Perez case study
Although the term identity cannot be defined with precision, it often refers to the internalized system, which is responsible for individual’s self-definition, uniqueness and commonalities expression, as well as for the distinction between the outside world and the inner self. Identity is mostly socially constructed and it is formed according to the definitions provided by the others and to the social context, which is communicated to a person already in the childhood. Although children have the choice to accept or reject societal definitions, social influence is very powerful in determining the way one’s identity is being built ( Steinberg, Parmar & Richard, 2006).
The main concern for Rolando Perez is the discrepancy between his own vision of his future and family perception of his roles and goals. The situation is exacerbated by Rolando’s desire to meet everyone’s expectations and to please people around. Therefore, he is not able to complete his own identity, trapped between the role of the only son and the eldest child, who is expected to continue family business and to take place of his father, and the desire to choose his own life path and to express openly his sexual orientation. The feeling of guilt for his aspirations, which is rooted in the Rolando’s deep respect for the family and traditions, is an important obstacle on the way to self-definition and a significant contributor to the Rolando’s depression. The consequences of the weak identity definition, the feeling of hopelessness and family pressure, combined with the strong tendency of Rolando to comply with others’ expectations, make it very likely for him to end up working in the vineyard and to take the responsibility for the whole family. This early leap into middle adulthood due to the circumstances may be detrimental for Rolando’s identity definition and eventually can aggravate his depression and increase frustration. His future decisions are likely to be always dependent on the external opinions and expectations, while his real interests and aspirations are likely to stay hidden.
The external societal pressure to perform and the expectations, which deviate from own objectives often become a source of stress for many young adults in the modern society. This fact impedes the formation of own identity, decreases life satisfaction and often leads to depression. Therefore, working with young adults requires in-depth analysis of the true motives for particular life choices and a detailed investigation of the consequences of some of their decisions (Naar-King & Suarez, 2011). The difference between true aspirations of young adults and the actual pursued paths may be so striking, that it is likely to make anyone thinking whether his/her own identity and life decisions were once influenced by someone or whether they are a true reflection of own ambitions and goals.
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Naar-King, S., & Suarez, M. (2011). Motivational interviewing with adolescents and young
adults. (pp. 55-57). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Steinberg, S. R., Parmar, P., & Richard, B. (2006). Contemporary youth culture, an
international encyclopaedia. (Vol. 1, p. 586). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.