Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Intimacy vs. Isolation?

As mentioned in my “bio” my formal education is grounded in developmental psychology and Erik Erikson is by far my favorite theorist in this area.  While he focused on ego psychology, he was certainly influenced by Freud.  I appreciate that his theories were developed using the lens of culture and society.  And I really like that his theory suggests that each stage builds upon the one before, with the opportunity to revisit unresolved conflicts at any point.  And that brings me to today’s post.
I was 40 when my marriage ended.  The stage of “Intimacy vs. Isolation” ends (in theory) at age 40.  For some time, I’ve felt that I must not have been successful at this stage due to having my marriage fail.  I’m now questioning if that is accurate.  Perhaps I’ve been a little hard on myself with this.  I think I may have been more successful than I give myself credit for. My ex and I were together for 16 years, married for 13 of those years.  We explored that relationship, and in reality discovered that it wasn’t comfortable for either of us, nor did the relationship bring a sense of commitment, safety and care.  Failure it seems would be if we hadn’t even tried.  I have the virtue of love, and the capacity to love…just need to find the right person for me.
"Intimacy vs. Isolation
Occurring in young adulthood (ages 18 to 40), we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family member.
Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love."
I’m curious what effect changing my thought process from failure to success in “Intimacy vs. Isolation” (a very recent reframe for me that I need more time with) will have in my efforts to be open to a new, healthy relationship.  So I ask you…
…what do you think?
…have you had similar experiences or thoughts?
…do you think that it is possible to be successful at intimacy if a marriage fails?
…what impact might you think it would have on Erikson’s next stage “Generativity vs. Stagnation?
…I hope you will comment.  As women, community is important and that is what I hope to create here, with this blog.
Age 40 - 65 is the stage Erikson called Generativity vs. Stagnation, stay tuned for an upcoming post about that.
Did you miss me?  I was out of town for a week, off celebrating my daughter's 30th birthday (how can it be that I have a 30 y.o.?!?

Early morning flight from Seattle - Sunrise

Love flying over mountains - so pretty!

My daughter (and her hubby) continue to surprise me with diverse interests.

And look, they even got me to try my hand at shooting clays!

Photos are all mine!

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