As a kid, your personality begins to be molded by your parents. Be it biological, adoptive, or close relative. They encouraged you to speak, stand, eat, point and walk. In most two-parent households where the father or male figure is present, young boys are kept close under their wing.
By watching his father figure he begins to learn new and different ways of being a young man. As we grow into male adolescents and get introduced into society; I believe we struggle the most with our own identity because of two detrimental reasons.
One reason I believe we struggle with our identity so severely is because of our families. The second reason I believe we struggle with our identity is because of society. Both go hand and hand in crippling the growth of men. Society told us it’s better to be our own individual but taught us social acceptance comes from being someone else.
Societal Generational learned behaviors eventually turn into generational teachings, adopted by our families. For example, most families that only have one male child they encourage him to be himself yet advise he be more like his father, when they disagree with his behavior. Most families exhibit these teachings believing what better example for their son to follow, not realizing what their son or son’s may be losing in return.
The reason I believe this is advised is, both parents feel that the father’s behavior and conduct have allowed him to be both successful and socially accepted. If both parents aren’t pleased with the personality direction of their son; they subconsciously try to divert their son’s attention away from his individualism and more towards his father.
This perpetuates identity confusion for the son, creating a level of self-doubt, Low self-esteem and unsureness. Unsureness that may leave him questioning ” why don’t my parents like who i am”? “Maybe who i am just isn’t good enough“, “Maybe i should be more like my dad because who i am is all wrong.
The same applies when a family has two or three sons. Instead of using the father as the example of what to be, parents encourage one if not two of their sons to be more like one of their brothers. Out of the three one may decipher the learned behavior as “conformity” thus Creating a “black sheep” of the family. Which is the kid who chooses to be either himself or an identity found from an outside source of change.
For most men, I believe this creates an internal struggle to decide whether or not to choose our own path of personality independence or personality conformity. One may end with disapproval, unacceptance by his family but with individualism; The other may end with acceptance by his family and social conformity.
Both decisions weigh heavily but only one is carried by the son for life. Most men will choose their family’s acceptance over individualism. Living for his family and not for himself while not understanding why being himself wasn’t accepted by his family or good enough for society.
Once our parental influence has a limited reach most of us take our identity confusion into the “Real world”. Not sure of who we are, we spend much time attaching and detaching from other male figures who seem to have more social acceptance from the last.
More personality independence from the next, piecing together bits and pieces of who we’re not; trying to create who we think we are or who society accepts us to be.
Eventually we find ourselves “going with the flow” because its easier and less stressful than trying to sort through the confusion of who we are;
living up to who our parents want and accept us to be, what society says is acceptable as a man and what society tells woman the right type of man is.
Men can’t begin to look for what’s missing if he never knew what was missing from “him” to begin with. Without developing the confidence as an individual from your parents as a child and learning to conform to someone more socially accepted by society’s rules, Our lives struggle.
Until a man hits a breaking point as a result of his failures, he won’t disconnect from his family or society to figure out who he was and who he is now.