About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Self-Esteem Defined

ADOPTEE RAGE!

Self-Esteem Defined
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In sociology and psychologyself-esteem reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself, (for example, "I am competent", "I am worthy"), as well as emotional states states, such as triumph, despair pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it. Self-esteem is attractive as a social psychological construct because researchers have conceptualized it as an influential predictor of certain outcomes, such as academic achievement,happiness, satisfaction in marriage and relationships, and criminal behaviour. Self-esteem can apply specifically to a particular dimension (for example, "I believe I am a good writer and feel happy about that") or a global extent (for example, "I believe I am a bad person, and feel bad about myself in general"). Psychologists usually regard self-esteem as an enduring personality characteristic ("trait" self-esteem), though normal, short-term variations ("state" self-esteem) also exist. Synonyms or near-synonyms of self-esteem include: self-worth, self-regard, self-respect, and self-integrity. 

philosopher and psychologist, William James (1892). James identified multiple dimensions of the self, with two levels of hierarchy: processes of knowing (called the 'I-self') and the resulting knowledge about the self (the `Me-self'). Observation about the self and storage of those observations by the I-self create three types of knowledge, which collectively account for the Me-self, according to James. These are the material self, social self, and spiritual self. The social self comes closest to self-esteem, comprising all characteristics recognized by others. The material self consists of representations of the body and possessions, and the spiritual self of descriptive representations and evaluative dispositions regarding the self. This view of self-esteem as the collection of an individual's attitudes toward oneself remains today.

Development across lifespan

Experiences in a person's life are a major source of how self-esteem develops. In the early years of a child's life, parents have a significant influence on self-esteem and can be considered a main source of positive and negative experiences a child will have. Unconditional love from parents helps a child develop a stable sense of being cared for and respected. These feelings translate into later effects on self-esteem as the child grows older. Students in elementary school who have high self-esteem tend to have authoritative parents who are caring, supportive adults who set clear standards for their child and allow them to voice their opinion in decision making.
Although studies thus far have reported only a correlation of warm, supportive parenting styles (mainly authoritative and permissive) with children having high self-esteem, these parenting styles could easily be thought of as having some causal effect in self-esteem development. Childhood experiences that contribute to healthy self-esteem include being listened to, being spoken to respectfully, receiving appropriate attention and affection and having accomplishments recognized and mistakes or failures acknowledged and accepted. Experiences that contribute to low self-esteem include being harshly criticized, being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, being ignored, ridiculed or teased or being expected to be "perfect" all the time.
During school-aged years, academic achievement is a significant contributor to self-esteem development. A student consistently achieving success or consistently failing will have a strong academic effect on their individual self-esteem. Social experiences are another important contributor to self-esteem. As children go through school, they begin to understand and recognize differences between themselves and their classmates. Using social comparisons, children assess whether they did better or worse than classmates in different activities. These comparisons play an important role in shaping the child's self-esteem and influence the positive or negative feelings they have about themselves. As children go through adolescence, peer influence becomes much more important. Adolescents make appraisals of themselves based on their relationships with close friends. Successful relationships among friends are very important to the development of high self-esteem for children. Social acceptance brings about confidence and produces high self-esteem, whereas rejection from peers and loneliness brings about self-doubts and produces low self-esteem.
Adolescence shows an increase in self-esteem that continues to increase in young adulthood and middle age. A decrease is seen from middle age to old age with varying findings on whether it is a small or large decrease. Reasons for the variability could be because of differences in health, cognitive ability, and socioeconomic status in old age. No differences have been found between males and females in their development of self-esteem. Multiple cohort studies show that there is not a difference in the life-span trajectory of self-esteem between generations due to societal changes such as grade inflation in education or the presence of social media.
High levels of mastery, low risk taking, and better health are ways to predict higher self-esteem. In terms of personality, emotionally stable, extroverted, and conscientious individuals experience higher self-esteem.These predictors have shown us that self-esteem has trait-like qualities by remaining stable over time like personality and intelligence. Although, this does not mean it can not be changed. Hispanic adolescents have a slightly lower self-esteem than their black and white peers, but then slightly higher levels by age 30. African Americans have a sharper increase in self-esteem in adolescence and young adulthood compared to Whites. However, during old age, they experience a more rapid decline in self-esteem.

Shame

Shame can be a contributor to those with problems of low self-esteem. Feelings of shame usually occur because of a situation where the social self is devalued, such as a socially evaluated poor performance. A poor performance leads to higher responses of psychological states that indicate a threat to the social self namely a decrease in social self-esteem and an increase in shame. This increase in shame can be helped with self-compassion.

There are three levels of self-evaluation development in relation to the real self, ideal self, and the dreaded self. The real, ideal, and dreaded selves develop in children in a sequential pattern on cognitive levels.
  1. Moral Judgment Stages: Individuals describe their Real, Ideal, and Dreaded Selves with stereotypical labels, such as "nice" or "bad". Individuals describe their Ideal and Real Selves in terms of disposition for action or as behavioral habits. The Dreaded Self is often described as being unsuccessful or as having bad habits.
  2. Ego Development Stages: Individuals describe their Ideal and Real Selves in terms of traits that are based in attitudes as well as actions. The Dreaded Self is often described as having failed to meet social expectations or as self-centered.
  3. Self-Understanding Stages: Individuals describe their Ideal and Real Selves as having a unified identity or character. Descriptions of the Dreaded Self focus on a failure to live up to one's ideals or role expectations often because of real world problems.
This development brings with it increasingly complicated and encompassing moral demands. Level 3 is where individuals' self-esteem can suffer because they do not feel as though they are living up to certain expectations. This feeling will moderately effect one's self-esteem with an even larger effect seen when individuals believe they are becoming their Dreaded Self 

The three states

This classification proposed by Martin Ross distinguishes three states of self-esteem compared to the "feats" (triumph, honor, virtue) and the "anti-feats" (defeat, embarrassment, shame etc.) of the individuals.

Shattered

The individual does not regard themselves as valuable or lovable. They may be overwhelmed by defeat, or shame, or see themselves as such, and they name their "anti-feat". For example, if they consider that being over a certain age is an anti-feat, they define themselves with the name of their anti-feat, and say, "I am old". They pity themselves. They insult themselves. They feel sorry. They may become paralyzed by their sadness.

Vulnerable

The individual has a generally positive self-image. However, their self-esteem is also vulnerable to the perceived risk of an imminent anti-feat (such as defeat, embarrassment, shame, discredit), consequently they are often nervous and regularly use defense mechanisms. A typical protection mechanism of those with a Vulnerable Self-Esteem may consist in avoiding decision-making. Although such individuals may outwardly exhibit great self-confidence, the underlying reality may be just the opposite: the apparent self-confidence is indicative of their heightened fear of anti-feats and the fragility of their self-esteem. They may also try to blame others to protect their self-image from situations which would threaten it. They may employ defense mechanisms, including attempting to lose at games and other competitions in order to protect their self-image by publicly dissociating themselves from a 'need to win', and asserting an independence from social acceptance which they may deeply desire. In this deep fear of being unaccepted by an individual's peers, they make poor life choices by making risky choices.

Contingent vs. non-contingent

A distinction is made between contingent (or conditional) and non-contingent (or unconditional)   self-esteem.
Contingent self-esteem is derived from external sources, such as (a) what others say, (b) one's success or failure, (c) one's competence, or (d) relationship contingent self-esteem.
Therefore, contingent self-esteem is marked by instability, unreliability, and vulnerability. Persons lacking a non-contingent self-esteem are "predisposed to an incessant pursuit of self-value.However, because the pursuit of contingent self-esteem is based on receiving approval, it is doomed to fail. No one receives constant approval and disapproval often evokes depression. Furthermore, fear of disapproval inhibits activities in which failure is possible.
Non-contingent self-esteem is described as true, stable, and solid. It springs from a belief that one is "acceptable period, acceptable before life itself, ontologically acceptable". Belief that one is "ontologically acceptable" is to believe that one's acceptability is "the way things be without contingency". In this belief, as expounded by theologian Paul Tillich acceptability is not based on a person's virtue. It is an acceptance given "in spite of our guilt, not because we have no guilt".

Importance

Abraham Maslow states that psychological health is not possible unless the essential core of the person is fundamentally accepted, loved and respected by others and by her or his self. Self-esteem allows people to face life with more confidence, benevolence and optimism, and thus easily reach their goals and self-actualize.