Intimacy versus isolation: Why are relationships so important?
Erik Erikson was a psychologist of the 20th century. He analyzed and divided the human experience into eight stages of development. Each stage has a...
Erik Erikson was a psychologist of the 20th century. He analyzed and divided the human experience into eight stages of development. Each stage has a unique conflict and a unique result.
One of these stages - intimacy versus isolation - highlights the difficulty that young adults face in developing intimate and loving relationships. This is the sixth stage of development, according to Erikson.
As people progressed through these stages, He thought they would gain skills that would help them succeed in later stages. However, if they had difficulty acquiring these skills, they could have difficulties.
According to Erikson, at the stage of intimacy against isolation, success means having healthy and fulfilling relationships. Failure means living loneliness or isolation.
What this means
Although the word intimacy may suggest a sexual relationship, this is not how Erikson described it.
According to him, intimacy is a relationship of love of all kinds. It requires you to share with others. This can help you develop deeply personal relationships.
Yes, in some cases it can be a romantic relationship. It is believed that this stage of development was between the ages of 19 and 40 - it is precisely at this point that most people might be looking for a romantic partner for life.
However, he did not think that romance was the only attempt to create intimacy. Instead, it's a time when people can develop lasting and fulfilling relationships with people who are not part of the family.
Those who were your "best friends" in high school can become valuable elements of your inner circle. They could also fall and become acquaintances. This is a time when these distinctions are often made.
Isolation, on the other hand, is an attempt on the part of a person to avoid intimacy. This may be because you fear engagement or are hesitant to open up intimately to anyone.
Isolation can prevent you from developing healthy relationships. It can also be the result of relationships that have collapsed and can be a self-destructive cycle.
If you were hurt in an intimate relationship, you might fear intimacy in the future. This can cause you to not open to others. This can in turn cause loneliness, even social isolation and depression.
What leads to intimacy or isolation?
Intimacy is a choice to open up to others and to share who you are and your experiences to create strong and lasting relationships. When you introduce yourself and restore your confidence, you develop intimacy.
If these efforts are rejected or if you are rejected in one way or another, you can withdraw. Fear of being fired, rejected or hurt can cause you to separate from others.
In the end, this can lead to low self-esteem, which can make you even less likely to venture into relationships or new friendships.
How do you go from isolation to intimacy?
Erikson believed that to continue to develop as a healthy person, each stage of development needed to be successfully completed. Otherwise, they will be blocked and may not be able to complete the subsequent steps.
For this phase of development, this means that you must learn to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Otherwise, the two remaining development phases may be compromised.
Isolation is often the result of fear of rejection or dismissal. If you are afraid of being rejected or pushed away from a potential friend or romantic partner, you can completely avoid interactions.
This may cause you to avoid any future attempts to build relationships.
To move from isolation to intimacy, you must resist the tendency to avoid others and avoid difficult relationship issues. He calls you to be open and honest with yourself and others. This is often difficult for people who tend to isolate themselves.
it may prevent intimacy and help you develop strategies to move from isolation to intimate and fulfilling relationships.
What happens if you do not manage this stage of development correctly?
If you are not completing any stage of development it would be problematic in the future. If you are not able to develop a strong sense of personal identity (Step 5), you may have difficulty developing healthy relationships.
Problems at this stage of development may prevent you from feeding people or projects that will "leave your mark" on future generations.
In addition, long-term isolation can affect your mental health. ResearchTrusted Source shows that loneliness and social isolation can cause cardiovascular disease.
Some people may be able to have a relationship, even if they do not establish strong intimate bonds. But that might not be successful in the long run.
One study, Source Certified, found that women who could not develop strong intimacy skills were more likely to be divorced before middle age.
The bottom line
Healthy and successful relationships are the result of many elements of development, including a sense of identity.
Building these relationships also depends on knowing how to communicate openly and honestly. Whether or not you attribute your development to Erikson's philosophy, healthy relationships are beneficial for many reasons.
If you have trouble establishing or maintaining relationships, a therapist may be able to help you.
A qualified mental health expert can help you overcome a tendency to isolate yourself. They can also help you prepare with the right tools to build lasting relationships.
A therapist can be helpful at this stage. They can help you understand behaviors