I am currently 26 years old. Recently, I have been experiencing a challenging issue when it comes to trusting people. I am finding it very difficult to trust people. This includes friends, companions and even some family members. Trusting people in the past has brought all sorts of misery. This is because some of the people I have trusted in the past have taken advantage of the situation and exploited that aspect in one way or another. As a result, I am finding it difficult to trust people. I am always approaching any form of relationship with suspicion. It is a way of life that I have developed to help me avoid the bad experiences I have had in the past.
The psychological stage in Erikson’s theory that corresponds to my chronological age is the one on Intimacy vs. Isolation. This is the age that comprises young adults between the ages of 18 to 40 years. It is the stage where people start sharing themselves intimately with others. Other than family members, people start exploring other forms of relationships. Most of them are intended to result in long-term commitments. The majority of the people that complete this stage successfully end up having comfortable relationships. These are relationships that offer a sense of safety, commitment and care (Malone et al., 2016). When people fear commitments, avoid intimacy and relationships, it can result to loneliness, isolation and sometimes depression. Erikson also believes that there are times when people get isolated due to intimacy. They are afraid of break-ups or being turned down.
Erikson’s theoretical concepts for this psychological stage apply to the challenging issue that I am facing currently. The challenge of not trusting people has a negative impact on my relationships. It is usually difficult to establish long-term intimate relationships when there are trust issues. When men approach me, I tend to build a wall. This is meant to prevent them from exploring the issue further. I am always full of excuses that I am sure will keep them off. This is regardless of whether they seem to be good or bad guys. I have an experience whereby I met people that seemed very good, but how they changed over time could not be understood. As a result, I am having problems indulging in committed relationships. I usually think of the worst that could happen based on how I view the people I am going out with. I don’t feel any form of safety while indulging in relationships. Having trust issues has been the main contributor to this occurrence. Due to this, I tend to feel lonely and isolated at times. I undertake most of the activities on my own. These are the kind of activities that people do with their partners. Sometimes it feels off, but I have to carry on. Isolation creeps in when I have something that I want to share with someone; mostly something serious that I would like to remain a secret. When you do not trust the person you are seeing, it becomes difficult to let them in (Carducci, 2009).
Based on the above insight, I think I have to deal with the trust issues that I have. Failure to trust people will have severe effects as I progress in life. The effect on my intimacy life might extend to other areas that are not even connected. This is due to the feeling of isolation and maybe occurrence of depression due to lack of an outlet for the things affecting me. I need to start trusting people again, but this will be executed in baby steps. Seeking help from a qualified professional is something I will consider in order to resolve this issue.
Carducci, B. J. (2009). The psychology of personality: Viewpoints, research, and applications. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Malone, J. C., Liu, S. R., Vaillant, G. E., Rentz, D. M., & Waldinger, R. J. (2016). Midlife Eriksonian psychosocial development: Settingthe stage for late-life cognitive and emotional health. Developmental Psychology, 52(3), 496-508.
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Wilt, J., Cox, K. S., & Mcadams, D. P. (2010). The Eriksonian Life Story: Developmental Scripts and Psychosocial Adaptation. Journal of Adult Development J Adult Dev, 17(3), 156-161.
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