Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Erikson’s Life Stages
The eight life stages that Erikson has theorized are stages that build upon one another, starting with infancy and ending in the death of one’s life. Erikson’s theory was influenced by Freud; however, where Freud’s theory was psychosexual, Erikson’s theory is psychosocial. The psychosocial stage I am currently in is stage seven, the generativity versus stagnation or self-absorption; this stage asks the question of “how can I fashion gift” (McAdams, 2006). Fashioning a gift refers to the question of what do I want to leave behind as a legacy so to speak. This stage typically occurs during middle adulthood; I am currently 31 years of age.
I believe that I am at this stage because as of late I have begun to ask myself the very question of what do I want to be remembered for? I am a mother and I am teaching my children new things everyday intentionally, such as potty training my son, and unintentionally, such as expressing anger in front of my children over trivial things like inconsiderate drivers. Erikson’s life stage of generativity has seven features which are as follows; cultural demand- developmental expectations and societal opportunities; inner desire-symbolic immortality and the need to be needed; concern for the next generation; belief in humanity; commitment- goals and decisions; action- creating, maintaining, and offering; finally, narration- the generativity script within the life story (McAdams, 206).
Of these seven features I believe that I am expressing my inner desire, as well as, concern for the next generation. Because I have begun to shift my focus to more the helper inside of me and constantly have the feeling of wanting to live forever my children, I am also active within my community in terms of volunteering for charity. I think that the change in my perspective came when I moved to a new state where I knew no one and was forced to break out of my shell. The environment and community of people in this city helped break me out of the stagnation that I had been in while living in Arizona. Sometimes a drastic change is needed to pull a person, such as myself, out of a rut.
The change I have spoken of has also taken place within one of my very close friends of the last 25 years. While she is also in her 30’s she is currently in the sixth stage which is intimacy versus isolation. She has been in this stage for quite sometime, always asking the question “how can I love” (McAdams, 2006). She has been consciously seeking the answer to this question for as long as I have known her. After her divorce and her move from Nevada to Virginia, she began to realize the importance of establishing her identity before finding the way to love. Erikson’s sixth stage also has four intimacy statuses; intimate, preintimate, stereotyped, and isolate. She is currently in a truly intimate relationship with a man who has helped her learn how to trust once again.
The main idea of Erikson’s stages is also to show polarization in people and how to balance the two extremes, whether it’s intimacy versus isolation or generativity versus self-absorption. In order to progress successfully through the stages the balance must be found, which entails determining the question and then finding the answer. I learned through teaching my children that the gift of knowledge and love will ensure my immortality, does this mean I am ready to move to the final stage? No. I still have much more to learn, much more to teach, and more good to do in the world.
McAdams, D. (2006). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.