Psychology Journal Entry: Adlerian Theory Term Paper

Total Length: 1121 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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As an adolescent, I was physically abused by my mother who used me as an object of blame for all of the events that went wrong in her life. The abuse was severe. At times, neighbors would have to step in to protect me. Later in my adolescence when I was fifteen years old, a school counselor pushed me toward legal remedies to my situation. So that I could be better protected. I learned later that much of my mother's anger toward me was redirected anger that she felt for my biological father, whom she left was I was very young because of infidelity. My mother remarried after leaving my father and had more children -- it is entirely plausible that I represented an unwanted link to that earlier period in her life. This fact likely made it easier for her to direct her anger at me when things went wrong, though they were no fault of my own.

My response to this childhood abuse is a textbook example of Adlerian theory as it applies to abused or neglected children. Adler argues that these children can respond with an overcompensating motivation that drives them to become better in some aspect of their life when told, implicitly or explicitly, that they are inferior (Boeree, 2006). My mother's abuse implicitly reinforced in my childhood mind that I was somehow inferior and undeserving of love or validation. In order to prove this condemnation wrong, I was unconsciously motivated to compensate by proving I was better than I was told. Throughout school and college I worked very hard and earned GPAs in the 3.98 or 4.0 range. I worked harder than my circumstances would have seemed to allow, being the first in family to get a college degree.
Even now, I am working even harder to secure a Master degree and realize an ideal that Alder would say is motivated by my desire to compensate for childhood trauma.

Unlike some other psychological theorists who would argue that my current situation is entirely a product of my past circumstances, Adler more appropriately describes the process by which I have achieved my current goals. I chose to move toward greater goals in my life, even though I was told again and again through my mother's abuse that I was inferior to other people and would never amount to much. I could have accepted this derision and sunk down to the expectations that my mother had laid out before me. Many other people certainly have, in similar situations. I, however, chose to rise above her abuse and achieve something greater. I wanted to prove that her characterization of me was entirely incorrect and that I was capable of being motivated by a greater goal than her abuse.

In my life, I have been similarly motivated to create a better life for my family than the one that was given to me. If Adler is correct is stating that our motivations are driven by a desire to achieve a greater ideal goal, then my own life should serve as a useful example of this. I have been motivated to transcend the limitations of my past and make a better, more fulfilling life for myself and for my loved ones, in the truest tradition of Alfred Adler.

References

Boeree, C.G. (2006). Alfred Adler. Personality Theories. Retrieved….....

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