Table 1. Development of Self-Identity

Age Self-Development Dangers for Feminine Identity
0-2 Basic primary attachment

Identification as human

Lack of nurturing -> fear, abandonment
2 Self-concept emerges


Mother may be overprotecting if she resists

Dependency may be overencouraged

3 Self-valuing, Development of the need for achievement May devalue self as males given more attention

Mothers teach self-reliance, but girls are not trained in self-reliance or achievement needs

4-5 Sex-roles identification, Males only pressured into roles, daughters can be tomboys, Repression/defense mechanisms Fathers reward sex-typing. Mothers and daughters oriented toward serving males
6-9 Conformity learning, Like-sex play groups Stereotyped role play. Good girl rewar- ded at home & school. Math anxiety begins. Physical activity restricted.Media devalues females
9-12 Cooperation learning, intimacy learning. Competency learning Girls play in pairs, develop rivalry with other girls for male attention. In-group exclusivity. May hide competency for male attention.
Adolescence Identity learning

Female pressured into sex-role

May settle for teenager role. Emphasis on popularity. Male-oriented -> alienation from self and receives little love. Self-image constricted
Young adult Identity crisis matures, Self-integration, Commitment to mate &/or vocation, Values clarification, Development true intimacy between 2 autonomous people May avoid resolution, settle for wife identity. Identity "cop-out" precludes integration. Sex & love needs confused. Relationship problems due to lack of identity. Job discrimination. Intimacy prevented by fear of loss of self. Males may see &/or treat female as sex-object
Adult Self-actualization in love & work Cannot actualize non-integrated self. Identi- fication with role -> sense of smothering. Neurosis, depression, psychosomatic illnesses, addictions
Adult Family-building Self-sacrificing -> repressed anger manifesting as pain. Lack of self-assertion. Projects problems onto children.
Adult Mid-life crises: May be major identity crisis if not yet resolved
Mid/late 30's Marital problems may surface when children in school. Neurosis may develop.
Mid/late 40's Vocational crisis if never worked. Empty nest. Affairs may erupt if marriage not stable.
Mid/late 50's Existential crises around life purpose. Aloneness.
Mid 60's Husbands retire & may demand more attention. Retirement if working, need redefine roles. May suffer economic hardship if not working or if husband dies.
Aging Self-re-evaluation, Wisdom, self-acceptance, joy Chronic self-pity & illness if not integrated, May be resentful, angry, lonely, inconsolable