Intimacy vs. Isolation
Student Mental Health Psychotherapy>Address Problems>Developmental Hurdle>Pyschosocial Stages>
Love: Intimacy vs. Isolation (Young Adults, 20 to 34 years)
• Main Question: "Am I loved and wanted?" or "Shall I share my life with someone or live alone?"
• Ego quality: Love
• Related Elements in Society: patterns of cooperation (often marriage)
Main article: Young adult (psychology)
Body and ego must be masters of organ modes and of the other nuclear conflicts in order to face the fear of ego loss in situations that call for self-abandonment. Avoiding these experiences leads to openness and self-absorption
The Intimacy vs. Isolation conflict is emphasized around the ages of 20 to 34. At the start of this stage, identity vs. role confusion is coming to an end, and it still lingers at the foundation of the stage (Erikson, 1950). Young adults are still eager to blend their identities with friends. They want to fit in. Erikson believes we are sometimes isolated due to intimacy. We are afraid of rejections such as being turned down or our partners breaking up with us. We are familiar with pain, and to some of us, rejection is painful; our egos cannot bear the pain. Erikson also argues that "Intimacy has a counterpart: Distantiation: the readiness to isolate and if necessary, to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own, and whose territory seems to encroach on the extent of one's intimate relations" (1950).
Once people have established their identities, they are ready to make long-term commitments to others. They become capable of forming intimate, reciprocal relationships (e.g. through close friendships or marriage) and willingly make the sacrifices and compromises that such relationships require. If people cannot form these intimate relationships--(perhaps because of their own needs)--a sense of isolation may result.