The famous eight stages of psychosocial development theory introduced by the German-American psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson explicit the stages of personality that an individual portrays from infancy to adulthood. As pointed out by psychologist Erik in each stage a person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could impact both positively and negatively. The conflict created with psychological needs on a person colliding against the society leads to such psychosocial crisis situations. However, a person that successfully completes each stage of these development gains a basic level of virtues with an uplifting personality.
Intimacy vs Isolation is the sixth stage in Erik’s theory of psychosocial development, likely to occur in the young adulthood years spanning from 19 to 40 years in life. At this stage, human psychology seeks intimacy, closeness, togetherness, love, affection and a sense of being accepted and cared for. Two different extremes are likely to occur in this stage, where one would thoroughly search for closed relationships and friendships, where intimacies are formed that are generally beyond family bonds. It is also the same stage where an individual confronts quite a number of close friendships and deep relationships opened in their life journeys. Individuals that become successful in resolving conflicts in relationships and maintaining a greater intimacy with each other are likely to attain a certain degree of happiness in their adolescent years. Whilst on the other extreme the ones that fear intimacy, being open with another, falling in love are likely to be depressed over isolation, loneliness and abandonment.
One of the core reasons supporting the wellbeing of this stage of psychosocial development is the virtue of fidelity gained at the fifth stage of Identity versus Role Confusion, which is occurred in the early teenage where the children hunt to explore where they stand amongst their friends, mostly tend to question themselves as to “Who they are?”, what is their standing in the society, will they be accepted amongst others? Such questions probe and successful identification of their exact role enable them to gain a sense of well-balanced control in their life in the latter stage. Individuals who know what they want in life, what aspirations they leverage on, which dreams they want to achieve, whom they want to be, despite all odds, obstacles, hindrances by failing and rising they will reach their subtle dreams in life. Commonly, only a person that can love their own self would only have an emotional space and an intellectual capacity to show love to another.
Intimacy addressed at this stage may not only be the relationship one has with a partner, but also the embedded intimacy in close friendships. Such bondages support you abundantly allowing a greater sense of happiness to cover your life. People with a greater sense of controllability in life derived from grasping true self-identification create ample room to be opened, honest and closed with another forming deep relationship. At times such relationships could be romantic driven or just intimate in its presence. Lasting relationships are formed at this stage which is crucial for overall life-lasting happiness in a person.
Some fear this stage as they are reluctant to fight against their egotism that has to be tamed when sharing life with another person. From a partner’s viewpoint, finding an understandable character who would respect and love you for who you are is supposedly challenging, bearing to such situations they choose to not form a closed union with another person. However, it is psychologically proven and logically accepted that any person needs another person closely in their life.
Tenderly subjective in nature as how it affects someone varies from one person to another. For some despite all the social connectivity s/he enjoys at some point of given time in life they may feel isolated and a sense of emptiness within, whilst for another absence of a close-knit circle of friends or an intimate partner could result in feelings of depression, low self-esteem and anxiety. Loneliness and isolation have direct links with physical and mental health. Sleep disruption, cognitive impairment, lack of focus on day time function, prolonged thinking, inability to enjoy the present moment are likely to activate stress hormones, disrupt immune and cardiovascular function. Anatomy that is always on fear and anxiety reduces physical activeness increasing blood pressure and other neurotic conditions which has a direct impact on blood flow to the heart. The main reason why many depressed and stressed victims attain suicide.
For a person very specifically in the age of late teens up until matured adulthood, if they are not settled down in life with a profound family, kids and sound income, whilst favorable social connectivity with extended family, friends and relatives their minds are likely to get doomed with the idea of being left out from the society with no friend or family to share a moment in life. They feel unaccepted by the world, hence try to live a life on their own in secrecy. They feel like a tiny creature in a gigantic world forgotten and not recognized by anyone. Such minds end up in severe drug abuse and alcohol addictions. They use the mode of drugs as a pillar to escape from reality and get isolated in the non-realistic state of mind. Therapy is the main cure for such psychopathic individuals. Perhaps, self-isolation could be a free choice they have made being feared out to get intimate with another person in life. The lack of self-confidence hinders them in opening up themselves to another person in order to form an intimate relationship. A person with an isolated mindset would get emotionally harmed seeing their friends having intimate relationships, getting married, making kids and living a beautiful life. Also, a person with a brutal past filled with memories that left only scarce in the mind and nothing else psychologically fear to get close with another presuming that person would judge you over your past. Ultimately isolation devours the happiness left in the mind pushing them towards stillness and loneliness.
Why do you think many want to post over social media as to what they do, where they go, what milestone they have achieved in life, or write a bio of half a page? Every human being wants to feel recognized by society, appreciated by the circle of people you know and loved by your closest characters. Those are the basic needs of a man as stated by famous inventors such as Maslow and Erik. We all thrive to gain at least a smaller share in this massive world in order to not feel forgotten or unseen. When you are taken care of by another person, it could be a family member, a friend, or your partner the happy hormones in your body; the dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin trigger contentment. Any living being needs positive survival.
Whether you choose intimacy or isolation depends on your state of mind. There could be people who may have nothing seemingly but have achieved the world, for instance, the famous Nick Vujicic; the man with no limbs who inspire the world. It all trickles down to the point whether your will is sufficient enough to drive you towards a balanced state of mind. The mind is free for any form of thought, hence if you fill it with the positive cluster end result could be favorable, but if you choose the opposite and dump it with negativity, depressive thoughts and pessimistic outlook one would never see the brighter side of life. Attitude plays a key role, how you choose to perceive life makes you a winner or a loser at the end. The choice is yours.