CHAT: Psychosexual development theory and sloppy, sloppy usage

Subject: CHAT: Psychosexual development theory and sloppy, sloppy usage
From: Lisa Higgins <lisa -at- DRDDO1 -dot- EI -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 15:03:18 +0000

> Hopefully I'm among friends here, so I'm baring my soul:
> >> I've followed in the footsteps of a lot of anal-retentive,
> annoying tech writers; and I've probably been the anal-retentive,
> annoying tech writer that others have had to follow, too. <<
> I keep seeing the term anal-retentive. What does it mean? Constipated?
> Somehow this just evades my keen problem-solving ability.

As well it should. It's a sort of cheap interpretation of the stage
of development, according to Freud (I think) when children are very
rule-based and at the same time are being potty trained, and
consequently preoccupied with...well...poop.* According to common
perception of the theory, a trauma to the child as a result of
potty-training will arrest their development so they retain this
rule-based world view. I've heard that this is sort of a layman's
misperception, but don't really know what real anal retentiveness is.

And, before somebody gets all over me for criticizing someone's use
of the term, I was the one who used it so sloppily. If I'm flaming,
it's like a Buddhist monk in Vietnam.

lhiggins -at- lucent -dot- com

*Pretty ugly sentence, eh?

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