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  The term fixation was used by Freud to describe a state of emotional arrest of part of a person\'s psycho-sexual development, a state of being fixed in the past. It is visible in attachments to objects which represent one of the three earlier stages of sexual development before the genital phase, called the oral, anal and phallic stages. Freud quoted the case of the girl who continued to suck her thumb right through childhood, into and after puberty and into adulthood. She commented that even the best of kisses was never as satisfying as sucking her thumb. This girl was fixated at the oral stage. The miser who hoards money, the collector who hoards pictures, or people who dwell long and unproductively on uncompleted tasks, may be fixated at the anal stage. Even after a stage is outgrown and other activities take its place, it will resurface during times of anxiety and stress. Freud called this reversal regression, and in some cases the fixation was so absolute as to hinder further development of the individual.

The term fixation is also used more generally outside psychoanalysis as a term to describe any state where a person is fixated on a person or object in such a way as to prevent development or change, or as a way of avoiding other issues which may demand change. MJ



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