Erik Erikson’s is a Neo-Freudian; his theory is the expanding of Sigmund Freud’s theory. He expands it with other dimension and increases the time of development. Freud’s psychosexual theory emphasises that personalities develop in the early childhood, but Erikson does not agree with him and stated that development occurs from born until dead, thus , he increases the number of stages until late adulthood. Besides that, Erikson also stressed on the influences of cognitive and social interaction in development. He only partially believes in Freud theory about the unconscious mind. He believes that ego represent personality better than id.
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Erikson divided development into eight unique stages. In each stage, a crisis and conflict occur and we have to come out with an appropriate solution. If the crisis is failed to overcome, it will be brought forward to the next stage and hence affects the development inthe future stages. Erikson’s theory is discontinuous within stages but continues between stages. He used the term epigenetic principle, which means that if someone had faced a problem and delayed the development on a particular stage, the following stages will also face problems or will not develop well (Fleming, 2004). Vice versa, if it is a successful development at the first stage, then the later stages may develop positively as well. However, the earlier stages can reoccur again in anytime (Sneed, Whitbourne, & Culang, 2006). When the conflict on the particular stage is overcome, then the ego strength will increase, and higher ego strength tends to have higher chances of successful development of personality in the future. The opposite strength of ego strength is core pathology which decreases as ego strength increase.
Introduction about Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 and died on September 5, 1997 (Abrams, 1997). Her birth name is Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu and she adopted the name Teresa from Saint Teresa of Lisieux, the patron saint of foreign missionaries (Leo, 2001). She was born in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Skopje was part of the Ottoman Empire at the time of her birth and Skopje was conquered by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1912, when Mother Teresa was two years old (Hitchens, 2013).
Mother Teresa was the youngest in her family with an elder sister, Aga and a brother, Lazar. Her father, Nikola Bojaxhiu was a well-known contractor that died when Mother Teresa was 8 years old. By the age of 12, Mother Teresa felt the call from the God to serve Him as a nun (Leo, 2001). By the age of 18, Mother Teresa made up her mind and became a nun. She left her home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto of Dublin. She was sent to India in the year of 1929 (Rosenberg, 2013). She taught in Saint Mary’s High School in Calcutta, India for 20 years (Leo, 2001).
On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa received a “call within a call” from God to help the poor while she was traveling to Darjeeling (Rosenberg, 2013). In 1948, Pope Pious XII gave Mother Teresa the permission to leave her duties (Leo, 2001). After she left her duties in order to help the poor and homeless people, she began an open-aired school and established a home for the dying destitute in an old building (Hitchens, 2013). Home for the dying destitute is now known as hospice. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity” that was intended to help the poor, uncared and homeless people (Leo, 2001).
In 1965, “The Missionaries of Charity” became an international Religious Family with the decree of Pope Paul VI. In 1979, Mother Teresa’s hard work had been recognised and she was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. Besides that, she was also awarded by Pope John XXIII with the Peace Prize on 1971, Nehru Prize on 1972, Balzan Proze on 1979 and Templeton and Magsaysay awards (Abrams, 1997). On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa passed away because of severe cardiac arrest (Leo, 2001).
1st Stage Trust vs. Mistrust
This stage happens from birth to one year old. The new born infant first experiences the world; they need to know that they will face many challenges in their future life. A constant attention and skin ship are very important for the infancy in this stage. The care giver plays an important role and has big influences on infancy to overcome the crisis. If the Infancies basic needs cannot be fulfill, the baby may developed mistrust. Vice versa, the infancy can be said has developed trust if the infancies can stay calmed even though the care givers is not around them.
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 in Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia (“Nobel Prize,” 1979). Mother Teresa was the third and the last children in her family. Parents tend to love their youngest child more. (“The Telegraph,” 2011). Mother Teresa may receive many loves and care from her parents. She will get the attentions that are very important to overcome the crisis in this stage. Besides, Mother Teresa father, Nikola was a successful businessman and her mother, Dranafile is a house wife who stayed at home and takes care of their children. It is obvious that Dranafile can pay all her attention on taking care of her new born baby, Mother Teresa. Hence, Mother Teresa developed trust.
Mother Teresa was born in Albanian Catholic family (Rosenberg, 2013). Albania is a mountainous country, 28,748 square miles in size, slightly larger than the state of Maryland (Jurgens, 2013). There are no any evidence show how the Albanian raise their children in year 1910. However, Skopje, the place where Mother Teresa was born is predominant Muslim city in the Balkans (Jurgens, 2013). There are also no evidence shows the crisis between Muslim and Christian in Macedonia in 1910.
2nd Stage Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
The second stage occurs between one to three years old. Toddlers start to try to control their body movement. They want to do things such as walking, eating and bowel control by their own. If the parent is impatient and often show anger towards the toddlers when the toddlers are practicing to do things, the toddlers will developed shamed and doubt on themselves. In this period, it is important that parents set rules of standards on toddler’s behavior. The toddlers should have the idea of what can do and what cannot do, learning the “law and order”.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Albania’s fight for independence. In 1912, during World War I Albania became protectorate of the Great Powers after a short period of independence in 1912 (Jurgens, 2013). Mother Teresa that when she is 2 years old. During the war, parents couldn’t have the full attention on their children. In this case, Mother Teresa has to learn skills all by herself. Nevertheless, since she is the last children in her family, her parents already have the experiences when growing up the elder children. She will also receive the rules to control her behaviour. Mother Teresa’s parents was Christian, they will have discipline to restraint Mother Teresa behaviors as well. Moreover, Erikson’s theory stated that the positive outcome of the earlier stages will lead to successful development in the future stages. Mother Teresa developed trust in first stages, hence, she has higher chance to overcome the crisis in this stages.
3rd Stage Initiative vs. Guilt
On this stage, the children will start to be more active and parents may see the child’s action as aggressive (Bee, 1992). At the age of 3 years old, children will start to play game and play with the others. If the child is given an opportunity, the child will develop the sense of initiative and feel secure with their ability to make decisions and to guide others (McLeod, 2008).
In the same age, the children will also start to ask many questions because they are curious of why the specific event happened or why the object is called the specific name. If the parents treated those questions as annoyance and scolded the child for asking many questions may lead the child to develop guilt in them (McLeod, 2008).
At this stage, we cannot identify any specific evidence in order to relate or proof that Mother Teresa adopted initiative or guilt in her life because of the insufficient biographical evidence.
4th Stage Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority
On stage four, children will start to learn how to write, read, mathematical skill and even do things by their own. At this stage, the teachers play an important role in order to help the children to learn the skill needed.
Also this stage, the major source of the child’s self-esteem will come from the child’s peer group. The children now will feel the need to win approval from the peer group by showing their skills that are valued by the society. This will help the child to develop the sense of provide in the children’s accomplishments (McLeod, 2008).
If children are reinforced for their initiative, they will start to feel industrious and they will feel confident with their own ability to achieve goals. In contrast, if children cannot develop skill that they think society is demanding then children may develop the sense of inferiority (McLeod, 2008).
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At the age of 8 years old, Mother Teresa lost her father and she became close with her mother who was a pious and compassionate woman that instilled Mother Teresa with a deep commitment to charity (Hitchens, 2013). This proved that Mother Teresa was taught by her mother to do charity and it affected Mother Teresa’s life deeply. To involve in charity became a necessary skill in Mother Teresa’s life as the skill was deeply implant by her mother. Mother Teresa develops the need to involve in charity and was reinforced by her mother and Mother Teresa build confident in her and continues her good job involving in charity.
5th stage identity vs. identity confusion
We will go through this stage approximately from the age of 13 to the age of 18 years old. During this stage, the adolescent will face finding out who they really are and what can they become in the future. If one explore ones role in a healthy manner then a positive identity will resolve, if not, identity confusion will reign.
At the age of 12, she felt strongly the call of God to serve Him as a nun. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. For about 5 years Mother Theresa thought hard about it. During this time, she was very active in church and also helped her mother to give food to the poor. Having read many articles, she was very determined to become a nun. 18 years old, she left her parental home in Skojpe and joined the sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with mission in India. Later on, she traveled all the way to India. She never retuned back home after that.
Mother Theresa achieved a very positive identity to become a nun. Although she had to think long and hard about it, she was very determined to follow the call of God to become a nun. She also had an identity of a good daughter and neighbour by helping her mother to give out food to the poor almost every day.
6th stage intimacy vs. isolation
The 6th stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development is intimacy versus isolation which we will go through when we are young adults, approximately from the age 20 to 40 years old. During this stage, young adults want to fit in and find love. They want to have an intimate, loving relationship with one another. If that particular person does not find this intimacy or does not know how to show love, he or she will then become depressed and isolated. Erikson’s psychosocial theory is always based on the previous stage. Therefore, if the person did not find his or her identity, then that person will find it hard to love and to be intimate with another person, hence that person is more frequent to isolation and depression.
During this period of age, Mother Theresa taught geography and catechism at St. Mary’s, Calcutta, India. All the girls in her class loved her hence she was their favorite teacher. Mother Theresa soon became the principal of St. Mary’s in 1944. She also has an intimate relationship with Christ. Unfortunately, Mother Theresa was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to stop teaching. She was sent to Darjeeling to rest. During her train ride to Darjeeling, Mother Theresa received her second call. During that moment, she was inspired by a message to get out of the convent and go leave with the needy. After almost 20 years with the Loreto order, Mother Theresa left the convent to first spend some weeks in Patna with the Medical Mission Sisters to have some basic medical knowledge. When she was 38 years old, Mother Theresa was ready to go out into the slums of India to help the poorest of the poor. While walking in the slums, Mother Theresa found some small children. The only thing she was great at that time was teaching and therefore she began to give an education to the little children in the slums using only sticks and mud then later on rented a hut and turned it into a classroom. She also began visiting other families in the slum to offer them love and limited medical help. Other people heard of what she was doing and gave her donations. Soon Mother Theresa opened the Missionaries of Charity.
As a conclusion, Mother Theresa had intimacy. She was loved by her students and has a strong intimate relationship with Christ. She even found her identity during the 5th stage to be a nun. She even showed love towards the poor when she got the second call. Her love was shown by the way she would go to families of the slum to offer them the little knowledge of medical treatment she had. She showed intimacy when she taught some little children because she wanted them to grow up and have a brighter future.
7th Stage Generativity vs. Stagnation
The penultimate stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is perhaps the one that can be observed most prominently in Mother Teresa of Calcutta. While it is difficult to say what Mother Teresa herself would have replied to the question of whether she felt her own life was meaningful enough, it can surely be concluded that she made a difference to thousands of other people, achieving miracles in the field of social services, child care and general peacemaking of humanity.
The second to last stage of Erickson’s theory calls into the question the value of a person’s life as he/she sees it. For in late adulthood only is an individual forced to consider questions of existentialism such as “is my life meaningful” and “what have I achieved over these past years”. If the answer is a satisfactory one then the individual would have a high sense of generativity meaning he/she would want to pass down his/her legacy to the next generation. In a lot of ways, this particular stage of development is about relinquishing control over on to the next generation because one cares enough about them to be able to make one’s peace with it.
In a lot of ways, this stage is of making way for the new generation and ensuring its preservation which is what Mother Teresa did in abundance. She inspired a variety of commemorations. She has been memorialised through museums, been named patroness of various churches, and had various structures and roads named after her. All this demonstrates not just her extremely active involvement in causes of social welfare but her own concern for the next generation as well as the poor and the underprivileged whom she dedicated her life to.
8th Stage Integrity vs. Despair
The final stage in Erickson’s Psychosocial development theory Integrity and Despair. It is the stage where we have evaluated our life (as seen previously) and are now ready to pass a decision on whether it is worthwhile or not. Integrity stems from knowing that your life has been an enriched and fulfilling one while despair is usually the result of thinking that you have made no notable difference whatsoever throughout your existence. In Mother Teresa’s case, it is very obvious that her life was one filled with enrichment despite her adopting the lifestyle of the poor. The mere fact that she chose this lifestyle as opposed to living like a middle class woman is proof enough that she had high amounts of integrity.
In the final years of her life, Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack in Rome in 1983, while visiting Pope John Paul II. After a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after a battle with pneumonia while in Mexico, she suffered further heart problems. She offered to resign her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity, but the sisters of the order, in a secret ballot, voted for her to stay. Mother Teresa agreed to continue her work as head of the order which shows that her own integrity was solidified by those around her who wanted her to stay on despite her declining age and health. All those around her held her in high regard which built her own level of integrity to match.
In short, mother Teresa was truly an inspiring individual who made a difference in the lives of millions and her work continues to affect social workers and charities around the world today. Throughout her life she lived as the poor, working and helping those in need and sending a message of peace, love and spirituality to everyone she met. She was clearly one of the most special individuals to walk the Earth and stages of her life can easily be studied through the lives she touched and the material she inspired. Through Erickson’s stages of psychosocial developments, her life and work may be mapped as a truly integral part of the world’s history.
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