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But I identify myself, as always,

With something that there's something wrong with,

With something human.

—Randall Jarrell, 1965, p. 451

The particularly human tendency of individuals to identify with other people commonly occurs both as a developmental process and as a defense mechanism. Developmentally, interactions with various persons in an individual's environment during sustained periods have a significant impact on shaping one's personality. Related to this universal phenomenon of identification as a primary developmental process is the defense mechanism of identification. As a more circumscribed construct, its application involves identifying with others as a response to threat and conflict. Consider, for instance, the marginalized adolescent who joins a gang and revels in the perceived power and authority inherent in the group membership. In another example, a child ...

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