Advice for getting through the mid-twenties identity crisis?
April 25, 2011 1:44 PM Subscribe
What has helped you get through the identity crisis that sometimes occurs in your twenties/thirties? What has helped you form your sense of who you are as an entity separate from your parents/schooling?
posted by anonymous to human relations (31 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
TL;DR (Abstract-style, up top): Little sense of self due to adapting self in order to please others. Looking for advice on figuring out who I am beneath all that, and anecdotes about how others have done the same.
I've been going through a lot of therapy over the last several months, and have come to the realization that I have no idea who I am. I've spent most of my life adapting to others - my parents mostly - and I was exceedingly good at it. I never lied, I was a perfect student, perfect son, perfect everything. I figured out how to replace emotions; if I came home angry at someone, and it would be more acceptable to feel compassion for them, then I would meditate, stop feeling angry, and start feeling compassion.
This, as can be expected, came crashing down a few years ago (or, more accurately, has been in a slow motion collapse for a few years), and I'm starting to get to the ugly bottom of it, which is that if I prune away all of the stuff about myself that's just there to be more acceptable to others, then I can't find much of anything left down there. I don't even have an answer to "How do I feel about X?", because I'm not even sure what real emotions feel like, having spent so much time erasing (/suppressing) them, and acting out more positive ones.
So my question to the hivemind is this: How do you figure out who you are? What does an answer to the question 'Who are you?' even look like? Have you found mirrors in your life (friends, hobbies, psychological tests, whatever) that have enabled you to see an image of yourself and say "Oh! That's me!"
(Disclaimers: I know you're not my therapist. I have one of those, but think it might be useful to hear about other people's struggles with identity, and how they got through those)