Pre-pubertal period and youth
Achieving puberty raises a wave of anxiety, not only in the sexual sphere, but also in a vast field of social behavior. Sullivan believes that in the pre-tribulation period there is an ability for love. It is born only when the satisfaction and safety of a loved one is as important as their own. Boys at this time sometimes are constrained in communication with girls, but feel at ease with each other.
The ability to love is first revealed in relation to a close friend. At the same time, the consistency in the use of symbols is radically increased. A young man learns to see himself through the eyes of other people. This determines its own value. Sullivan writes: "At this time, a real social world is to be cognized. As soon as one discovers that the whole enormous artificial and to some extent justified structure of the psyche, mindset, personality is available for a certain comparison, control and counter-control, a person begins to feel himself a man in a different sense than before. A more complete formation of a person is expressed in the appearance of the ability to assess the community of people regardless of their sensory presence or mediated by geographical knowledge, etc. In other words, the sense of humanity is one of the sides of personal expansion in adolescence. Learning at this stage begins to acquire its true meaning - ensuring human security in meeting the needs and maintaining security in interpersonal relationships throughout the rest of life. " In the American culture, which Sullivan describes, the pre-monastic period looks almost serene. However, Anna Freud interprets this time differently. She draws attention to uncontrollability, rudeness, exhibitionism, the breakthrough of pregenital motives. X. Deutsch agrees with Sullivan, describing the girl on the verge of adolescence as almost free from infantile sexuality and aggression.
According to Sullivan, life problems seem to many people of this age "caricature copies of their true scale". The difficulties of adolescence are undoubtedly associated with the maturation of the "mechanisms of genital arousal". Sexual maturation is coming to an end. In the United States of that time, as stressed by Sullivan, two cultural factors influence the course of sexuality:
1) the censure of premarital sexual relations;
2) disapproval of early marriages.
When a sexual urge encounters a system of self, lust can not be dissociated. This applies to most people. Dissociation can arise due to the risk for a full life. Constantly arising feelings create a threat, give rise to anxiety. Only through sublimation or, as Sullivan puts it, by "sublimative reformulation of interpersonal relationships" it is possible to overcome conflicts.
Sullivan writes: "The motif of the socially conflicted behavior is built into a culturally conditioned life style that alleviates the most acute aspects of the conflict, but, as a rule, some representation remains in the activity of the opposing principle."
As an example, a link to a woman who dreams of being a prostitute, but at the same time engaged in philanthropic work with fallen women in slum areas. Sullivan greatly extends the concept of sublimation compared with Freudianism, relating it to any attraction.
In the event that the difficulties that arise in adolescence are successfully overcome, the young man develops persistent self-esteem. There is also respect for others and freedom of personal initiative. All this allows us to adapt our personal qualities to social order. Many people have adequate self-esteem for themselves in almost all situations.
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