According to the case study, it is evident that both Jennifer and Michael are undergoing a lot of challenges all at the same time. Stress is the physical and mental reaction in a responsive manner towards the hassles and challenges that people face in their day to day activities. It is basically a counter response to the various challenges that one faces, in an attempt to maintain the body as well as the brain at an equilibrium state.
In the case of Jennifer and Michael, the cause of stress in their life is the numerous challenges that they are going through, such as Jennifer’s matrimonial home’s problems like her miscarriages, Jennifer’s home’s crises, including her mother’s recent death and her father’s deteriorating health, and also pressure from her workplace in the marketing office. This therefore implies that Jennifer has her role to play at her home as the wife of the house, expectations from her family as the daughter to her ailing father, and also expectations as an employee in the marketing office. This therefore means that Jennifer is trying to balance multiple tasks at a time and the worst thing being most of them are failing or in a tough state.
How stressors affect self-concept and self-esteem
According to the case study, it is also evident that the numerous problems that Jennifer and Michael are going through both on a personal as well as family level have contributed a lot to their health, physical, physiological as well as psychological instability. Having to deal with multiple challenging tasks such as family issues, personal problems for example Jennifer’s miscarriages and other issues such as her mother’s recent death as well as her father’s illness are enough reasons to make the victim to start questioning their abilities in handling such issues.
On the other hand, the challenges that a person meets in their daily life can be an opportunity for the person to boost their self-esteem and self-conception. This is common in scenarios whereby the victim defies the challenges and chooses to fight them. Succeeding in the challenges makes the person to believe in himself more, and this consequently boosts the person’s self esteem. The success also makes the person to have a formed self conception, based on self belief and this boosts the person’s confidence.
Challenges and personal growth
Based on people’s different and varied personalities, characters and approaches to challenges in life, it is true that people through may leave a different impact on different people. This from psychologists has been seen to be caused by the various approaches and different angles that people may decide to use while approaching the problem. Sanguine for example have been found to love challenges, and are always enthusiastic and ready to face new challenges in life. This is because they take the chance to test their capability as well as wits to deal with the problem.
For this reason, people with a sanguine personality always welcome challenges as well as positive criticism, as this is a chance to test their capability and wits to deal with them. Secondly, they take it as a learning experience as well as an opportunity for sharpening their weak points (Wilson & Wright, 2001, p. 87).
On the other hand, people with a melancholic personality will always grieve and complain when faced by such challenges. They do not look at the positive side of life’s challenges; rather they see that problems only bring people down. In actual sense however, the reason people face challenges is for it to be a learning experience. This way, a person is able to deal with the same problem if it keeps on recurring in future or even deal with a related problem through application of the wisdom and tact the person acquired form the preceding challenge.
In the given case study therefore, depending with the couple’s approach to the challenges facing them, it can be seen as a learning experience whereby they will know how to deal with similar or related challenges that may face them. If the couple chooses not to give up to frustrations and come up with a strategy to address their issues one by one, then they definitely will succeed, especially if they work together. This will assist them in growing and developing both psychologically and emotionally, both on a personal as well as a collective basis, as a family unit. With fulfillments of their desires as well as addressing these issues, they will get inner satisfaction which will in turn assist them in stress reduction. This will later lead to relaxation which will translate into less physical strain and stress, consequently leading to physical fitness and satisfaction (Wilson & Wright, 2001, p. 122).
Tactical and strategic approach in dealing with the problems can be applied in various ways. For example, the couple could agree on adopting a child for the time being, and this will have solved the childlessness issue. They could also attend counseling sessions to deal with the loss of Jennifer’s mother, as well as take turns in looking out after her sick father instead of taking him to a nursing care facility.
Defensive coping methods to stress
Defensive coping methods are the actions stress victims take in an attempt to deal with the stress that affect them in their day to day activities (Elkin, 1999, p. 309). In Jennifer’s case for example, she has a tight schedule at work which she religiously and diligently follows to ensure that her mind is always preoccupied with things to do and errands to run, all in an attempt to forget the numerous issues that she is facing in her life. She doesn’t disappoint at work.
Secondly, Jennifer always maintains that she is happy and that she is fine and working effectively and normally.
However, from the case study analysis, it is evident that she is neither happy, at peace nor satisfied with what she is doing right now. The first reason to this conclusion is because she keeps messing around her work, and this implies that most of the time she isn’t really concentrating on what she is doing. Secondly, Jennifer has lately been questioning her effectiveness as a daughter, a wife and as an employee, and this also implies that she isn’t confident and satisfied with what she offers, even with all the attempts. This implies denial and avoidance in dealing with her problems.
In this case therefore, it will be important for Jennifer to first begin with accepting that she is not well, and that there are a lot of issues affecting her at the moment. This is because according to psychologists, working out a problem begins with accepting that in deed there is a problem that needs to be solved. Acceptance leads to looking for a solution or even seeking assistance for the problem, and possible remedies are scrutinized. In this case for example, Jennifer could try sit down with her husband as well as her husband’s parents and collectively try addressing the issues she has been facing. If they still do not come up with a concrete solution to the problem, they could consider seeking professional assistance, for example attending guidance and counseling, because the stress and pressure that Jennifer is currently going through is affecting both her family as well as costing her at her work in the marketing office.
Theory addressing the case study
On of the best theories that can best address Jennifer and Michael’s problem is the Napoleon Complex. This theory, originally by Napoleon but later developed by psychologists in the 18th century, explains that people in disadvantaged positions usually compensate for the things that they can not change in life through doing something else in return, which will make them noted and more appreciated in the society (Elkin, 1999, p. 211). An example that has for long been used focuses on short people versus tall people, and through this theory, Napoleon observes that whereas it is fast and easier to take note of tall people and the things they do, short –people attract the people’s attention through being aggressive in whatever they do, and putting emphasis for then to be noted. This therefore explains their short temper and loudness as well as their confidence in work and when talking. However, due to this over assertiveness, they in most cases end up messing up.
In this case, the same thing has been noted with Jennifer, who attempts to cover for her stress and issues affecting her and her personal life with working extremely hard and diligently, and consequently most of her colleagues at work commend her good work as she never lets them down. Secondly, as a result of the issues she is facing, Jennifer tries her best to maintain a happy face, insisting she is okay and happy which definitely is not the case.
Stage of Development
According to Elkin, there are various stages that stress victims go through in an attempt to address their stress issues or better still, to counter the stress (Elkin, 1999, p. 44). From a psychological perspective, Jennifer who from the case study is facing a lot of pressure both from her personal issues as well as family challenges is at an acute stage. This is the stage where a person is still not in acceptance that she is facing stress in his life and for this reason they are in basic denial. It is therefore hard for anyone to come up with a defined way to deal with the problem that the victim is facing that is causing then the stress. This is evident whereby, at work, Jennifer still insists that she is okay, and from a general overview or her life especially for the past two years, she has been undergoing challenges, together with her husband. Secondly, she is physically and physiologically unwell as a result of the challenges that she is undergoing.
Relationship Factors affecting Jennifer or Michael’s Problems
Secondly, there is a conflict in loyalty to one’s family because Jennifer has her own home whereby she has expectations to meet as the wife of the house. Secondly, she has her ailing father, whom she is supposed to look after. Due to lack of better ideas however, she has been considering putting him under specialized nursing care, since she has her own home to take care of as well as a job to attend to, all which require undivided attention. This consequently has become one of her stress sources. As much as she isn’t sure what her parents in law and Michael will react when she decides to concentrate a lot on her ailing father, it is clear that she needs to help him by giving him constant and undivided care. This is not only due to the fact that it is her role and obligation as a daughter to do that, but also because she recently lost her mother who could have taken care of her now ailing father. At the same time, Jennifer has roles and obligations to meet at her own home and this means that she cannot be able to handle both homes especially given the fact that she also has a job to attend to. This is probably the reason why she is considering putting her dad under specialized nursing care, something that many people don’t see as ethical especially if a family member to the person under the nursing care is alive and capable of supporting them.
These problems however can be easily solved out if all involved parties who in this case comprise of Jennifer, Michael, Michael parents and Jennifer’s dad understand that what the family is going through is beyond an individuals’ control, and the only way to go about this is by working together as well as understanding the gravity of the matter, and that all these problems cannot be handled by one person.
Elkin, A. (1999). Stress management. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Wilson, J. & Wright, J. (2001). Adrenal Fatigue: 21st Century stress syndrome. New Jersey: Smart Publications.