After researching some theories about personality we find that they all draw from one another. The same can be said for the theories that we have looked at recently. These include theories from Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, and Harry Sullivan. These theories have there similarities and be applied to the same thing if need be. Of these theories, all of them can be applied to me, the one that fits best is that of Alfred Adler.
One of the first things that Adler talks about in his theory is the fact that the human can be viewed as a social creature.
Many good examples can be found here, especially about children raised in isolation. There are many cases about children who, for some reason or another, were raised with hardly any human contact at all. Usually the child was born of wedlock and the family was embarrassed so they hid the child away form everyone. These children, when found, were socially inhibited and in extreme cases showed violence to other people.
These children were then often institutionalized to see if any social skills could be recovered. Many times the child could only operate at a preschool level, many of them were at the age of 10 or older.
Another one of Adler’s points is the fact that humans have this feeling of being inferior. This part of his theory is one of the major points that in my opinion makes it best fit to me. The whole world is based on this principle. Why would there be inventions to make life easier or why would people go to college. They certainly do not do these things just for fun. If it were not for these feeling’s societies would become stagnant and would quit trying to better themselves. These feeling’s drive me in the game of football. I am always trying to get better, to find some way to outplay my opponent. This also drives me in the off-season. I participate in a weight program to get stronger so I can physically outmuscle my opponent.
Another major aspect of Adler’s theory is his explanation of social interest. This is the fact that people will care for others and this sense of caring will guide their behavior in some way. Many different groups in society demonstrate this. The Salvation Army is one of these groups. Many of the people that work in this group are volunteers, they do not do it for pay, they perform their job because they know that they are helping someone. Another group would be the Peace Corps. Why would someone give up in upwards of three years of their life in order to help someone in poverty or some other distress?
Finally there is Adler’s relation of birth order to personality. This is the most important part of his theory for application to my life. I am a middle born child and while I do not fit in with some of what Adler says, my other siblings fit his descriptions to the number. My older sister is textbook first born. She always is annoyed by people that she thinks are on a lower level than she is. For instance, I told her about some problems that I was having with some people in my dorm. People were walking through my room whenever they wanted and I really didn’t want them to do it. Her solution to the problem is to tell them off and block the door so that they can not walk through any more. These guys were also much larger than I was and I really did not think that would solve anything.
My younger brother also fits Adler’s youngest child theory. He is 14 and is the only child that is at home right now, so he might also be considered an only child also. He often gets everything that he wants. For instance, he wanted to buy a paintball gun. I had wanted one for a while, but I had to raise my own money to buy it. He asked for one and my parents bought it for him. This made me more than a little mad but I was happy to get to shoot him.
Another theory that somewhat works for me but a mostly does not, is the theory of Karen Horney. I agree with the notion that there is a basic sense of anxiety. I deal with anxiety everyday in my classes and with other people. Just because we have a little anxiety does not mean that we are going to have a neurotic need of some sort. Many people, some of them my friends, go out and do things when the anxiety becomes too much. They often try to overshadow somebody or try to trick somebody into feeling sorry for them. She also talks about the idealized self-image. My friend Lane does not fit with what she is trying to say. He looks down on himself almost every day. He will say things like I am such a loser, I have no friends, or I am not any good any way. I do not believe that this is his real self being revealed either. This has been an on going thing since I met him my freshman year.
Another theory that we looked at was Harry Stack Sullivan. I can also apply much of his theory to my own life but I do not think that it was a good fit. His modes, such as prototaxic, syntaxic, and parataxic I believe do not work. I do not remember any of the examples of the prototaxic mode being displayed in any of my younger cousins. In the parataxic mode things can be associated together like hot water and the burning sensation. My little cousin tried green beans one time from the baby food jar. She thought that they were gross, yet she will eat green beans today. She is about four years old now. In the parataxic mode the child will look for validation form someone that it has seen. This is the one part that I would agree with. My cousin Justin will ask me if that animal track that we see is a specific one. He usually guesses right but he looks to me for the validation if he is right or not.
All of these theories have their strong points but the one that works the best for me is the theory of Erickson. This is because there are many good societal examples that can be applied to his theory. I believe that a person’s society plays a very important role in personality. Because his theory applies mostly to the society that we live in, that is why I believe that it works the best.
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