Identity crisis (A complete guide)

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided

The term identity crisis initially derived from the very famous and important psychologist and therapist known as Erik Erikson.

He presented the thoughts of teen-age identity disasters, believing that characters are established by minimizing disasters in natural life.

Identity crisis is the period of ambiguity and misperception in which an individual’s sense of identity turns out to be uncertain.

It is classically due to the alteration in their predictable goals and role in their living environment.

Importance of identity crisis:

An identity crisis may happen at any time in your mature ages when you’re tackled with a test to your intelligence of self.

In accumulation, some youths may not go through an identity crisis at all but in its place accept the parts and standards handed down by parents.

Others youths remain in an enduring phase of crisis. Either way, this is troubling.

Those who simply follow in their parents footsteps might never learn what they truly love in life, or are passionate about.

One has to push boundaries in order to truly find what they care about; one has to face minor setbacks in order to grow as a person.

On the other hand, people who constantly live in a state of crisis will never feel comfortable in themselves, because they will never get the chance to discover what matters to them most and stick to developing skills in that field. They will be left feeling unfulfilled.

This is why the approach that a person takes to facing an identity crisis is so important; if a person faces the challenge head on, they will grow stronger and develop real life skills that will allow them to tackle challenging problems in life and grow from them.

There are rewards to discovering your identity during your adolescent years.

According to Erikson, it’s vital to think really about these problems and eventually to come to enough of a determination so that the path you go on board in maturity is one that you have intentionally selected.

This is the mental state that Erikson termed as identity achievement.

If you don’t come to grasp these vital life decisions and never reach a firm identity, your identity diffusion will not make you responsible for the developing responsibilities that lie ahead.

You will not know how to tackle difficult situations, and will instead most likely experience serious amounts of distress in the face of hardships.

It is normal to experience feelings of stress; it is how a person deals with stress and grows through it that matters.

A person can choose to give up or fight and become stronger, and this choice is made whenever a person faces an identity crisis.

 Causes of Identity Crises

An identity crisis can occur at any point of life to anyone at any age.

Many times, identity crises and further mental strength problems can come up from the main life stressors that a person is experiencing.

These stressors do not have to be integrally depraved, but they can still cause a lot of pressure, which brings up questions for an individual, such as “who are you?” and “what is your value in society?”

There are so many causes of identity crisis but a few of them are listed below. These and other stressors can surely have an influence on the daily life of a person.

  • Getting married
  • Divorced or separation between couples
  • Moving one place to another new place
  • Facing a shocking occasion
  • Losing a loved one
  • Losing a job or a post
  • Other health problems

Most recent studies said that aspects such as social care, pressure levels, and fitness problems could all affect the growth of a midlife crisis.

These kinds of crises occur when a person realizes that they are halfway through their time on the earth, but they feel like they haven’t completely accomplished anything that matters to them, or they do not find fulfillment in their occupation, etc. 

Identity Status Model

In 1966, 1976 and 1980, investigator James Marcia extended Erikson’s primary theory.

Conferring to Marcia and his colleagues, the stability between identity and misperception lies in making one’s identity and committing to it.

Marcia also established a conference method to measure identity as well as four dissimilar identity statuses.

This method looks at three dissimilar parts of functioning: professional role, opinions and standards, and sexuality.

Following are the four different identity statuses.

1.     Identity achievement

2.     Moratorium

3.     Foreclosure

4.     Identity diffusion

Identity achievement

It happens when a person has gone through a survey of different identities and made a promise to one.


It is the grade of a person who is energetically involved in exploring dissimilar identities but has not made a commitment.

Foreclosure status

It is when an individual has made a promise without trying identity exploration.

Identity diffusion

It happens when there is neither an identity crisis or promise.

Those with a grade of identity diffusion tend to sense out of place in the world and don’t feel a sense of identity.

Warning signs of an identity crisis

Any sort of crisis can also be the consequence of a decline in psychological health of a human being.

Watching yourself or your lifespan destructively go downhill has been shown by a reliable source to be an indicator for weakness or misery.

Facing an identity crisis is not a diagnosable illness, so there are not characteristic signs, like with a cold or infection.

In its place, here are the warning signs that an individual may be suffering from an identity crisis.

Ø  You are interrogating who you are, with respect to important life factors such as relations, age, or profession.

Ø  You are facing high individual struggle due to the interrogative of who you are and what is your role in society.

Ø  Immense variations have recently happened that have exaggerated your sense of identity, like divorce.

Ø  You are enquiring belongings such as your standards, religiousness, politics, comforts, or profession path that have a main influence on yourself.

Ø  You are looking for more sense, aim, or thirst in your life.

If an individual has any indications of misery, he should pursue assistance immediately if these are coupled by hopeless feelings.

Following are the warning signs of despair:

  • Unhappy mood
  • Thoughts of hopelessness or unimportance
  • Loss of attention in things once loved
  • Exhaustion
  • Prickliness
  • Less motivated
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Variations in hunger
  • Changes in weight
  • Issues with concentration and energy levels

Cure for an identity crisis

Interrogating your intelligence of self may be demanding, but it can really be a good thing in the extended term.

Knowing who you are well and adapting to variations can assistance you grow as a creature.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you will get through an identity crisis and end up better for it.

1.     Look inward and explore

2.     Search for joy and other ways to cope

3.     Find support

4.     Ignore internal and external judgment

5.     Seek outside help

Look inward and explore

Ask yourself questions and think about if you can respond to them over time and if the responses you come up with support what you come up with once you figure things out.

Remember that you do not have to have all the responses — and they may variate from year to year.

Following are the queries:

  • What abilities and appearances describe you? 
  • How has this changed in personality over the years?
  • If you are facing a main life transformation, how have things changed for you?
  • How can you handle these new things happening?
  • What are your moral values?
  • Is anything happening against you?
  • What are your comforts, goals, and interests?
  • Are you doing what you love to do, and if not, then why not?
  • What grounds you? What do you do to help yourself when you are stressed?
  • What is significant to you concerning your values, determination in life, or wisdom of identity? 
  • Is there something you feel that you can do to recover your wisdom of self?

Search for joy and other ways to cope

What makes you pleased? What gives your life an intelligence of determination and enjoyment?

You do not certainly have to get a good job, but if you are not performing anything satisfying in your life, then this might be why you feel like you are in an identity crisis.

You may discover serenity in offering, taking up a new interest, linking with others, or any number of other things separate from your service.

You may feel that a new profession will be a more suitable match for you.

Look for support

Having decent social help can affect how well you manage with great deviations, stressors, or interrogations of identity.

There are so many options where you can get help.

Following are the some source of getting social support from others

  • Helpers, buddies, and family followers
  • Your community or church
  • A new cluster, club, or meetup that bonds your comforts
  • A backing group, particularly when passing through some new fitness problem
  • Psychological health cluster or discrete therapies
  • Club games or happenings

Overlook inner and exterior judgment

Other individuals’ prospects as well as our own can have a large consequence on how we are sensing.

But do not let morals of society dictate who you are and what you should like.

Just because you are of a positive age, gender, or social collection, does not show that you want to follow along if you no longer trust in what you are succeeding.

Self-perception is vital to your complete well-being, and utilizing time and energy on critical thinking can get you nowhere.

It may take time for the persons you love to comprehend any variations you make, but you will be gladder in the long term if you are loyal to yourself.

Pursue external help

If the pressure ever gets to be too much, consider looking for external assistance.

This can come from a reliable friend or family fellow to talk to, or a psychological well-being expert to support you resolve and deal with what is going on.

Never feel frightened to request for aid.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is an identity crisis?

When a person is confused about what culture they belong to.

Why do people have an identity crisis?

Identity crises result from losing an identity that a person connected with their self-worth.

This can be positive; for example, if a person rejects a club or job that they were a part of that was negatively impacting their life in some way.

But, this can also be negative; such as when a person realizes they do not actually like their occupation.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]