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Week 4 Psy300

In: Science

Submitted By hclover07
Words 1372
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Life Span Development & Personality
Haley Clover
February 25, 2013
Kaisa Freeman

Life Span Development & Personality
The individual I chose to do my life span development and personality paper on is Marilyn Monroe. I have always been very fascinated with Marilyn Monroe. She is an American icon but did not lead the life of glam and glory that she led people to believe. Inside she was a very troubled, sad and insecure woman. In this paper I am going to explore the personality and background of Marilyn Monroe from the viewpoint of developmental psychology. In my exploration of Marilyn Monroes’ background and how I can point out what impacted the young stars life from the viewpoint of developmental psychology I will focus on the influences of her heredity and environment. As well as what family and social support systems influenced Marilyn Monroes’ developmental growth and adjustments. I will also address two different theories of personality I have tied with Marilyn Monroe and lastly I will explain which theoretical approach I believe best explains Marilyns’ achievements and behaviors. I believe that the early childhood development, or should I say lack of played a key role in Marilyn Monroes’ life and her unhappiness. Marilyn Monroe, who was actually born Norma Jean Baker was born into a family that had a long line of mental illness. Marilyns’ great grandfather commited suicide, her uncle went on a run for errands one day only to never be seen again and her mother who had been married and divorced twice prior to Marilyn left her two eldest children to be cared for by neighbors. When Marilyn was only two weeks old her mother left her in the care of foster parents. Marilyns’ biological father is unknown since her mother put false information on her birth certificate. In Marilyns’ early childhood she felt very lonely and unwanted. She would call her foster mom mother and was told to only call her ‘Aunt Ida’ leaving the young and impressionable Marilyn to feel very rejected. I think that this treatment caused Marilyn a great deal of pain and left her feeling unstable. It caused Marilyn in her older years to become extremely clingy and it may be one of the main reasons why she constantly seeked everyones approval. It is my opinion that Marilyn was very neglected as a baby and during her oral stage she did not feel the love and comfort a baby should get between the ages of a newborn to eighteen months. I think this, as well as the neglect she suffered during her phallic stage, ages three to six are significant in why Marilyn was so clingy and never felt fulfilled. During Marilyns’ phallic stage, this is a time where a child relates the most to the parent who is of the same gender. Marilyn was passed around from foster home to foster home, had a brief stay with her mother who then turned around and abandoned her again and stayed in an orphanage during her teen years. Marilyn did not have a mother to set an example for her so she could truly find her identity. I believe this caused her great stress. She often times heard saying things relating to putting on the Marilyn show for people, and disassociating her true self with the iconic Marilyn image. There is no doubt in my mind that the lack of support and love Marilyn experienced in her younger years set her up to be a very vulnerable and clingy woman with her relationships in the future. It is rumored that Marilyn was sexually assaulted twice by people close to her in her early childhood. I believe that this led Marilyn to disassociate sex and emotion in her future relationships. This led to three failed marriages for Marilyn due to adultery as well as her lack of confidence in herself. Marilyn did not have a support system. She was abused as a child and her managers had an identity for her that she was to uphold that was not Norma Jean Baker, but Marilyn Monroe. I believe it to be a very sad case because the iconic Marilyn Monroe we all know was just an act that Norma Jean Baker had to put on to please those around her. Marilyn Monroe was raised without rootedness, which is the feeling of belonging somewhere, she was rasied without feeling relatedness which is feeling connected to other individuals and caring for them. She grew up with no sense of her own identity and did exactly what those around her told her to do in order to become the Marilyn Monroe the public eye knows today. Fromm was quoted saying “we either die or become insane” when those basic needs are not met (Engler, 2009, pg 137). Next I will discuss the two different theories I have associated with Marilyn Monroe. The first personality theory I tie to Marilyn is the psychoanalytic theory. The second personality theory I see in her is the social learning theory. I think both of these theories played a major role in her development and the way she conducted her life. With the psychoanalytic theory you have the id, the ego and the superego. These all develop and regulate your instincts and your personality. In this theory Freud compared the human mind to an iceberg. The smaller part which you can see with your eye represents your conscious experience. However the massive iceberg beneath represents the unconscious mind. It is where all of our impulses, passions and basic instincts come from. Marilyns’ childhood set her up to always have it in the back of her mind that she was not good enough, and she developed a defense mechanism of a fantasy world which would later turn Norma Jean into Marilyn Monroe. She created an external reality and hid her internal reality. All of her marriages ended in failure because these men married Norma Jean Baker, not Marilyn Monroe and eventually they discovered her internal reality. The second theory I will discuss is the social learning theory. This theory is based on how Marilyn learned to cope in her environment growing up and learned behavior patterns because of it. Marilyn was known for showing off her body and always wanting to be the center of attention. She was so insecure that on movie sets she wouldn’t be involved if another blonde was on set. It was reinforced over and over again not only in Marilyns childhood but also in her adult life after she was rejected and her eyes not good enough for anyone to stick around time after time. Early on Marilyn developed the idea that she had little worth and had to have constant reassurance that she was pretty and liked, even though the entire world saw her as a goddess she looked at herself as nothing, right up until the day she died. I believe that the theoretical approach that best pertains to Marilyn is the psychodynamic theoretical approach. Most of Marilyns behavior stemmed from her early childhood and her lack of roots. She unconsciously seeked and needed constant approval from everyone she encountered. In turn she hid her true identity, I’m not even sure if she knew what her true identity was and formed the iconic Marilyn Monroe. She developed instinctual drives to become a sex symbol and to show of her body because she thought that was all she was worth. In conclusion we have covered how the influences of her history of family mental illness and her unstable environment, as well as her lack of support from her family and society shaped her into the woman we know, or thought we knew of today. We discussed two different types of personality theories, the psychoanalytic theory and the social learning theory and how they apply to Marilyn. Lastly we discussed the theoretical approach of psychodynamics that played a big role in Norma Jeans early childhood which developed her into the legendary and iconic Marilyn Monroe.

Works Cited
Engler, Barbara. (2009). Personality Theories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Spoto, Donald. (2003). Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. New York: Harper Collins.
Sullivan, R. (2009, July 24). Remembering Marilyn. LIFE, 9(6), 6-124

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