How to determine the character of a man from his childhood memories

Each of us has vivid episodes from the past that have influenced our lives. How it happens, we deal with a psychologist.

The melody that sounded at the prom, the aroma from grandmother’s pies, the familiar cafe where the most delicious ice cream used to be sold – childhood memories cannot be erased from memory.

Boris Sednev

child psychology

Clinical psychologist, head of the Sednev Psychological Center

The hero of Marcel Proust in the novel “In Search of Lost Time” connects a lot with the taste of the Madeleine biscuit cake. “The minute a sip of tea with crumbs of cake touched his palate, he shuddered with a sudden surging bliss, delightful and inexplicable. Thanks to this bliss, he felt a kind of indifference to the sorrows of life, and its brevity seemed to him illusory, ”writes the French prose writer. But Vasily Aksenov believes that “you should never return to those places where you felt good.” Yes, every moment of life is unique. You will never be 5, 10, 20 years old again. But memory for the past holds very tenaciously, and childhood returns again with the help of touch and smell. The most interesting thing is that memories help to understand the present and even predict the future. Moreover, sometimes a minor event from the past can affect the formation of character.

“A memory is not a video recording and can differ from what happened to a person in reality,” says family psychologist Boris Sednev. – Be sure to take into account the proportion of fiction when interpreting a memory. We always add pictures from the past. If a person in paints tells how his parents beat him in childhood, then you should not literally take this story. It is the emotional coloring that plays an important role in memories. “.

The famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud connected the behavior of an adult with episodes from childhood. Freud’s student, Austrian Alfred Adler, also emphasized that “there are no accidental memories: out of the innumerable many impressions that fall on a person’s lot, he chooses for memorization only those that, albeit vaguely, are felt by him as connected with his current situation … These memories are a story that a person repeats to warn himself or to comfort himself, to maintain focus on the chosen goal, in order to use past experiences to prepare himself for the future, using an already proven lifestyle. At the same time, the lifestyle changes, memories will also change: a person will remember other cases or interpret in a different way those that he remembers. ” A vivid memory is always situational. One and the same event from the past in different periods of life can be perceived in different ways. It is important that the attitude towards memory can change in the course of a person’s life. “Happy and successful people can deliberately change the emotional color of a memory,” continues Boris. – This skill allows you to change fate. There were cases when, after rethinking the past and changing their attitude to remembering, many found their calling, successfully married. “.

We decided to do a little experiment. We asked six men of different ages and professions to recall the most vivid episode from childhood.

There was no time to think it over: it was important to tell about the first thing that came to mind. And the family psychologist Boris Sednev, on the basis of these stories, tried to determine the nature of the participants in such a study. “I want to emphasize right away that this is a very subjective assessment,” says the psychologist. – Final conclusions can only be drawn after a personal conversation with a person. This assessment should not be taken categorically. This is not a fact, but only an assumption “.

Alexander, 60 years old, builder:

– There are three of us in the family. I am the middle child. They always lived in poverty, for several years they rented an apartment with an earthen floor. In the summer I was sent to the camp (all grandparents died before I was born). I remember very well my parent’s day at the camp, when parents came to the children with gifts. They also came to me, but of sweets, my mother brought only caramels or toffee. And I dreamed of apricots. I tell you, and even now my mouth is drooling. I wanted this fruit just then, in the summer of 1970. Later he could afford not only apricots, but somehow the desire fell away.

Expert opinion:

– The hardships that Alexander experienced in childhood influenced his inner world. Already in adulthood, it is difficult for him to enjoy the fullness of life. The goal is achieved, but satisfaction is not received. At the same time, his dreams and desires are a good incentive for action. The very process of moving towards the goal is a pleasure..

Sergey, 40 years old programmer:

– Pranks come to mind. Once I hid my portfolio in a pile of leaves, skipped school for a week. Once they found an army smoke bomb with a friend, set it on fire – for 2 hours the entire city center was in smoke. It was when I played hockey, I stood at the goal, it was boring, so I decided to swing my stick. The very first stroke took out the front teeth of a woman walking by. And then other stories began. Sulfuric acid, making gunpowder, tree huts at the height of the 4th floor. The 90s!

Expert opinion:

– It can be assumed that Sergei in adulthood lacks vivid impressions. He wants to actively (even extremely) spend his leisure time in the real or virtual world (with the help of computer games in the genre of action). By the way, at work he can be modest and socially restrained, and in the circle of friends – open up and give vent to feelings. Likes to joke, but, again, not in front of everyone.

Yuri, 38 years old, veterinarian:

– It was in 1995. In our entrance lived a merchant who was selling fruit, and kept a warehouse in the basement. The guys and I often robbed him: we removed the door from its hinges and pulled out peaches and apricots in buckets (we did not take apples). And then they fed the whole yard. I was not ashamed at all. On the contrary, we were proud that we had done such a thing and even treated the girls. We felt like heroes. There was another story related to theft. They wanted to build a gazebo with the guys (again, to show off in front of the girls), for this they brought logs from someone else’s yard. The loss was quickly discovered, they wrote a statement to the police against us. The parents bought the logs to leave the gazebo. Of course there was a serious conversation.

Expert opinion:

– The image of Robin Hood was carried over into adulthood. Someone prioritizes mind, strength or beauty, Yuri has heroism. It is important for him to save, to be needed and in demand. In this regard, the profession was correctly chosen, where there is an opportunity to help those in need. As a child, he unconsciously aspired to become a kind of Robin Hood, there were only the first steps, and then he was already developing the qualities of a hero.

Vladimir, 25 years old, showman:

– The most vivid childhood memory is, of course, such dynamic and spectacular computer games! At the end of the 90s, the first powerful PCs and consoles began to appear in Voronezh, which made all study and activity in the fresh air sharply fade into the background. Still, Mortal Kombat and Counter-Strike work wonders … Then, of course, the first disagreements with parents and teachers began, but they did not even try to master something like that, which is why we, of course, did not understand them. But, of course, this only fueled interest in games..

Expert opinion:

– Lives with vivid impressions. Feedback from others in the form of admiration is important. If this does not happen, then he may suffer from loneliness. A high need for feelings. Indifference is worse than hatred. At the moment, Vladimir clearly feels at ease.

Sergey, 59 years old, engineer:

– In my childhood, when I was in elementary school, I was repeatedly attracted to amateur performances – to sing songs, read rhymes in front of parents and guests of the school. I really liked it, and in my childhood dreams I imagined a big stage where I would be admired. In the 3rd grade, the school teachers decided to stage the play “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, in which I got the role of the seventh dwarf. We all tried very hard, went to rehearsals, and I imagined how on New Year’s Eve we would all play this performance. For the dress rehearsal, everyone was tasked with making a gnome costume. Making a gnome costume is not such a difficult task: shorts with helpers, striped golfs brighter, boots two sizes larger. Mom sewed pieces of cotton wool to the ski hat – it began to look like gray bouclies. The matter remained behind the beard (there was not enough cotton wool). Arriving at the rehearsal, I saw that all the gnomes have a wadded beard and only me without a beard. I thought how monotonous and banal it was, and I decided to stand out: I asked my uncle Sasha, a plumber, to make me a beard out of tow. He said he would put my beard in the evening before the holiday. But my uncle had a corporate party, he did not come in the morning, he was not seen for another 3 days, and I, upset, in tears and snot, also did not go to play the gnome. So my theatrical career ended, almost without starting.

Expert opinion:

– The dream of a stage and the joy of participating in amateur performances, perhaps, gave the necessary attention that was lacking from loved ones. It was good compensation. It can be noted that Sergei is observant, a master of detail, not devoid of leadership qualities. At the same time, he still strives to be loved and appreciated..

Vitaly, 46 years old, physical education teacher:

– As a child, I dreamed of becoming a clown. Even for the New Year, my mother sewed a suit for Oleg Popov. Once I was sent to a grocery store. I had to buy bread, butter and something else (forgot). I forgot about the list even then, as I saw a smiling rubber clown in the window. There was enough money just for a toy. Without hesitation, I bought this clown, put it in a string bag and ran home joyful. I was so happy that my mother and sister could not fight, they only laughed. Then they constantly told this story.

Expert opinion:

– Cheerful and sociable. He loves heart-to-heart conversations, always becomes the soul of the company. A shirt is a guy who always has many friends and an easy attitude towards life. For a detailed description, there is very little information about the type of addition of this person. We can say that for Vitaly, sensations are always in the foreground, and then visual perception (how a person looks).