Freud was especially interested in the sexual content of dreams and he often saw ordinary objects in dreams as representations of sexual desire. To Freud every long, slender item encountered in a dream, from a knife to a flagpole, was a phallic image while any receptacle such as a bowl or vase represented the female genitalia.
Freud believed in five stages of personality and he saw dreams as manifestations of desired stemming from each of these five stages. To Freud personality formation consisted of:
Stage One – Oral/Dependency
Freud’s theory was that any needs not satisfied during the oral/dependency stage would cause the person to go through life trying to meet them. Thus, to Freud habits such as overeating, drinking to much and smoking were all oral fixations. People suffering from these oral fixations often dreamed about their unmet needs and desires.
Stage Two – Anal/Potty Training
Freud held that improper potty training could traumatize a child and cause him or her to become anal retentive, rigid and controlling. Such traumatized children often develop obsessive compulsive disorders as well. Recurring dreams of being out of control, such as dreams of falling were common in such people.
Stage Three – Phallic
According to Freud the personality is completely developed by the time stage three rolls around. The third stage of personality is identified with the Oedipus and Electra complexes. The Oedipus complex represents the love a male child feels toward the mother, coupled with fear and jealousy of the male parent. The Electra complex is the female version of Oedipus in which the female child feels anger toward the mother and develops “penis envy.”