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Adolescence

Adolescence
Social Work 3510
Brian Rowe
Wayne State University

Adolescence

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Adolescence

The experiences we have during our adolescents shapes what type of person we
become. When I look back on my childhood I am flooded with mixed emotions. The
memories of the emotional roller coaster of adolescents always bring a smile to my face. I
had so many different highs and lows as a kid that shaped the person I am today.
Although many of these are painful experiences I am so thankful they happened because I
really like the man I have become and I own it all to my life experiences.
Although I have been through many things in my life there are a few that stick
out. The first major event in my life that has had lasting effects involves my father. My
parents divorced when I was five which to be honest didnt have too much of an effect on
me. I was too young to remember life when my parents were together, so the weekend
visits to see my dad was simple normal life to me. It wasnt until I was ten that my life
changed forever. My father sued my mother for the property rights to our house leaving
my family life forever changed.
The next major life event didnt happen until many years later once I graduated
high school. I dated a girl all throughout high school and I was very much in love. We
had a very good relationship and we were even voted best couple in my senior year mock
elections. We stayed together once we graduated and went to Schoolcraft College
together, but things were about to change forever. She started hanging out with friends
from work more and more which made me happy because she always had a hard time
making friends. I thought nothing of it and supported her and the new friendships she had
made. A few days after our three years anniversary I started getting calls from friends that
they had heard she was cheating on me with one of the guys she worked with. Of course I

Adolescence

didnt believe them, but I just couldnt let it go. One day I finally just asked her if she was
cheating on me. She denied any involvement with her coworkers and I didnt think
anything of it. However the calls kept coming from friends, and now I was starting to get
angry, and I was ready to resolve this once and for all. I went to her house and told her
that if there was nothing going on why dont we call the man she worked with so I could
here it straight from him. She began to breakdown about how she didnt want to hurt me,
but she didnt love me anymore, I was crushed. The truth was finally out and I didnt
know what to do. I broke up with her that day and havent had any contact with her since.
The last major event that has happen in my life is a positive one. When I was
twenty years old I was lucky enough to find the woman of my dreams. I hadnt trusted
anyone since my last relationship, and my new girlfriend Alicia was able to break down
my walls. Alicia has everything I could ever want in a woman; she is beautiful, smart,
challenging, hilarious, and most importantly she understands me. She has helped me face
many of my problems and she brings sunshine into my life on the gloomiest of days.
The relationship with my father or lack their of has been one of the major things
that has shaped who I am today. As you know he sued my mother for the property rights
to our house. If this wasnt horrible enough the letter from his lawyer filing the lawsuit
happen to come on my tenth birthday. I was downstairs when I heard shrieks coming
from our kitchen. When I came up my whole family was crying, and before I knew it we
were in the car going to my grandmas. Being ten years old I naturally thought this was all
some elaborate prank to take me to a surprise party at my grandmas, but I was mistaken.

Adolescence

The years to come were filled with hatred and confusion towards my father. The
courts still made me go on my weekend visits with my dad, which I dreaded. I hated him
for what he had done to our family, and I did everything in my power to let him know
that. By the time I was thirteen the visits had finally come to an end. My dad had finally
given up on the idea we were going to have a normal father son relationship. I had
achieved my goal; I no longer had to see my father.
From that point on the dynamics of my family changed drastically. My older
brother, Kevin became my father but only for a short time. Kevin left for school about a
year after I quit seeing my father, which was very hard for me. Losing another male
influence in my life was extremely difficult; luckily my mother stepped in and became
mom and dad. Instead of playing a game of catch with dad in the front yard it was
playing a game of catch with mom in the front yard. I was a very athletic child and my
mother was forced to fit the role I needed her to play. By most standards I was considered
a typical with boy with typical boy interests. However being raised by all woman and a
gay big brother made me an incredibly diverse man.
As a teenager I used the social learning theory while observing my mother and
sister. Since all of my models were mostly woman I took away many qualities that the
average boy living with a father would not of gotten. First off I am pretty emotional
compared to your average twenty three year old male. It isnt that uncommon for me to
cry when something in my life is causing me turmoil. I am also very sensitive compared
to other men. My feelings are easily hurt, and I have a hard time brushing things off. I am
not good with confrontation either, due to the fact that not a lot of it arose is my
household. Since my dad wasnt around I never experienced being yelled at or disciplined

Adolescence

by an older man. Therefore when a situation does arise resulted in a confrontation I do


not know how to handle it, I never got the practice early on in life. These three traits have
a direct correlation to what I observed from my family as a child. Coming from a
household of all women and a gay brother gave me both feminine and masculine traits
that make me a more diverse person. I was very lucky to have such a great family that
taught me so much. Although my family did all they could for me as a child, life without
a father changed the kind of person I am.
I have only seen or talked to him a handful of times since I was thirteen, and this
has had lasting effects on me. I wasnt able to trust anyone for many years after that, due
to what my father had done. I thought it my own father could do this to me then whats
stopping anyone else from breaking my heart. I was a damaged young man that didnt
know how to deal with these problems. From this point on the type of person I was
changed. I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol to try to make myself feel better. I
would drink any alcohol I could get my hands of, and smoke anything I could find. Drugs
and alcohol became my coping mechanisms to deal with my pain. Although it isnt the
healthiest way to cope it was able to get me through those dark times.
Growing up I had girlfriends but none of them really knew me, I wouldnt let
them. After the situation with my father I turned of my emotions. I began having sex at
the age of thirteen, and now I know all I was trying to do was feel something. If a girl
wanted to have sex with me I knew without a doubt she wanted me. This became one of
the only ways besides drugs and alcohol that I would allow myself to feel anything. My
relationships were merely physical because I was not ready to feel real emotions yet. I
hadnt yet begun to deal with the problems that my father created. In all of my

Adolescence

relationships I always kept a piece of myself that was just for me, and it stayed this way
for a long time. This has created somewhat of a loneliness that I felt on a daily basis.
Although I have some great people in my life that I do trust now, I still have this sense of
being alone.
This pattern of drinking and having sex to feel something continued until I met
my high school girlfriend. She was a cheerleader and I was a basketball player, and that
was enough of a reason for us to start talking. For some reason I was able to open up to
her about my past, when she didnt take off running I knew I was ready to trust again. We
navigated through the trials and tribulations of high school together, and for the first time
in a long time I was truly happy. Unfortunately this happiness began to fade away as I
became very unhappy with my own appearance. Basketball season ended and as a result
of not running around for two hours a day I began to gain weight. I didnt like the way I
looked and I became very dejected. Slowly I pushed her away and it wasnt long until it
all came crashing down. For the second time in my life I had been betrayed by someone I
loved, someone I trusted.
After I found out she was cheating on me all these emotions of betrayal,
confusion, and hatred came flooding back into my life and old problems began to arise.
From that point on I swore I would never let anyone into my life, I could not take another
heartbreak. This made me even more closed off then I was before with the situation with
my father. I turned to an old friend to make me feel better, drugs and alcohol. I was never
peer pressured into doing any of these things; in fact I was often the one pressuring my
peers into doing these things. I think it made me feel less fucked up if the people around

Adolescence

me were doing the same types of things I was, and in a weird way this brought me some
comfort.
The next two years of my life were a whirlwind of drugs, alcohol, and selfreflection. I had turned to a few old friends to make me feel better, but this time it was a
bit different. I was now eighteen years old and I had learned a lot throughout the
experiences in my life. I was now able to reflect on these two terrible things that had
brought me such great pain. This is a great example of the cognitive development theory.
This theory refers to how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of his or her
world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors (Cognitive Development,
2015).
Over the course of my adolescents I acquired many different schemas, which
helped me understand and respond to different situations. I started to look at what my
father and girlfriend had done from their point of view. My dad sued my mother because
he was bitter and he wanted to hurt her. I think what he did was stupid because it
demolished any relationship he had with his kids, but I think if he could take it all back
he would. Hannah ran into the arms of another man because I pushed her in that
direction.
Towards the end of our relationship I started to take the frustrations of my life out
on her putting a huge strain on our relationship. I was unhappy with myself I dont think
what she did was right, but I could begin to understand how I played a role in it all. It
took me many years of acquiring knowledge, reflection, and growth in order for me to

Adolescence

understand these situations and respond to them in an appropriate manner. Finally I was
able to forgive her, my father, and most importantly myself.
At the age on nineteen I was finally able to resolve all of my problems and move
on with my life. I was finally able to turn my focus towards school instead of my past.
For the first time in my life I was truly moving forward, and it felt amazing. The summer
of 2012 came fast and my friends and I decided to move into an apartment in Novi. It was
a Saturday night and we all invited some friends over for a goodtime. I got off of work
late and the party was in full affect by the time I got home. I walked in the door and the
first person I saw was Alicia. We went to high school together but we never got a chance
to know each other. We hung out all night, drinking cocktails and talking about what we
had been up to since high school. I didnt think much of it at the time because I wasnt
really looking for a girlfriend. My last girlfriend caused me so much pain that I wasnt
interested in another relationship.
Over the next few months, Alicia became a frequent visitor at the apartment, and
we became good friends. However I began to want more than just a friendship with
Alicia, but there was a few things getting in the way. The behaviorist theory states that all
behavior is a result of stimulus and response (Behaviorist Approach, 2015). Due to the
betrayal of my father and my girlfriend I was conditioned to not let anyone get close to
me. I made an association between the behaviors of love and trust with the negative
consequence of pain. This made it nearly impossible for me to trust Alicia enough to start
a relationship with her. In order for me to move forward I had to recondition myself,
changing the connection of trust and pain with trust and happiness.

Adolescence
Slowly I began to let Alicia in, gaining a little trust here and a little trust there. I
found out that she also came from a family where her dad abandoned her, and her high
school sweetheart had cheated on her as well. We were able to talk about how these
things impacted us, and I realized that she was just like me. This was crucial because I
knew that she felt the same types of pain that I had felt. From that point on I knew that
Alicia was a person I could trust. By the time the leaves were changing colors we were
officially together. We just celebrated three years together and they have been the best
three years of my life. She reconditioned me to be able to love and trust again. Alicia
makes me a better person and my life has improved everyday since I met her. She is one
of the few examples of something constant in my life that brings me joy.

Adolescence

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References

Cognitive Development. (2015). Retrieved from


http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Cognitive-Development.html
Behavorist Approach. (2015). Retrieved from
http://www.simplypsychology.org/behaviorism.html