What To Do If You Think Identity Is Stolen – Is an identity crisis normal in our age of social media? Sure, many of us end up creating a bit of a false identity with our Facebook and Instagram accounts, exaggerating our good parts while hiding our bad.
But what if our inability to be authentic is more than just an online problem? And does that mean we struggle in every part of our lives?
What To Do If You Think Identity Is Stolen
What exactly is identity? Our identity is how we define ourselves. This includes our values, our beliefs and our personality.
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It also includes the roles we play in our society and in our families. Our past memories, our hopes for the future, as well as our hobbies and interests.
To have a solid identity, we must be able to see that we are the same person in our past as we are now and as we will be in the future. We must feel the same way regardless of our environment.
This does not mean that we always behave in the same way. We can be moody or act differently under stress or depending on those around us. For example, we will not behave the same way with a romantic partner as we do with our parents or colleagues.
But even with these variations in our behavior and mood, we feel that we are the same person underneath. What if I have identity problems?
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A person without a sense of identity may instead feel disconnected from who they were and/or have no idea who they will become next.
They sometimes feel like a different person from day to day. Some say that they look in the mirror and find it hard to believe that it is them looking back.
An identity crisis is not related to your personality. You are not born with an insecure personality. An identity crisis is thought to develop because the environments you grow up in don’t give you the support you need (see the section below, “Why do I have an identity crisis?”).
A study published in the International Journal of Development Research looked at how young people’s personality dimensions affected their identity and found that there was no link to an identity crisis.  And what does an identity crisis look like? From: Twilight Photography
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If we lose our job or a loved one, if we have to change countries and leave our family, all these things can leave us so bereft that we temporarily lose sight of ourselves.
But a true identity crisis means we don’t develop a solid identity as teenagers. So we struggle with adulthood.
If you work a job and everyone is diligent and quiet, you will be diligent and quiet. If your next job requires you to be chatty and upbeat, it will soon seem like you’ve always been the social type. It is as if you are shaped more by your surroundings than by your choices and personality.
2. Relationships shape you. Probably the type who feels deprived without a relationship when you get into one? Change your hobbies and your appearance to match your partner.
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You want to convince yourself that what he likes is what you really like but didn’t know, even if you just went from wearing black and listening to classical music to wearing cowboy boots and listening to country music.
And if your partner doesn’t like things, you will give them up, even change your friends sometimes. It’s easier to be what they want than to admit your identity crisis.
This can include important things like political and religious beliefs or simply your opinion on popular culture and things like food and fashion.
You may even find yourself changing your mind day by day and never knowing what you will agree with next.
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Whether you realize it or not, you will change your mind to please others and find acceptance. Even if you disagree with someone, you find on some level that they like a challenge, so present an opinion that allows for debate. 4. You don’t like being asked about yourself.
It makes you uncomfortable when people ask too many questions about you. Perhaps you have developed a good tactic to avoid this, such as changing the subject or asking the other person questions, then agreeing with them.
5. Your identity crisis means you get bored easily. At the core of not having an identity is often a restlessness, like you’re afraid of settling down if you commit to the wrong thing that makes your life worse instead of better.
The truth is, as much as you want to know who you are, there is also a fear of knowing it.
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If you are not sure of who you are, you may be afraid that others will find out that you are not really that much and therefore not like you.
So there can be a lot of self-protection going on that prevents true connection with others, even though you tend to attract a lot of “friends” and are often in relationships. You will likely suffer from a fear of intimacy.
You may also have trouble maintaining a relationship or social circle for too long, or find yourself around people who monitor you and tell you what to do.
If you don’t know who you are and have surprised yourself in the past with your quick decisions and sudden changes of heart, you may feel like you can’t even trust yourself.
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Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson coined the term “identity crisis”. He theorized that the environment a child grew up in was crucial in forming their sense of self-awareness and self.
He identified eight stages of psychosocial growth that all build on each other. Each of them gives us a positive result if we experience it correctly. In the teenage years, we hit the level called “Identity vs. Role Confusion.” This is where we learn to be true to ourselves.
However, if we did not have the healthy environment necessary to learn the crucial lessons from our early childhood levels, we are much less likely to succeed and end up entering our adulthood confused about who we are.
For example, from birth to one year of age there is the “Basic Trust vs Basic Mistrust” stage. If our caretakers do not give us a reason to develop trust, we grow up in a world that we consider untrustworthy, we do not have a stable foundation.
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You may have what is called “borderline personality disorder” (BPD) or “emotionally unstable personality disorder.” This leads to intense relationship problems and can leave you alone and convinced that everyone is against you, even when they aren’t.
A study of 95 people with borderline personality disorder found that the main causes of identity disturbance in those with BPD are role absorption (defining oneself in terms of a single role or cause), painful inconsistency (not feeling “whole”), inconsistency (confused) thoughts, feelings and behaviour) and lack of engagement. 
If this sounds like you, it’s important to seek support. Read our article, “What therapies work for BPD?”.
Are you in the midst of a prolonged identity crisis? We connect you with some of London’s most respected speech therapists. Or use our booking page to find registered online therapists and consultants across the UK to chat with wherever you live.
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Still have a question about having an identity crisis? Or do you want to share your experience of identity problems with other readers? Use the comment field below. *Please note that we cannot offer free advice via the comment box. *
Written by Andrea Blundell. Lead author and editor of this site, Andrea Blundell is trained in person-centred therapy and group coaching.
 Identity disturbance in borderline personality disorder: an empirical study. Tess Wilkinson-Ryan and Drew Westen. American Journal of Psychiatry 2000 157:4,528-541. It is often an evolving answer. When we think about who we are—or rather, who we think we are—many of us cite our backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and interests. But what is our true identity and what are the building blocks that create the person we identify with throughout our lives?
At Y Studios, we believe that everything we do, from the choices we make to the decisions we avoid, comes from how we see ourselves in the world and how we choose to interact with our environment. Let’s peel away the layers of our personalities and discover what factors influence our identities.
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To determine which factors influence the formation of our identity, we must first define what an identity is. What do we mean when we say identity? According to the dictionary, identity is:
These four definitions highlight different points of view. We may have created an identity within ourselves based on our psychological identification. But the distinctive features that inform our identity are equally subjective from the point of view of others. We may identify as confident or trustworthy, while others may label us as arrogant, meek or untrustworthy.
How is our identity cultivated in our minds and in the minds of others? Psychologists say that we must first discover our personal potential and then choose a purpose in life. After identifying how to use our potential, we must find opportunities to implement it in such a way
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