Anyone who angers you conquers you

Charles Klein

Factors exerting a long-term influence during adolescence and under certain circumstances capable of provoking crises (according to Gernot Sonneck):

  • emotional bonds in the family, the amount of trust, safety and security. Negative influence is exerted by authoritarian and repressive upbringing as well as neglectful and careless treatment of children and adolescents.

Paul Watzlawick adds on this point: “in a stable symmetric relationship, the partners are capable of accepting the other person as he is, which leads to mutual respect and confidence in being respected by the other partner and thus to realistic mutual acknowledgement of 'me' and 'you'-definitions”.

  • Identification with the own sex role as well as dealing with genital sexuality, masculinity or femininity.
  • Establishing contacts to similar males and females. Problems and conflicts linked to establishing and maintaining relations can provoke more serious crises (“lovesickness”).
  • Successful or painful experience while searching for ideals and role models.
  • Need for belonging to a group – for being a part of it – is very strong at this time, hence the risk of being drawn into a sect, a group of drug addicts etc.
  • The encounter of adolescents with norms and values of the society.

The question of submission to the existing society norms is of great importance; living according to the performance principle means to be subjected to high pressures. Other value concepts are pushed into the background.

What does it mean specifically for a young person? It could be difficult for him to find meaningful life contents under current economic and social conditions. Facing the situation on the labour market (youth unemployment – mostly in the apprenticeship trade) with its enhanced performance requirements and existence pressure coupled with leisure opportunities serving mostly to commercial interests, young people have an increasing difficulty to find time and opportunity for their own unique development. The loss of traditions enhances crises connected with search for meaning and existential vacuum. But, nevertheless, we know that people with high resilience (lat. from resilire - “to leap back”) can develop healthily even in the severest circumstances. Individual experience of a young person is an essential factor in crises emergence: how he dealt with former crises, what he could have learnt coping with crisis situations and in what way he can apply the gained knowledge in the current crisis.

Martin Heidegger's follower, Hans-Georg Gadamer, has already stressed specific importance of “being internally reconciled with oneself”: “Internal attitude of a person and his community skills are basically the same thing. Only the person being friends with himself is able to adapt to community... Being friends with oneself. It has nothing to do with self-love or selfishness as it means the contrary of those. A person who is not friends with himself but cares only for himself is not capable of any dedication to others or any solidarity. This appears to me to be the root cause of self-alienation the spreading of which we observe in the life of modern civilization, and vice versa, it is an inalienable chance of us all to pursue our own occupation with consciousness of our own meaning in the midst of the unvarnished forced forms of our modern society.”