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human personality

Personality is the unique and distinctive way of perceiving, behaving and interacting with the environment and other people. It is the sum of all traits that differentiate one individual from another and the total behavior pattern of an individual through which inner interests are expressed.

Your personality is what makes you different and unique from other people. It is what makes you who you are today, and what will determine what you become tomorrow to some extent. Such that you can be distinguished from other people.

sigmund freud

Sigmund Freud divided personality into 3 parts; the id, ego, and superego

  • The id is the inborn unconscious instincts, impulses, and urges; it is totally self-centered.
  • Ego is the conscious self, the “I” that deals with reality; the part of the personality that is revealed to the environment. Ego strengths enable an individual to cope with frustration and delay in gratification. It begins to develop during infancy.
  • Superego is the part of the personality that, mainly on an unconscious level, controls, inhibits, and regulates impulses ad instincts whose uncontrolled expression would endanger the emotional well-being of the individual and the stability of society. It incorporates parental, religious, and societal values. It develops between the ages of 3-6 years.

Personality develops in overlapping stages that shape and merges together. Particular conflicts and tasks must be mastered during each stage of development from infancy to maturity if needs are to be met and mental health maintained or enhanced. Successful resolution of the conflicts and acquisition of the tasks associated with each stage is essential to development. If these tasks are not acquired at specific periods, the basic structure of personality is weakened.


Factors in each stage persist as a permanent part of the personality. Childhood identifications are integrated with basic drives, native endowments, and opportunities offered in social roles. Unresolved conflicts remain in the unconscious and may at times, result in maladaptive behavior.

Personality is capable of change throughout life; as one age, there may be a decreased ability to cope.

There are several theories postulated in the area of personality. I’m not gonna go through them in detail because let’s face it, this ain’t psychology class and it might get boring.

Anyway, some of these theories include; Freud’s psychodynamic theory, which proposes that human behavior is largely governed by motives and drives that are internal and often unconscious (couldn’t agree more, lol). Freud believed that development proceeds best when children’s psychosexual needs at each stage are met, but not exceeded.

Psychosexual theory by Eric Erickson attributes development to social interactions and relationships that occur throughout the lifespan; failure to master a developmental stage may leave a person more susceptible to mental illness. He believed that development results from social aims and conflicts arising from feelings, parent-child interactions, and social relationships.

parent and child

Sullivan, on the other hand, believed that development results from interpersonal relationships with others in maximizing the satisfaction of needs while minimizing insecurity.

Piaget’s cognitive development theory emphasizes that thinking, mindsets, and beliefs influence development.

Personality is an important cornerstone that is crucial to the development and coping with psychological stress. To some extent, psychologists are able to predict the likely mental illness a person is susceptible to based on personality traits expressed by an individual.

Though personality is developed in the early stages of life, it can be modified and changed over time as one grows older, owing to several factors that include environmental, biological, psychosocial, cultural, religious and what have you.


Some people have a psychological situation whereby they don’t have unique qualities that make up their personality. Instead, they have several personalities which are exhibited at different times triggered by certain events and situations. Such people have dissociative personalities. There are other disorders of personality which include; paranoia, schizophrenia, OCD, narcissism, histrionism, antisocial, etc. These disorders are extreme exaggerations of personality traits or styles. Under stress, individuals manifest patterns of inflexibility, maladaptive emotional responses, ad functioning impairments.


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