Sigmund Freud’s Personality and Psychoanalysis

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 8
Words: 1926
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: College


Sigmund Freud is widely known as the founder and the proponent of the psychoanalysis theory, which deals with individuals’ personalities. He was born on the sixth of May 1856 in Moravia and later served as an Austrian neurologist in the 19th and the 20th centuries (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). Freud was educated in the University of Vienna, from where he graduated in 1881 as a doctor of medicine. Following his wide research and studies, he managed to get a teaching job in one of the universities where he instructed in a neuropathology class. This marked his starting point in foundation of the psychoanalysis theory. In the process of this theory development, Freud used a clinical method in treating his patients at Vienna General Hospital. Here, he was in the process of treating psychopathology by the use of dialogue, which involved a conversation between the patient and the doctor; in this case, the doctor was a psychoanalyst (Sternthal, 2006).

It should be noted that Freud applied a method known as therapeutic, which allowed the patient to report his or her line of thoughts randomly without any order or sequence. Using this method, he realized that patients could disclose to the doctors, feelings they had even from their childhood experiences and relationships. This is what prompted him to start the development of the psychoanalysis theory based on the analytic process on his patients (Ellenberger, 2008).

Analysis of Sigmund Freud Personality

According to Fromm (2013), Freud was an egocentric individual and a very selfish man. He argues this on the sense that Freud never had a successful relationship (Fromm, 2013). Taking the aforementioned into consideration, he indicates that Freud was possessed with intellectual endowment and vitality that was beyond a normal human being. Moreover, he had a great wish to be one the prominent people in his line of study and due to this, he had a great deal of passion in search for the truth. In addition, the scientist was a man who lacked emotional warmth and closeness, and this caused him to be a man who lacked love and full enjoyment of life (Webster, 2005).

It is worth noting that Freud was a very insecure man. However, he was very courageous, which caused him to love his mother so much. Due to insecurity personality, the man remained a very receptive person, loving his mother throughout his life while disliking his father. This means that he remained in the oral stage most of his life. Again, Freud was a distant husband being sterile most of his life though having a weakness in women. This kind of life that he lived is what prompted Freud to develop his theories focusing mostly on sexuality. His theories also give men more powers and naïve ideas about women because he feared women and he was rebellious to his father (Fromm, 2013).

Apart from being insecure, Freud was also authoritative, dictatorial, and quarrelsome. Based on this personality, he distanced himself from women. From this view of the subject it may be concluded that he always wanted to praise himself as well as to be praised by others. This made him do a lot of scientific research in the psychoanalysis field. Nevertheless, he never wanted to involve others with his ideas and theories, thereby becoming an antagonistic person (Friedman & Schustack, 2011).

Freud’s Weaknesses

Freud’s focus on his theories alone without involving others led to his excessive sexual frustration and repression (Fromm, 2013). In addition, he failed to bring out the historical awareness of his theories by focusing mostly on his sexual and libido desires principle. Moreover, he failed to show that an individual is able to repress some thoughts that are not in conformity to their social behaviors. Lastly, Freud’s works had naïve ideas about women, as they always seemed to provide biased opinion (Webster, 2005).

Sigmund Freud Psychoanalysis Theory of Personality

The scientist used his psychoanalysis theory to develop many perspectives and interpretations of different cultures and religions. This theory has been widely used in psychotherapy and psychiatry. As a result, the theory has become very popular worldwide, as it has been normally implemented in dealing with personality problems. Following the topic, there has been a lot of criticism on this theory; his scientific effectiveness has also been questioned. Having been born in a family of eight children, Freud’s birth was unique, as he was born with a caul, which his mother viewed as a bad omen; however, that did not hinder him from becoming one of the best psychologists in the world later in his life (Danto, 2005).

In the psychoanalysis theory, Freud argues that, personality organization and development could be used to guide psychodynamic psychotherapy. Here, he states that through the analysis of the brain of the patient using free association and transference one can recognize some of the childhood events that could be the cause of the current behaviors of an adult patient and his current mental functioning (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). Psychotherapy therefore can be applied in the treatment of personality disorders (Ellenberger, 2008).

Thus, the psychoanalysis theory explains that, the things that happen in an individual’s current life are result from what happened to him or her during his or her childhood life, and they have significant contribution to the adult’s mental functioning. In this psychoanalysis theory, Freud explains that the mind is made up of two main parts used to determine an individual’s action. These parts are the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, both of which contribute to decision-making processes of an individual (Sadger, 2005).

To begin with, the scientist states that the unconscious mind explains that people always use to make certain decisions and at times, they do not recognize this decision through the conscious mind. This includes some unconscious behaviors made by patients. He explains that the unconscious mind is the part of the mind that people are always not aware of (Ellenberger, 2008). Here, although there are several methods of analyzing the unconscious mind, he predominantly dwelt on the dream analysis.

According to Freud, the dreams allow people to examined and investigate the unconscious mind, based on whether they have latent or manifest feelings. Basically, latent feelings involve the hidden meaning of the dreams that is very difficult to understand when an individual wakes up from the sleep (Sadger, 2005). On the other hand, manifest feeling is the information from dreams that makes people aware of the dreams’ complexes they had when they were asleep. In addition, manifest content always helps people understand their dreams, and this part of the dream can be easily analyzed (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). Furthermore, Freud indicates that through exploring and analyzing these dreams one is able to know some of the personality disorders affecting others. Besides, this can also help in understanding and discovering someone else’s personality.

In addition, dreams always provide access to various unconscious feelings and emotions that are hidden. This can result from the id, ego, and superego not working in the proper order, causing other internal drives and wants to be exposed out. Some of the examples when the unconscious mind is revealed include a case where a girlfriend calls her current boyfriend using her former boyfriend name. Another example is seen in the misinterpretation of the spoken and written words (Sternthal, 2006).

Freud also argues that personality is always made up of the id, ego, and superego, whereby, the id is the element that is used to determine the personality aspect influenced by certain needs, both internal and basic (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). In fact, he states that the id is always unaware of the impact of an individual’s actions (Friedman & Schustack, 2011).

Secondly, the ego is the element that is controlled by the reality principle, and it works to balance the aspects of the id and the superego. Again, the ego is the aspect that tries to balance the id to work towards the reality. In addition, it seeks to bring rationalization to the id needs and search for a long-term solution to those needs and drives. Moreover, the ego always tries to look for what is right to be done and whether it is realistic. It also sets appropriate standards for the super ego of an individual (Danto, 2005).

Lastly, there is the superego, which is controlled by the morality principle. This element tries to seek the moral values that are acceptable in the community. In addition, the superego always works on the socially accepted ways only where it strengthens most social relationships and behaviors. In fact, the superego uses moral values in making decisions, as well as judges the sense of what is wrong or right (Friedman & Schustack, 2011).

On the aspect of some behaviors, Freud also argues that we always use different defense mechanisms to avoid some difficult situations. For example, he says that, to balance the id, ego, and superego, people must change some realities in order to avoid threatening the unconscious thoughts and feelings, leading to protection of anxiety and avoiding stress. There are several different defense mechanisms that individuals can use with rationalization, sublimation, regression, and displacement among them (Sadger, 2005).

Freud proposes that the psychosexual development is based on the Oedipus complex, which shows the unconscious mind to hold regressive thoughts such as, boys having likeness and desires for their mothers and always disliking their fathers. In addition, Freud states that girls always want to be in love with their fathers, a situation known as the Electra complex. Due to this love towards their fathers, girls always feel unconscious dislike to their mothers. Again, he explains that due to all these facts, human development is directed towards sexual desires. He sets the development of human beings towards sexual desires into five stages, in particular, oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latent stage, and genital stage (Sadger, 2005).

To begin with, in the oral stage, Freud indicates that a child’s personality is fixated on oral or mouth pleasure that involves breast sucking and bottle sucking. With the failure to get this when young, an individual is likely to become naive, always following others and depending on others later in life (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). On the anal stage, he says that the child focuses mainly on removal of feaces, and failure to get this makes the child to become extremely clean, organized and always avoiding living in chaos (Sadger, 2005).

Thirdly, on the phallic stage, Freud says, the child is about 6 years and his or her life is mainly connected with the Oedipus complex for boys and the Electra complex for girls. The failure to do this will lead to unethical sexual behaviors later in life (Robinson, 1990).

On the latent stage, the child is an adolescent and always tries to form sexual friendships with the opposite sex, thereby controlling the unconscious sexual desires. Lastly, on the genital stage, the scientist argues that the controlled sexual desires on the puberty stage reappear and an individual starts focusing his or her life on the private parts as a source of pleasure. This is always seen when adult people involve in sex (Sternthal, 2006).


Although Freud was an expert in psychology due to his psychoanalysis theory, his life was never complete, as he had some personality limitations. Primarily, he was egocentric and socially insecure. Moreover, despite being unfriendly to women, he loved his mother more than he loved his father. Nevertheless, his prowess in the psychoanalysis theory has been of great significance and influence to the generations that came after him.


Danto, E. A. (2005). Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918-1938. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Ellenberger, H. F. (2008). The Discovery of the Unconscious: the History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Friedman, H. W. & Schustack, M. W. (2011). Personality: Classics theories and modern research. Boston, MA: Ellyn & Bacon.

Fromm, E. H. (2013). Sigmund Freud’s Mission: An Analysis of his Personality and Influence. New York, NY: Open Road Media.

Robinson, P. R. (1990). The Freudian Left. Ithaca. London, United Kingdom: Cornell University Press.

Sadger, J. (2005). Sigmund Freud. Madison, WI: University of WISCONSIN Press.

Sternthal, B. (2006). Sigmund Freud: life and work, 1856-1939. Zirndorf, Germany: Brandstätter.

Webster, R. (2005). Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis. London, United Kingdom: HarperCollins.