Identity foreclosure in psychology is a commitment and acceptance of an identity based on the values, ideas, roles, and other pertinent guidance others have chosen for an individual, especially during their youth.
An easy way to think of this is imagining someone who grows up in an uber-religious outcast group. That child has a high likelihood of only knowing the small world around him, and the odd beliefs, behaviors, and social norms that would make up that unique group of people.
That child’s identity wouldn’t be considered a true identity, and many psychologists would refer to them wearing a mask in place of true knowledge of their own values and feelings about the world at large.
Identity foreclosure is also like being stuck in a room with only one door and refusing to explore any other options.
It happens when we dedicate ourselves to an identity or set of values without considering other possibilities. This can lead to some not-so-great characteristics like defensive egotism, low-level anxiety, and authoritarianism. Basically, when we’re in foreclosure, we’re not willing to try new things and allow the ideas of others to become our own.
What is Identity Foreclosure in Psychology?
The things you experience when you’re young can have a big impact on your future. It’s like a chef making a recipe – if they start off with bad ingredients, the final dish won’t be as tasty as it could be. And one of the key ingredients in life’s recipe is friendships. If you don’t have any positive relationships, you might end up with a stomachache from all the social conflict.
Now, let’s talk about what can happen when you don’t get that positive interaction. It can lead to all sorts of problems down the line, like having trouble fitting in at school or behaving badly. You might feel really lonely or have some psychological health problems. It’s like a car that’s missing a wheel – it’s not gonna run very well, is it?
And then there’s this thing called “identity foreclosure”. It’s like a pair of shoes that are too tight – they might look nice, but they’re not doing you any favors. When you accept everything other people say about you without question, you’re not giving yourself a chance to grow and change. You might even end up feeling like you don’t fit in anywhere or have trouble making friends.
Examples of Identity Foreclosure
One example could be a young adult who was raised in a family where academic success was highly valued. Without considering other options or exploring their own interests and passions, this individual might commit themselves to a career in medicine or law, simply because it is what is expected of them.
This person might become an excellent doctor or lawyer, but they may also end up feeling unfulfilled because they never took the time to explore other career paths that might have been a better fit for their unique skills and interests.
Another example could be a teenager who is part of a very religious family. Without questioning the beliefs and values that have been instilled in them, this person might blindly accept their parents’ religious beliefs as their own, without ever exploring other spiritual or philosophical traditions. While there is certainly nothing wrong with embracing a particular faith or belief system, it becomes problematic when someone does so without ever questioning or critically evaluating those beliefs.
Lastly, an example of identity foreclosure could be someone who is raised in a culture that places a high value on conformity and obedience to authority. This person might grow up with a deep-seated need for approval and a fear of being seen as different or deviant.
As a result, they might blindly accept the dominant values and beliefs of their culture, without ever questioning or challenging those beliefs. While there is certainly something to be said for fitting in and being a part of a community, it is important to maintain a sense of individuality and critical thinking.