Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Captain Narcissism

A while back I think I mentioned that I was reading the Narcissism Epidemic. And by reading, I mean I read a few chapters until I got bored. (Oh... and I did the self-test to determine how narcissistic I am, and I was pleased to find out that I was only at medium levels!)

Well, after some more introspection spawned by my insane addiction to all things that a teenage girl would be obsessed with (namely Twilight, Hannah Montana, and nail polish) I have decided that a long-ago thought of conclusion about my own psyche is now more of a truth than ever.

In one of my psych classes, we discussed Erikson's (that cute little German dude to the left!) stages of psychological development. An interesting point that my professor brought up was that when a child goes through a trauma during one of the stages of development, the child can remain stuck in that stage of development long-term. So after years of being focused on me, I've decided that I'm perhaps halfway stuck in the fifth stage of Erikson's 8 stages. This is the stage during adolescence (13-19) where adolescents are concerned about how they appear to others. One of the defining psycho-characteristics of this stage of development is that the child feels that they're constantly on a "stage", being scrutinized by others. This stage in development really stuck out when I was learning this originally in college when my professor said that children in this stage assume that everybody is watching them.

Well, I hate to break it to myself, but that's how I feel! That people are watching what I do. I mean, I suppose I know they aren't really, but even today as I was eating breakfast on the way to work I was concerned with what the car next to me would think if she saw me eat in the car. So I glanced over at the driver expecting them to be judging me and my breakfast on the run, and of course she was just doing her own thing!

My theory that I'm stuck in stage 5 came up again when I was discussing Eclipse with a co-worker. Now granted, every woman and her dog practically loves this book/movie series, but I'm obsessed! (Not that this is so abnormal, but combined with my love for Disney Channel shows like Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana, I'm starting to notice a trend.)

Finally, today I was discussing with one of my college besties my need for a life plan and how I want to go work in the movie industry doing promotions. We were talking about movies and famous people, and how I'm the ultimate escapist. I know movies/books/TV isn't real life, but oh how I struggle sometimes! (I mean, honestly.... I'm sure Rob P. would be my buddy if we ever met!) Now not that being the ultimate escapist is directly related or mentioned in Erikson's stages (at least not that I've researched so far), but I can't help but think that my unnatural longing for something more, that most likely isn't reality, are the same desires of an adolescent with the world at the fingertips. I'm a bit unrealistic, and am in-turn disappointed when life isn't movie-tastic! Surely it's related!

So today brought me back to college psych 101, and Erikson's stages of development. My trauma was the whole Dad dying thing when I was 17. All of the aforementioned thoughts are those, too, of a 17 year old version of myself. Thus, I officially declare myself stuck between stage 5 and 6. Not sure how I feel about this. I suppose I feel ok, as I just do what I do! But after all these years, it just goes to show that sometimes people never grow up, and that major life events affect people for years to come in unimaginable ways!

(For more info on Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, click the title!)

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