Talk:Anal retentiveness

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Bulking up article[edit]

I appreciate that a second paragraph was added, but it's unsourced and it conflicts some with my understanding of the term, so I'd like to see a valid reference if it's to be included. Here's the text I removed:

The so-called "anal" stage of infantile development denoted and named from discovering and playing with the infant's own feces is also characterized by learning that screaming and yelling causes a parental response. This learned cause and effect carried on later in life was named anal-retentive - or to stay in the (retain) anal developmental stage. Calling anal retentive anything to do with constipation is a modern misnomer. More accurately described, an anal retentive individual would be one with a character disorder exhibited by tyrannical behavior. Presumably the negative name was Freud's own description of those individuals with character disorders who would never seek psychoanalysis. The main presentation of character disorder is that the rest of the world has a problem as opposed to neuroses where the neurotic individual thinks he/she is the problem. Only neurotics seek help yielding hundreds of subset disorders while character disorders are still a mystery and have no subsets.

I've never heard of anal-retentive personalities being "tyrannical". I'll go ahead and trawl some university psych websites and see if I can find a good reference. --Hurtstotouchfire 07:22, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I think the article covers the conversational and psychological meanings, but doesn't have the medical definition. According to The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Anal-retentive (adj) Indicates personality traits, such as meticulousness, avarice, and obstinacy, originating in habits, attitudes, or values associated with infantile pleasure in retention of feces. I think it's worth considering for inclusion in the wiki article article. Possibly a range of it's different meanings in each field, and a range of meanings in differing dialects or communities. This could absorb and categorize the different meanings without causing contention by eliminating the need to have a single narrow definition, arbitrarily chosen. Penyulap talk 12:42, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Proposed merger with Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder[edit]

DISAGREE I'm going on record as saying that the proposal to merge this article into obsessive-compulsive personality disorder shows a complete lack of understanding of the term. I'm anal retentive, but I certainly do not have a diagnosable mental disorder. The suggestion that the one is a subset of the other is patently offensive. My counter-proposal is that the merge tag be removed from this article as soon as possible. --BRossow 04:32, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Anal retentiveness and OCD personalities don't have enough in common to be in the same article. Anonymous 3:57, 27 February 2006 (GMT)
I don't think merging them is appropriate, anymore than merging Astronomy with Astrology would be appropriate, but I do however feel there should be mention that some of the behaviours that Freud was trying to codify in his patients are more accurately identified today as OCD. In modern times, the term has fallen out of its intended usage and become a term applied to somebody who is neat and tidy, but not to the point of mental illness reffered to as OCD today. --Darth Borehd 20:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Obsessive-compulsive personality is a personality type. Not a disorder. Not to be confused with OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) which is a disorder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

But has anybody managed to answer the vital question: should "anal retentive" be hyphenated? ;-) (I too would call myself anal-retentive!) Autarch 10:52, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

No. It should not be hyphenated.
OCD is a result of a chemical imbalance and is most successfully treated with anti-depression drugs. The anal repressive personality, as Freud explained it (and named it), is the result of early childhood learning. 金 (Kim) 22:28, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
It's hyphenated only if it modifies a noun. I am anal retentive. You are an anal-retentive person. Jordan Brown 05:52, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Revision of "current usage" definition[edit]

I'm not totally happy about the "current usage" definition even as originally proposed by User:Wayland and which has lasted till now. While pedantry is implied by the term, I think a better definition would refer primarily to neatness, tidyness, order, & cleanliness.

Now this entry shows I'm anally-retentive myself. But have I contradicted my own argument?

Mmowat 08:27, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Is there any reliable evidence that the continued popular use of "anal" after its discreditation by psychologists has something to do with it being a nicer form of "asshole"? --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 00:35, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Awkward/biased sentence[edit]

"These people develop into neat, organized, careful, meticulous, obstinate people often men with money who are passive-aggressive." Is this really part of Freudian theory, or is there some 'countertransference' going on on part of whoever wrote it? The tone seems hostile and biased towards such individuals. And the sentence construction is also quite akward. Not to be anal =)

It certainly reads as non-NPOV, and there's no source for all those adjectives. Men with money? Heh, you wish. ;-) It was correctly taken out from the article I believe. Raystorm 13:41, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm, at least as defined as my sometimes competition, "anal retentive". As an IS consultant, and a former military intelligence person, I believe I have every reason to be so, and don't view the appellation as a negative.

To those who are more casual about solutions, I appear obsessive. However, their lives might depend upon that obsessiveness. Do you want to fly in a plane designed to "their" standards, or mine? Airport Controllers? SWAT teams?

"To every thing there is...a time and purpose."

Excellence in detail is neither needed nor desirable in particular situations of course, and conversely, too little attention may destroy any act as well. I suspect the latter situation to be far more prevalent however, given my ability to command decent sums as a consultant to rectify them. Still, excellence is a lot cheaper in the long run.

Isn't this commentary proof enough that "anal retentive" exists as a human condition?

If not, I can go to much greater detail <grin>.

Well, the nature of Wikipedia pretty much implies anal bias. --Humanophage (talk) 22:57, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Differences between anal retentive and anal expulsive[edit]

Can someone please help contribute what exactly causes either of these please, and what also causes neither? It's not clear between the two articles what the differences are in the causes. E.g. in anal expulsive it mentions that the child was "liberally" trained. What does this mean, and in what way would the child have been trained in order to have become anally retentive? --Rebroad (talk) 20:38, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

References to The Nurture Assumption[edit]

I don't really think they are appropriate here, so I took them out. The concept already has basically no empirical basis, so a reference like this is both redundant and tangential. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:10, 9 June 2009 (UTC)


Someone should have a look at these changes (link to history comparison) which are still active in the current article version. In fact, all changes after 23 February 2010 seem to be made by some jokers (apart from the reversion, of course). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:50, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Anal retentive (new section)[edit]

I wish there were twenty readers who would all list their understanding of anal retentive, so that we could see a spectrum of thinly divided choices. From this, to order these thoughts from the extremes. Then to come to a generalized understanding of the term anal retentive. I am not getting that so far.

My concept is a personality unwilling to give of itself, as in a child who comes to understand it can control its parents actions and time, by not excreting. Then generalizing, to every interaction, with everybody, for all times thereafter, brings to mind, why bother! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 1 October 2010 (UTC) I see that usage most of the time by people who want something and want to say something nasty about a person who won't give it. Other common usages tend to the nastiness of its sound. Some pop psych call orderliness the prime component. But the most common science texts non pop usage is that it means a person retains infantile characteristics of their socialization. Anal control being the first imposition of social norms on the otherwise uncontrolled infantile anal behavior. So anal retentive means in short infantile. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 25 August 2017 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:21, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Anal retentiveAnal-retentive

  • Proper spelling requires a hyphen. The existing redirect from 'Anal-retentive' to 'Anal retentive' must be removed, and a new redirect from 'Anal retentive' to 'Anal-retentive' should be added. Thanks. Tabledhote (talk) 22:58, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Any requested move involving hyphenation in titles is controversial and needs a talk page discussion. EdJohnston (talk) 04:03, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
  • You know, there's a book called Does Anal Retentive Need a Hyphen? (without one) If we could get a presentation copy, I'd go for the move. JCScaliger (talk) 23:25, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I think its pretty funny that a book has been written about it, and since there is no concsensus on how it should be spelled, we should use which ever version has the greatest amount of google and other search engine searches. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia for the people, so why not let the amount of searches decide the matter.AcuteAccusation (talk) 23:37, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
There are a number of reasons 'why not' at Wikipedia:Search engine test. Powers T 15:18, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose both are adjectives, use a noun form instead. (talk) 03:54, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Alternative move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:57, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

– As discussed above, we should be using the noun form of these terms, not the adjective form. Powers T 19:17, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Better meaning[edit]

I understand that this is effectively a real term in American English, though I have not come across it in the UK. Perhaps a note to that effect would avoid confusion for non-American readers. Also, the OED contains the following simple definition : overly ordered and fussy. (So in the UK, we simply say 'fussy' for the same thing.) It also says that this is the meaning in all varieties of English. This makes sense, since as far as I recall, it was a joke term used in American sitcoms of the 1980s, which everyone else vaguely understood as an insult of some sort. Thanks to this article, I've just found out what it means, although I don't think I'll be using it any time soon because it sounds liked it means 'deliberate constipation'. Summerdoor (talk) 14:01, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Anally retentive means the sufferer is 'full of sh*t', and the only escape path is the mouth!. 'finger up the butt' has the same implications. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:25, 15 October 2014 (UTC)