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Donna Marsman


April 23, 2011

Vicki Koenig

Axia College of University of Phoenix

The death of my mother is the event that has affected my life the most and changed my personality from a dependent to an independent person. The safety and security of her presence instilled in me a sense of peace throughout my life that I took for granted. My mother is my defense mechanism against the world. “A defense mechanism is an unconscious strategy of the ego that distorts reality in order to lessen anxiety” (p. 261). During my life, I used my mother to make the world bearable when I could not bear it alone.

Her death changed my personality because for the first time in my life, the choices that affected my life became my own. Though her death is still painful, her ability to demonstrate unconditional love throughout my life motivates me to discover who I am as an individual. According to Deci and Ryan (1991) “The self seeks to overtake its initial boundaries and limitations, to grow, to master its surroundings, to appropriate things, people, ideas, and environments, to make that which is nonself part of the self” (p. 272).

Environmental influence affects my need to improve my life, but I face my environmental needs through genetic influence. “Genetic differences may shape how people experience their environments and what environments they choose to experience” (p. 244). My genetic influence changed my personality after my mother’s death, but the environment is a combination of both factors.


McAdams, D. P. [Move the period to follow the citation] (2006). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. [Move the period to follow the citation] (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley [Except in a title, do not capitalize the first word after a colon unless it begins a complete clause] .
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