In this episode, we explore the stages of development by Erik Erickson, who was analyzed by Anna Freud and went on to develop his own theory on child development. This is part one of this topic which will span two episodes. Join us as we discuss:
- How we develop trust or mistrust;
- Where shame and doubt come from;
- Why some are better than others at taking initiative;
- The identity crisis and what age it begins.
This podcast represents the opinions of Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado, PhD. The content here should not be taken as medical/mental health advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your mental healthcare professional for your mental health questions.
Welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado of CreativeMind. Join us each week for inspiring conversation about personal development based on Jungian philosophy, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience. Spend each week with us to explore deep topics in a practical way. Let’s begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:28
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Soul Sessions with CreativeMind. I’m Debra Maldonado, here with Dr. Rob Maldonado. We have a wonderful series that we’re doing on the great minds of psychology. Today we’re talking about Eric Erickson. But before we begin, I want to remind you to please subscribe to our channel. If you’re watching us on YouTube, click the button here in the corner. If you’re listening to us on one of the podcast services, go to your podcast app and click Subscribe, so you can’t miss another episode, especially because this one’s a two parter. You don’t want to miss the second one. We’re so excited, I want to dedicate this to all the life changers we have in our universe, so many people changing lives using psychology to make the world a better place. I want to invite you all to join us in our Facebook group to continue the conversation. Search for The Art and Science of Changing Lives. The group is open and it’s free, we’d love to see you there as well.
Robert Maldonado 01:38
It’s a chance for you to interact with us and ask us questions, and for us the opportunity to answer some of your questions and get to know you a little bit more.
Debra Maldonado 01:47
Let’s talk about Eric Erickson. Did the parents know that it’d be weird to call himself Eric when the last name was Erickson, but I guess that’s okay. I love his work and can’t wait to dive into it.
Robert Maldonado 02:03
He’s an interesting guy. He was born in 1904, to give you some context, in Germany. You can imagine his childhood, of course, he grew up during World War I and World War II. He was initially an artist. He was a Bohemian who was traveling around in his early 20s, then got interested in psychology. At that time, Freud and Jung were training lay people, you didn’t have to be a grad student to become an analyst. He signed up with Anna Freud, he was actually analyzed by Anna Freud himself.
Debra Maldonado 02:59
We talked about Anna Freud in our previous episode, if you missed that, please check the previous episode, we talked about her.
Robert Maldonado 03:06
She was interested in child psychology, so he got a lot of child psychology through her, but went on to become a force in psychology himself. He wrote a book called Childhood and Society in 1950. That put him on the map. He also wrote this incredible book called Gandhi’s Truth on the psychology of Gandhi. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. During the war, he left Europe as well, ended up in Boston, worked at some of the major universities here, including Yale, Harvard, and Berkeley. He got to live in the US and influence the culture as well. He’s considered, just like Anna Freud, an ego psychologists. They were interested in what the ego was doing and how it evolved through childhood and through the lifespan.
Debra Maldonado 04:24
I find that interesting too because I used to think “Let’s just not worry about the ego. It’s bad, it’s wrong”. But we want to understand it, so we understand what its intentions were, what it did to shape us and our personality.
Robert Maldonado 04:38
He’s well known now for Eric Erikson’s stages of development, where he breaks it down into age and then tells a little bit of the task of each stage, what the ego is doing and what it’s meant to be doing.
Debra Maldonado 05:04
It’s almost like a video game, you have to go to stage one, and you have to succeed. Then you get to go to the next level. But what we’re going to talk about is how you can keep moving. You’re going to age, and whether you catch up or not, you’re already introduced to the next stage. Then what happens is, if you don’t complete the level, the ego becomes more and more of a burden on our lives.
Robert Maldonado 05:30
It can definitely. From our perspective, which is primarily a Jungian perspective, the ego is not who we really are. But from the ego psychologists’ perspective, it’s primarily who we are, the sense of self comes from the development of the ego. It’s a very different perspective. That’s why Freud and Jung diverged, because of this point of view. But Erickson’s work is particularly interesting to us because it follows that trajectory that we started with on a Freud, looking at the defenses of the ego. How do we develop these defenses? What stages do we go through in our ego development as human beings?
Debra Maldonado 06:28
We could mention that we’ve seen, working with adults, how these stages that haven’t been resolved show up in adult life. Those of you who are adults out there, which most of you are, you’re going to recognize this, it may give you a better understanding of why certain things are more difficult for you.
Robert Maldonado 06:51
From our perspective, we coach a lot of people and take our students through transformation, through individuation process, we never neglect the past. We are looking at the human being as non broken. A lot of people think that means we’re not acknowledging the past. On the contrary, we acknowledge the past. We’re simply looking at it from a different perspective. We’re saying “What is the nature of that experience? What does it mean to have that memory of your childhood experience? What is the nature of that?” That’s a different approach. When we look at Erickson’s model, he’s very much about looking at our past history, so that we can understand how we developed our personality.
Debra Maldonado 07:54
As far as it goes, it’s more like coping and resolving those things versus individuation where you’re transcending the ego, that would be the difference. But we still need to understand the ego and the past conditioning that so that we can transcend it.
Robert Maldonado 08:11
Most people that work in psychology are eclectic, you take what’s useful in your understanding of human behavior. This is definitely useful to us as coaches. It’s very useful in therapy models as well, because it’s one of the few models that really looks at what’s going on psychologically, emotionally in the child, in the human being as they are developing their ego and their social skills as they grew up. An interesting thing about Erickson’s model also is that he’s not saying that if you don’t master this skill you are doomed to develop maladaptive patterns or anything like that. He’s saying it’s a spectrum that runs from well adapted virtues — he called them developing a virtue — to maladaptation which is being on the other end of it, not being able to meet the needs and challenges of a particular stage.
Debra Maldonado 09:36
I love that because people don’t realize that, and I didn’t realize this either, that there is a spectrum. We think that if we have that little symptom, like I don’t trust — we’re going to talk about it — then I must have a maladaptive nature. It doesn’t necessarily mean that, it’s the extremes. There’s a spectrum. We could all look at each one of these stages and say “I still struggle with that a little bit.” It doesn’t mean that you’ve totally failed in that stage and can’t go to the next level. But it’s something maybe to revisit and say “That’s that time in my life, that’s where I need to look at as to why I still struggle with that.”
Robert Maldonado 10:19
There’s a powerful experience when we can look back and trace why we behave in a certain way to our childhood experiences. Our mind gives us a direct experience of that. It tells us something about the way we learn and exist in the world. It’s a powerful system and model that Erickson presents to us.
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Robert Maldonado 11:46
Let’s look at stage one. Stage one is from zero, the birth to one, to that first birthday. Very early on, basically the infant. Here’s what’s interesting, because a lot of people think babies are not perceiving that much. But we know now from neuroscience that the emotional parts of the brain called the limbic system, these are the parts of the brain that are close to the brainstem, are full on turned on by the time we’re born. They’re not still in development, like the bigger parts of the brain, or the outer covering, the neocortex. The mammalian, or the emotional parts of the brain are fully functioning. That’s why the child from the beginning is able to bond with the mother in very strong emotional bond.
Debra Maldonado 12:57
Even feel the mother if they’re asleep, they could feel who’s holding them, they have a heightened sense of intuition and instinct.
Robert Maldonado 13:06
He says the first stage, from zero to one, from birth to one, is the psychological stage of developing trust versus mistrust.
Debra Maldonado 13:21
From what I’d think that means is that before we’re 12 months old, we don’t really walk, we’re highly dependent on someone carrying us, taking care of our diaper, doing all those things. We have to place our trust in something outside of ourselves because we’re not autonomous yet. All your power is given to the mother, when I eat and all those things. Is that the reason why the trust and mistrust is there?
Robert Maldonado 13:54
He’s saying, at this early stage, the first year of life, you as a human being are already learning to either trust the world or to mistrust it. The primary person or object, in psychology they call it object relations, the primary object is the mother because the mother is the one that is your world when you’re that age. She takes care of you, she gives you warmth, she gives you sustenance, she feeds you when you cry, she’s the one that comes most of the time. Or the primary caregiver of course, but that mothering aspect is what the child is experiencing as the world.
Debra Maldonado 14:50
If it works out fine, and mother’s there, child cultivates hope and faith.
Robert Maldonado 14:59
The child develops a deep emotional trust of the world.
Debra Maldonado 15:06
When they ask for something, they have faith it’s going to come back, or they reach out to the world, it’s not a scary place, it’s a good, kind, friendly place. It’s how we think of the world in general.
Robert Maldonado 15:23
The spectrum aspect of it indicates that you need a little bit of mistrust as well. You’d be too gullible if you only trusted the world 100%.
Debra Maldonado 15:38
What they call bulldozing of the child, making sure they don’t make mistakes, being overly smothering.
Robert Maldonado 15:51
That’s the idea, you don’t necessarily have to have 100%. You can experience life in a general way and still come out okay. Human beings are very resilient, we know that. He says the task — he calls them virtues — the psychological, psychosocial virtue that you develop if you meet the task or the challenge of the task, is that you develop hope and faith in the world and yourself in the world. If you don’t, if there is neglect, if there is abuse, if there is abandonment, then you tend towards the side of the spectrum which is maladaptive, you have sensory distortions and a tendency to withdraw.
Debra Maldonado 17:01
I don’t trust the world, I’m just going to pull in. You don’t want to be rejected. It’s like a fear of rejection in a way, that withdrawal.
Robert Maldonado 17:11
It’s a defense mechanism. Withdraw, like we saw with Anna Freud’s model, is an ego defense.
Debra Maldonado 17:19
Let’s say someone had postpartum depression, sometimes they pull out, that could be a reason why the baby isn’t getting that emotional connection with the mother.
Robert Maldonado 17:32
That’s a whole other level, more like a family dynamics model, where you look at the psychological status of the mother when the baby was developing.
Debra Maldonado 17:46
It doesn’t have to be the biological mother? Can it be like the mother goes to work in that first year, and the grandmother is taking care, or some mothering person to take care of them?
Robert Maldonado 17:56
Absolutely, because different cultures have different ways of f bringing up the baby. In some cultures, he or she are passed around and taken care of by a lot of people. In other cultures, the primary mother just holds the baby close to their body throughout most of their childhood.
Debra Maldonado 18:19
So when we don’t trust the world, it started as soon as we came out. Toddler.
Robert Maldonado 18:27
Then the second stage, you make it through that first year of life, most of us develop some somewhere in the middle. We have some trust, a little bit of mistrust, which is healthy, because if a stranger comes into the room, we don’t want to trust them immediately, we need a little bit of suspicion.
Debra Maldonado 18:52
Parents out there, don’t feel bad if you had to go to work, that helps the child develop in a more healthy way, if there’s a little bit of balance there.
Robert Maldonado 19:01
The second year, from two to three, he calls it the toddler age. The psychosocial challenge at that stage is autonomy versus shame and doubt. Autonomy means the ability to feel that you’re capable of doing things for yourself.
Debra Maldonado 19:26
Shame and doubt would be you get punished for everything or you fail.
Robert Maldonado 19:34
This is an internal state of mind. If you feel that you’re autonomous, you have your own personality, your own way of doing things, and you’re okay with that you don’t have to always be dependent on the mother, even at this early stage. This is verified by current research in child development, children very early on already have a personality.
Debra Maldonado 20:07
Let me do that, I want to do it myself. The terrible twos is where they want to do things themselves, they want to tie their own shoes. They’ve taken an hour and they haven’t done it yet, but they have that urge or they feel helpless, like “Mommy, please do this for me”, or a child who wants to be coddled. Would that be the shame and doubt?
Robert Maldonado 20:36
Shame and doubt would be “I can’t do that, I’m ashamed but I can’t do things for myself. I can’t hold the spoon and feed myself or play with these toys while others can.” But here the world is opening up beyond the mothers. He says the significant relationships are the parents in general, where the kid starts to look at the father or the siblings as other attachment figures. Here the autonomy versus shame and doubt is that spectrum again. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Why? Because we need a little bit of shame. If you don’t have shame, if you’re shameless, then you’re rude towards other people, you won’t be able to play with other kids either.
Debra Maldonado 21:30
Maladaptations are like impulsivity. You don’t think before you do, you’re acting out of impulse, you don’t have shame, you’re bulldozing or moving through it, taking random actions, not feeling guilt around it or not feeling doubt. You’re just too much.
Robert Maldonado 21:56
We see this in the playgrounds. If a kid is too obnoxious with the other kids, or even among toddlers, if they don’t want to share their toys, if they’re not interested in what the other kids are doing, then they’re not good play partners. Most kids develop somewhere in the middle. They have autonomy, they know what they want and what they want to do. They’re comfortable stating what those needs are. But they’re also willing to share their toys, willing to look at what other kids are doing and meet them halfway.
Debra Maldonado 22:42
This reminds me of 20 years ago, my friend was at a picnic with a bunch of kids of that age. The little boy had a bat, he popped one of the other kids by accident in the head. The kid was crying, the little boy standing with the bat, going “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” It’s good to have that because that action caused harm, let me assess. It’s a maturation of being self conscious a little bit. Again, not in a spectrum where you’re afraid that you’re gonna hurt everyone anytime you step out, but it’s that balance again.
Robert Maldonado 23:18
The virtue here is will and determination that you develop, your sense of the willpower, the will to do things for yourself and ask for what you want. Now, think about this, such an early age, this is already established. To a lot of people, it seems to not make sense, again, because we’re used to thinking of these skills as higher learning skills. But these are instinctual elements that are built into our brain. We are designed to be social beings, therefore those foundations are laid down very early on.
Debra Maldonado 24:12
When people are like a motivational speaker says to just go for it and push through, we want to know why we hesitate, what happened when I was a toddler, what my family was like, whether stepping out of your own and trying things and failing was okay, whether you were allowed to explore. Even looking at your siblings and how they treated you, you learn a lot from your family in this stage, too.
Robert Maldonado 24:43
There’s a lot of literature now and research on shame. There’s whole schools that focus intensely on this idea of shame. They often think that it must have been some shaming experience with peers, once the kid goes to school and experiences shaming experiences. But this indicates that it goes a lot further back, it goes to those early years, when you’re first trying out things, you’re daring to play with other kids, you’re experiencing other people besides your mother.
Debra Maldonado 25:27
And preschool too, well, you’re not in preschool yet at three, maybe sometimes, maybe childcare. But right now, both parents work most of the time. Maybe in the 1900s, the mother was staying at home with the kids. Our culture has changed so much, they’re actually more exposed to culture early on outside the home.
Robert Maldonado 25:55
In every culture, most kids by second year, third year, they’re exploring the world. Their imagination is incredibly powerful. They’re picking up everything and absorbing everything, either consciously or unconsciously. Now, if they fail at this, if they move towards the maladaptive side of the spectrum, then people develop impulsivity, they’re not able to control their impulses, or compulsions, which are the need for perfectionism, the need to do things right, or check things to make sure they can control.
Debra Maldonado 26:45
It’s like two sides of the spectrum. Impulsivity is more of them not being in touch with any shame or doubt. You know those people that are bulldozing through a conversation, or they have that impulsive way, they don’t think through consequences of their actions. Then on the other side is that compulsion to be perfect, hyper vigilant on how you react to what people are going to think. Again, it’s all about balance. We all can be compulsive, we all could be perfectionists, but if that’s our go to, then we just want to stop being so rigid in our response.
Robert Maldonado 27:26
The treatment of these issues is complex, because the depth of the origins of these problems is not well understood. Often, it’s treated very superficially with CBT, for example. It’s a good start to help the person think about their thoughts and their impulses and how to work with that, but these have much deeper roots, unconscious levels of the origins of these roots. There is hoping that we’re understanding more about the brain, we’re understanding more about development. If we apply some of these principles and start to work with kids early on, the key is always prevention, then we can prevent a lot of these problems. But even in going back, looking at these things, accounting for them, understanding what the root source of these problems are, we can help develop treatments in a better way.
Debra Maldonado 28:41
Even as adults, it doesn’t mean that if you miss these in childhood— Jung says it’s never too late to have a good childhood. We can always go back and be make these patterns conscious, understand them and individuate from them.
Robert Maldonado 28:59
Retrain the mind. Neuroplasticity is very powerful, we can retrain the mind to do what we need it to do. Moving forward, the third stage from three to six years of age. Initiative versus guilt. That’s challenge, initiative. We want to develop initiative, our ability to move forward and to do things in a willful way, but we also need a little bit of guilt, so that we don’t become narcissistic in the pathological way. In Freud’s model, which Erickson followed, narcissism is a natural stage of our development, we need a little bit of self confidence and self absorption to say “I’m important, I’m here, I have certain needs, those needs are important.”
Debra Maldonado 30:08
Initiative is you choose things, you make choices, you take steps. How is that different than autonomy? Is autonomy more like “I can do it on my own”, and this is more about moving, taking new steps?
Robert Maldonado 30:24
“I’m gonna go after that”, you have goals and you move towards them.
Debra Maldonado 30:33
What would be the guilty about? If you don’t take initiative, what’s the guilt about initiative?
Robert Maldonado 30:39
That you don’t want to step on people’s toes.
Debra Maldonado 30:45
Or you don’t deserve it maybe? You feel guilty for asking for what you want. Like the people pleaser? You won’t take initiative because you feel guilty saying “I want to establish a boundary”.
Robert Maldonado 31:00
If you take all the pieces of the puzzle, not leaving any for the other kids, you’re taking initiative, but—
Debra Maldonado 31:13
“I’ll steal my friend’s ice cream or steal my friend’s toys.” You don’t want to be too much.
Robert Maldonado 31:22
You need to be “I’m being greedy here. Let me share some of this stuff.”
Debra Maldonado 31:28
You don’t want to be not asking for what you want, or going for trying new things. Even in social groups, these kids are in preschool, are you going to make a new friend? Or are you not going to initiate the conversation or initiate play with another kid?
Robert Maldonado 31:50
These are the roots of purpose. Think about that. Your sense of purpose goes back to three to six years old. You start to develop these basic foundational elements of your personality very early on. This is why those early years are so important. We don’t want to stress parents out more but those early years are important. It’s important to give your kid enriched experiences, to expose them to books, to story, to language. We know language is a big part of development of intelligence.
Debra Maldonado 32:40
You want to cultivate courage to make the most of your life versus living afraid all the time of change.
Robert Maldonado 32:52
The spectrum part indicates that it’s not about protecting them from making errors, because they need to learn that balance. They need a little bit of stress, a little bit of falling down and failing, so that they can learn both aspects of it.
Debra Maldonado 33:13
Like a kid who gets A’s all the time and never learns what it feels like to have an F or fail. The parents think he’s so perfect. Then he goes in the world, people don’t see that perfection of the bubble they were in. We want to prepare them for a larger community. Because not everyone’s going to love you like your mom or your dad, or your family and people that are close to you. The world is not always going to see you outside of that. The maladaptive would be ruthlessness, greedy, not caring about if other people are affected. They just want to take, or that inhibition where they’re not even asking, they feel they can take anything.
Robert Maldonado 34:10
No, inhibition is shyness. We’ve all seen that shy kid who is painfully shy, they’re too shy to play with other kids, to ask questions in school, on and on.
Debra Maldonado 34:21
I always see this with our adult clients. They’re shy, they’re introverted. The person that triggers them the most is the person that sucks up all the air in the room, it’s all about them, they’re shining, the person that’s the funniest and basically standing out, and we’re like “That person really triggers me.” It’s almost like ruthless, or they’re rude, they’re pushy. They’re sucking up all the oxygen and not sharing it. You want to have a balance where there’s a little bit of give, a little bit of take, a little stepping back, a little bit of inhibition to et someone else shine for a while, but not just hiding or being triggered by those people and feeling like you can’t step in.
Robert Maldonado 35:18
We start to get to school level. After six, or at six, most kids are in first grade or entering. Look at all the foundational elements that have been laid out by this point. Faith and hope, will and determination, purpose and courage, or the lack of those, the maladaptive elements of those by the time a kid enters into school. From 7 to 12 years of age, it is an important one, because here the kid is already outside the family system. He’s starting to experience peers, teachers, people that are not tied to the family. The psychosocial challenge here is industry versus inferiority. This is the inferiority complex or the roots of it.
Debra Maldonado 36:30
Industry means they have the confidence in themselves, or they’re capable, they are smart, or they’re good at sports, they’re beautiful, that social thing they own something that’s of value.
Robert Maldonado 36:47
We all know these people that start things and never finish them. This would be somebody that lacks industry. They start things, they’re interested in things, but never finished them, they give up on them.
Debra Maldonado 37:07
Those kids in school that fail all the time, or they’re not showing up for school. Then there’s the perfect straight A student that’s always taking notes and doing over and above. There’s also with sports too. A lot of people may not really be great at their grades, but they’re excelling in sports. They have this superstar mentality, something they’re successful at, and that gives them that sense of industry, like they have value, “I can’t do math, but I can throw that football or hit that baseball and get home runs.” A lot of times the schools love that. Especially when they get older, they let them go the grade through because they want to win the championship.
Robert Maldonado 38:06
It’s that sense of competence. If they are on the other side of the spectrum, they have inertia, or a very narrow virtuosity, this is what Erickson calls it, which means they don’t feel like they have a lot of talents or skills to share with the world. They’re always putting themselves down.
Debra Maldonado 38:33
I’m not good at anything. I don’t know what I’m good at. We see that a lot when we do a lot of work with coaches. Before they become coaches, when we’re working with the personal development aspect of our work, a lot of our clients would come to us feeling like “I don’t know what I’m good at. I’m not good at anything. I’m mediocre at everything.” They haven’t found what their gifts are. Or they give up too quick. They don’t keep sticking to something to master it.
Robert Maldonado 39:16
Again, most of us are in the middle. Because we need both that sense of industry but we also need to realize that there’s always people ahead of us. Regardless of how smart and talented we are, there’s always people that are ahead of us, and there’s people that are behind us. We need to be realistic, and that sense of inferiority gives us that balance.
Debra Maldonado 39:43
Inferiority is a measurement. We measure ourselves at that age by our peers, not our parents because as kids we know our parents are older and have more experience, but in our age group, we should have reached certain milestones or have certain capabilities. We measure that worth based on that.
Robert Maldonado 40:04
Let’s go on to the next one. We’ll end there, then on the next podcast, we’ll go into early adulthood. From age 12 to 18, Erickson says you go into ego identity versus role confusion. The task here is to find your identity. He was known for this identity crisis. It was big in the 60s. The identity crisis is the sense of being lost, not knowing who you are, not really having a good sense of yourself. He says it goes back to this age from 12 to 18, we’re in adolescent and teenage years, going into adulthood.
Debra Maldonado 41:05
You’re going through puberty, you’re not a little kid anymore. 12 is that age where you’re getting your first bra or getting your first jockstrap, I don’t know what men do, but that “I’m not a little boy anymore, what’s happening to my body?” We start getting interested in the opposite sex, the cliques that form in junior high. In elementary school, you’re friends with everybody. But in junior high, all of a sudden, you pick your little peer group, like “You’re gonna be a cheerleader, you with the brains, you with the jocks.”
Robert Maldonado 41:46
The peer group really becomes important here, that’s the cliques. You start to look for where I belong, who I am, what group I belong with. You start to try out different role models, you’re looking for role models. A lot of times it’s teachers, we all have the memory of those important teachers that we looked up to and said “That’s a great person. That’s a great teacher, I admire them.” Those are role models, we start to identify ourselves with some of their qualities.
Debra Maldonado 42:28
Even if we have older siblings, we maybe look to them, or our friend’s older sister, older brother, we’re like “I want to be like Jim’s brother, he’s the football star.” I remember this stage for me, I didn’t have a typical group because I was a brain, but I hung out with burnouts, but I didn’t smoke pot, or do drugs, I didn’t smoke cigarettes. We just all lived in the same area. I felt like I was in this group of people that was non-defined. That also probably led to me being confused going into adulthood, which we’ll talk about tomorrow. Some people don’t fit in any group, some people feel a little isolated, or they’re in that nebulous group that’s non-defined. This is where we see fidelity and loyalty.
Robert Maldonado 43:24
The virtues that we develop in this stage is fidelity and loyalty. Fidelity means to be true to yourself. You’re true to yourself, therefore, you feel genuine, you feel like you have a purpose and a direction in life. You’re loyal to others because if you’re true to yourself, you can be loyal to others. If you don’t meet these challenges, then fanaticism. This is an interesting one, fanaticism, we see it often where people over identify with football teams, political groups, gangs.
Debra Maldonado 44:05
They forego their individual identity and latch on to a group that makes them feel bigger than they are.
Robert Maldonado 44:16
It’s a compensation for that lack of self integrity, that ego identity that Erickson is talking about. Just to recap, from the time you’re born till the time you’re considered an adult, age 18, all these important foundations of personality, the way you’re going to experience your life for the rest of your life, are already in play, they’re being cemented very early on.
Debra Maldonado 44:56
Every time we talk about this topic, I’m always having flashbacks of every age, I’m connecting the dots. I’m sure all of you listening can be like “I remember that event, I remember that time.” That ego identity, that role confusion, if you look at all those high school comedies where the kid feels awkward, they’re trying to fit in, coming of age movies are all about that idea of fitting in, who’s cool and who’s not, wanting to be with the in crowd. It’s interesting how the culture reflects these ideas. Next week, we’ll talk about 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, what’s happening after that. But again, we have to come to terms with each of these in our life.
Robert Maldonado 46:06
That’s an important piece to understand. Erickson was saying, when you don’t meet the challenges of the stage, you’re going to have problems in the next stage, because you haven’t come to terms with the previous stage. But there’s some good news. The mind, the brain is malleable, neuroplasticity. We’re are capable of change. But of course, you have to know what you’re doing in order to access these deeper layers that have been laid down so early on. You can access them, you can bring them to awareness and change those patterns.
Debra Maldonado 46:56
I want to remind you all to make sure you subscribe to our channel here. Click the button in the corner if you’re watching us on YouTube. If you’re listening to us on the podcast services, click on the Subscribe button, so you don’t miss next week’s episode, where we talk about adulthood and all the challenges we have in adulthood that you may not be aware of. I really enjoyed this conversation. I’m gonna have to do some contemplation on myself after this. Very powerful and interesting part of Eric Erickson’s contribution to psychology off the back of Anna Freud, and Freud and Jung. Fascinating conversation.
Robert Maldonado 47:41
Another brilliant mind. We still study and we still use his ideas in our coaching models.
Debra Maldonado 47:50
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