike my younger sister (she is four years younger than me). I cried at night very rarely, but as soon as my mother said: "Ts-s-s!", As I fell silent and cried silently. I have retained this ability to this day. I started walking, talking, reading early. My parents worked with me, played, read. I was sent to a nursery early, then I went to a kindergarten.

Dad was closer to me than my mother. Since childhood, I have been stubborn. For example, when my mother tried to bring me from the street to the apartment, I slipped and walked by myself. Every summer, I and my parents went to the Kuban. Papa's father and mother live there. I really liked it there, because I was left to myself. The most terrible dream from childhood: the train leaves, and the parents stay on the platform, and I'm leaving alone, or, conversely, I stay. In fear, I woke up. It was like an obsession. Often I saw in a dream, as I fall from a cliff, but I never managed to fly to the abyss: I woke up ...

2. Since childhood, I am very amorous. I liked (still love) to fantasize: how it would be nice if ... If fantasies were not realized, the mood fell sharply ... At school, often falling in love meekly. Although it was the other way around. Before going to bed, I like to dream about something. Usually the thoughts in my head go astray, it's hard to concentrate.

3. I want to have a baby, but I'm always afraid that I will not have enough money to give him everything I need. It's interesting about stinginess: I can buy an expensive thing, but for a cheap money I'll regret it. I do not like when my sister wears my things.

4. I feel that I do not have enough energy. I like to sit alone at home. It is better to lie down, sleep or read. I'm tired. In the winter I freeze. My way of recharging is food. When I'm hungry, I get angry, I break on my family. After eating, I instantly change. Everything is like in a fairy tale: first feed, drink, and then talk lead ... I tried to clean the body, but the hunger strike is not for me ...

5. I'm not in conflict. I try to settle everything peacefully. I feel where, what and when to say. I never defend my point of view with foam at the mouth. If you can not convince, then I do it quietly in my own way. The only person I can yell at is my mom, and even when she starts to impose her point of view.

6. I'm very vulnerable. I feel the attitude of those around me. I always wait for attention, understanding, love. I'm looking for the perfect man.

7. About sex. The first man I had was 20 years old. At first, about six months was just oral sex. I did not have a need for genital intimacy. When the sexual intimacy took place, she did not bring me any pleasure. Masturbation began to be engaged somewhere in 25. I do not remember exactly. I experience an orgasm when a stream of water pours on the clitoris. However, orgasm is always preceded by a stormy fantasy. If very excited or have not masturbated for a long time, I can experience up to 10 orgasms. But then the sensation disappears. At usual sexual certificate or act of an orgasm I do not test.

Another feature of the oral type: I always believe that the problem can be solved without my participation, shifting responsibility for orgasm to others. I often change partners. Now I almost do not live sexually ...

In that confession many features of the oral nature are caught. The consumer (receptive) setting of the "oralist" gives rise to many personal properties. All that in life is good or bad, a person evaluates through the prism of "get or, conversely, not get". Oral eroticism dictates both generosity and stinginess. Remember, the patient writes that she can buy an expensive thing and give up cheap because of the suddenly flushed stinginess. The generous people of the oral structure can suddenly discover their stinginess, and the meager often show a casual generosity.

The connection of child sexuality with the characteristics of the character of an adult was first revealed by Freud in the field of anal erotica. Although in this work he pointed to the mouth as an erogenous zone, but in detail the effect of oral sexuality on character formation was not considered. However, already in Fragment of the analysis of one case of hysteria (1905), he linked the symptoms of the patient, attacks of nervous coughing and aphonia with reactions to fantasies about oral sex, while not showing his opinion about the origin of such fantasies from childhood.

Subject of "oral nature" was subjected to more detailed development only in 1924, when K. Abraham and E. Glover published their work on it. Their approach was based on the division of the oral phase of development, which Abraham (1924) revealed in the study of manic-depressive states and schizophrenia. As a result of the analysis of a number of patients, Abraham made several private conclusions that led him to the postulate that the oral stage of development described by Freud consists, in fact, of two phases. He said: "So we are forced, just like before in the area of ​​the anal-sadistic stage of development, now to carry out the division and the oral stage. At the first stage of development, the child's libido is associated with the act of sucking. It is an act of absorption, which, however, does not lead to the destruction of the feeding person ... The second step differs from the first by turning the child from sucking oral activity to biting ... Thus, in the relationship I to the object begins dominate ambivalence. "

The significance of Abraham's language at that time was, among other things, that they included the integration of new ideas about aggressive inclinations with previous ideas about the more well-known and predominantly discussed sexual drives. After the development of these concepts through reconstruction in the psychoanalytic therapeutic situation, Abraham described (and Glover broadened his description) the two main groups of character traits that he associated with his division of infantile oral activity. He pointed out that some oral features or inclinations of adults can be understood as the continuation of children's forms of oral-sexual satisfaction and cited as examples the pleasure that adults receive from sucking and chewing.

Abraham postulated not only the relationship between the experiences of the oral phase and later features of the character, but also some factors that could be considered a reason for such preservation of oral tendencies up to adulthood. So, he observes: "A child who has been disappointed or spoiled at the stage of sucking will be especially strong ... the desire to bite ... (and) a similar violation in the development of character is expressed in that the features of hostility and ill will. Here there is an explanation of the often occurring abnormally increased envy. "

Along with the development of envy as the "oral" Character traits with oral tendencies may be related to other characteristics of the character. Abraham reasons: "In some other cases, the whole process of character formation is under oral influence ... In my experience, in the cases discussed here we are talking about people who had a period of infancy without violations and under the sign of pleasure. From this happy period of his life, he took a deeply rooted conviction that they always should be all right. They treat life with unshakable optimism, which often really helps them to achieve practical goals. Spoiling during sucking can lead to inactivity and expectations that the mother's breast, so to speak, will not run out for them. "

In the descriptions of Abraham, as well as in the descriptions of Glover, the oral character emphasizes the absolute polarity of two opposite types of character or sets of character traits. Speaking generally, the features associated with oral satisfaction are different from those associated with oral frustration. In describing an orally satisfied type, Glover says that he has an abundance of optimism that is not diminished by real experience. It is combined with generosity, sociability, openness to new ideas and ambition associated with optimistic expectations that everything will go well.

Orally frustrated, or unsatisfied, the character manifests a typically pessimistic attitude toward life, which is accompanied by depressive moods, alienation, a passive-contemplative attitude, insecurity and a constant desire to feel safe, a huge ambition combined with fear of failure and disappointment, a sense of injustice and deceit, excessive sensitivity to competition, a lack of willingness to share with others and the general dissatisfaction associated with overstating claims. Further, there are clearly pronounced traits of hostility, antipathy, envy and anger. In such oral characters, the ambivalence of the second oral stage clearly manifests itself.

Other authors (Fenichel) continued to further develop separate components of the so-called oral nature. No doubt, Abraham's ideas had a huge impact on other authors. Subsequent ideas about oral characterology are largely based on his, as a rule, empirically confirmed, excellent descriptions. Meanwhile, it is often overlooked that, as emphasized by Abraham himself, the oral character does not exist in its pure form, since impurities always occur from the subsequent phases of development. It should also be borne in mind that experimental studies to confirm the relationship between the type of early feeding situation and the character structure did not lead to a final or contradictory result.

Yet the psychoanalytic experience has enriched and expanded the views of Abraham and Glover on the processes connecting the character structure with early childhood experiences. Among others, Shandor Rado and Otto Fenichel drew attention to the intensity of stimulation in the feeding process as a determinant of the so-called oral fixation, which is considered as the basis of oral character traits. Further, both indicate the alimentary connections of the mouth, and Fenichel believes that this phase should rather be considered as "intestinal" than "oral". He emphasizes the importance of satisfying the drive for the relationship of character and orality: "Very often, however, it can be argued that the fixation refers to experiences associated with satisfying the drive, which at the same time provided shelter from anxiety or contributed to the ousting of another that causes fear instinctive behavior ( orality as a defense against fear).

Such simultaneous satisfaction of attraction and security needs is the most common reason for fixations. Also Rado found very impressive phenomena of discharge and saturation after eating and saw in them an analogue of genital sexual orgasm. It is quite obvious that the oral organization of the sucking child reaches its culmination in alimentary orgasm. Because the somatic processes on which this orgiastic pleasure is based, take place within the body and therefore can not be perceived by the infant, his interest must be shifted to a tangible oral zone, the excitation of which, as a precursor mechanism, triggers the satisfaction process. Psychoanalysts noted that there is a connection between orality and other sensations related to the stomach and intestinal tract, as a result of which fixations that affect character formation may appear, we would like to note, however, the role played by the level of excitation - especially if accompanied by a decrease in anxiety - in the determination of forms in which oral experiences affect the further development of the character.

Erik Erikson in several publications presented a scheme in which the early development and the subsequent attitude of a person to the surrounding world are correlated. He speaks of the newborn: "At that moment he lives and loves the mouth, and the mother lives and loves the breasts, as well as all parts of her face and body that express her willingness to give the child what he needs. For the baby, the mouth is the center of the first general acquaintance with life, namely through absorption. " Erickson emphasizes the relative passivity of this stage of development and indicates that Abraham related the second oral stage on which biting develops, with a more active "holding" and assignment in a broad sense. Erickson criticizes the view of Freud that the oral phase in its essence is characterized by dependence. Erickson proposes to characterize the meaning of the oral phase for the further development of the personality by the term "basal trust".

Erickson's contribution is to explore the type of relationship between a child and the world around him, which occurs at the stage of predominance of oral sensuality. His hypothesis is that the consequences of this type of relationship are manifested in the course of further development. A more general thesis that early childhood experiences, ways of functioning and relationships with the outside world are reflected in the subsequent formation of a life-style and life position are defended by many psychoanalysts. The functional mechanism by which such early experiences and schemes can have a lasting effect was tried to explain by the constant presence of fantasies in a person (which potentially also may prove to be effective), presumably originating at the earliest stage of life. However, this explanation entails new problems. Analysts who attach great importance to the experiences and fantasies of the first months of life in further development tend to ascribe to the infant the complexity of mental functioning that contradicts the other known data on mental development.

So, it is often assumed (especially by the devotees of Melanie Klein) that the infant very early takes possession of the knowledge about the boundaries between himself and the outside world and is able to develop fantasies containing such complex ideas as "swallowing" and cavities and even parental relations, when he had not yet passed the first year of his life. Nevertheless, it is likely that also the less differentiated forms of the experience of the first weeks or months can have an impact on further development. We can observe this by the example of those children who suffered serious traumas or privations at their earliest stage of life. However, in our opinion, the formation of oral fantasies occurs mostly at the end of the first year of life, and their existence can lead to erroneous hypotheses of the influence of oral phase experiences on further normal or pathological development.

A child at this age is not able to create fantasies about one's own relations to other people (primarily to parents), if only because it takes him much more time to learn to distinguish what exactly relates to his own I, and that to the outside world. But it is still assumed that it is more correct to attribute their occurrence to a later period, even if early psychobiological experiences may predispose to the formation of such fantasies. In other words, we are in apparent contradiction with those psychoanalysts who readily explain all later experiences as a repetition or continuation of supposed early oral fantasies. Instead, it can be said that early experiences have an impact on the development of mental mechanisms and structures. To put it simply, there is no reason to believe that phenomena like the above-mentioned "oral" character traits, represent the remaining fantasies about the infant's relationship to the mother (or parts of it) that have emerged in the oral phase. On the other hand, we agree that deprivation experienced in the first months of life can lead, for example, to a pessimistic and embittered life-setting, and that the formation of subsequent fantasies about caring is due to subsequent experiences caused by deprivation.

Oral dependence. Because the infant is biologically dependent on the mother, many analysts tend to view dependence as an oral psychological characteristic. It is often equated with the desire to return to the breast (or even into the womb of the mother), but this equating is based on the unspoken assumption that the newborn, who is perceived by the observer as absolutely dependent, also himself is aware of this dependence. In our opinion, it is wrong to consider all subsequent desires and demands to be dependent and cared for as a desire to restore a special, preserved state of mind that occurs when the mother is breastfeeding. In contrast to the biological approach, from our psychological point of view, it turns out that the activation of aspirations for dependence on the object-trustee reaches its peak only in the second year of life, i.е. in the anal stage described by Freud, or from the separation-isolation phase by Margaret Mahler.

It is possible that by the end of the first year of life a child develops a kind of consciousness that he is addicted. However, the desire for dependence should result from a much more differentiated understanding, through which then a desire may arise to return to what is the earliest form of the relationship for the child. In this connection, it is very important to study the dependence carried out by Bolby. It is interesting that Glover's remark that the system of verbal representatives necessary for direct mental remembering develops only when the dominant position of the mouth is already behind.

The totality of character traits, described as oral (as well as character traits in general), can be viewed from the point of view of object relations. In this context, we mean by object relations not only the explicit ways of behavior of one person in relation to another, but also the internal connections between one's own self and others, in the form in which they are represented in conscious and unconscious fantasies the individual. So, the pretentious-demanding position can be viewed from the point of view of an inner desire to receive everything from others, connected with a deep conviction that other people will never satisfy you. A special sucking internal attitude to the mother does not arise at the time when sucking occurs, but much later, namely, when the child realizes that he is separated from his mother, and now he dreams of being reunited with her.

Internal object relations are crucial not only in the question of character traits, but also for many other problems, not least for psychosomatic disorders. Since psychosomatic symptoms include psychogenic components, it is possible that they represent an attempt to realize an unconscious desire to have a certain kind of object relationship. This becomes apparent in eating disorders, when the attitude towards food has become a concrete expression of the desired internal relation to an important figure from childhood.

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