Intimacy according to Erikson

According to Erikson’s concept of development stages the condition of building intimacy is realising ones own identity. Young adults may then combine their identity in mutual intimacy and shared it with individuals who provide the sense of complementarity within them. A person can often be in love or enter to intimate situations, but intimacy that is at stake is ability to surrender to the specific relationship that may require significant sacrifices or compromises. The psychosocial antithesis to intimacy is isolation, fear of abandonment that leads into a deep motivation for staggering ritualization in stage of the genito-mature experience of I – You, which dominates the early periods of human existence. The feeling of isolation is then potentially the pathological core of early adulthood. The greatest danger of isolation lies in regressive and hostile recovery of the conflict of ones identity, in case of an emergency regression; it is also the most common fixation in conflict with the primary second. If the contradiction between intimacy and isolation is resolved, than the relationship is ready for next steps as affection, love, mutual mature submission that solves the antagonism of belonging to separate functions.  The transition form one stage to another may pose some difficulties to certain individuals. In each stage of development according to Erikson each must sacrifice what was in the previous stage the most important, most vulnerable. An adult who has just completed his/hers identity will try to unify it with the identity of other person, thus he/she is ready for an intimate life, in other words to enter specific connections, partnerships and develop the ethical power of such weights that he/she is able to compromise and sacrifice. The individual also faces the fear of loosing ones ego, identity, in situation that require self-sacrifice, however avoiding these situation may lead back to the isolation stage and subsequent immersion in oneself. The contrary element of intimacy is opposition – the ability to isolate or destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own nature and the territory limits the scope of our intimate relationships.


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