SPIRITUAL TURNING POINTS: A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE SEVEN LIFE TRANSITIONS
by Victoria Marina-Tompkins
LIFE TRANSITION TWO
ESTABLISHING PERSONAL IDENTITY (ages 2-4)
Identity Is Established
"The positive of this transition is self-identity and the negative is narcissism, which has to do with self-absorption. A child who is narcissistic believes in theory that he is separate but does not create an identity for himself in relationship to the parent. Children who do not complete this monad around the age of three in Western cultures and somewhat later in non-Western do not have a clear sense of their separateness and can experience serious emotional and psychological problems as they move into middle childhood. With a child who has not centered himself, there can be a constant internal conflict concerning where personal boundaries lie; and this struggle looks, to the external eye, as having a lack of focus or presence. On the other hand, young children who complete this transition with a clear sense of personal identity have sorted through who they are in relationship to the mother or primary caregiver, no longer believing that they are the mother.
As the personality develops, the family icon begins to become more apparent as the child learns that if he behaves a certain way, i.e., “the curious one” or “the entertainer” that he will receive approval from the parents. Even when the icon is more negative, the parents still expect the behaviors associated with it, and the child learns that he is seen in a certain way and in order to be accepted in the family he must act according to the iconographic projection. This correlation between the icon and the developing personality is an integral part of the new persona as the child uses it to interact with both the parents as well with as the world at large"
c.2011 Victoria Marina-Tompkins All Rights Reserved
Photograph of Zander Merrill by Whitney Merrill