1.30 IDENTITY -- PSYCHOLOGY ABUSE TERMS, CONCEPTS
MEANING: This is a critical term in the understanding of abuse. Everyone knows what identity is, but it is very hard to pin down. Identity is your sense of self: who you believe you are, how you think of yourself, your self-image that you have over time. Identity often involves gender, values, and roles such as wife or husband, father or mother, son or daughter, along with career, skills and accomplishments.
RELEVANCE TO ABUSE: Establishing your identity independent of others is crucial to freeing yourself from abuse. When you are sure of yourself, abusers will have a hard time 'pushing your buttons'. Problems arise when your identity gets muddled. Abusers can get you to believe in the abusers' definition of identity. Who you are then becomes who the abuser says you are. If you believe the abuser, he or she now has control over your identity to a certain extent. This makes you vulnerable to the abusers' manipulations. However, you can free yourself by taking control of your own identity. Then you do not try to meet the expectations of the abuser. This is not easy or painless. Removing oneself, creating personal distance and establishing boundaries can be quite difficult.
PERSONAL NOTE FROM RICK DOBLE: In my last phone call with my abusive brother, he tried to coerce me by telling me that if I wanted to think of myself as a good person, I needed to agree to what he wanted. If I did not, I would be a bad person and he was going to be severely disappointed. I countered with, "I no longer care what you think." He was shocked as he had no reply to that argument and had no further way to manipulate me.
MORE ABOUT IDENTITY: When children grow up and leave, when a job changes, when a person retires, an identity crisis can occur. This means that individuals will have to rebuild their identities. Far from being an abnormal situation, psychologists such as Erik Erikson believe identity crises are a normal part of living that each person must go through to progress to the next stage of life. The common expression, 'reinventing oneself' is a successful resolution of an identity crisis. A person may go through a number of identity crises during a lifetime.
Changing your identity is complex as the reconstructed identity must be true to your past and true to your sense of your future. A crisis is often caused by a loss so that you will also being going through stages of grief while reestablishing who you are.
RELATED WORDS AND PHRASES: self-esteem, worth, identification, identify with=== For An Article About Identity Crisis
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