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Defensive Personality Studied Through Personality Psychology Trait Theories

917 words - 4 pages

A person with a defensive personality may feel as though they are being attacked and to cope with it they need to defend their choice of words and actions when they are dealing with other individuals. My younger sister, Carlee, has a defensive personality. We have the same mother, but different fathers. This caused us to be raised in different situations. She has moved around a lot, going from my dad’s house, to our mom’s house, and to her dad’s house. She did not have a set place where she could call her “home”. Generally, Carlee is a good kid and listens, and does not argue too much. However, as siblings usually do, there are quarrels between us. She will get overly defensive and extremely furious very easily. She overreacts to the littlest comments, and actions. To discuss her defensive trait, I will be discussing personality psychology trait theories by Lawrence Kohlberg and Erik Erikson.
Erickson, a psychologist on psychological stages of development, proposed that personal development was directly impacted by social experiences. One of the main elements of his stage development theory is the development of the ego identity, or the conscious sense of self that is developed through social interaction. Conflict in each stage is a central point of Erikson’s theory. Each developmental stage focuses on conflicts that must be successfully resolved to develop a particular psychological quality. In his theory, each stage builds upon the previous stages, and therefore, failure to master specific qualities will affect a person’s future development. I believe to associate the theories with the behavior of my sister, this would take place in stage four. There were times that were stressful with her mom and dad, and there were times where she did not have the same encouragement that my brother and I had when we were her age. In Stage 4, Industry vs. Inferiority, children approximately 5 to 11 years of age begin to take pride in their accomplishments and abilities, or conversely feel inferior due to their failures ( ). It is the encouragement of parents and teachers that leads to the sense of pride, which is required to successfully achieve a feeling of industry. A lack of encouragement and support will inevitably lead to feelings of inferiority. Since she did not receive this encouragement, this could be what causes her to defend herself so vigorously to others.
Erickson might say that the lack of encouragement Carlee received when she was younger has caused her to not believe in herself so much, so she feels that she has to defend herself to people when they tell her something. However, Lawrence Kohlberg, a...

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