Many adolescent difficulties relate to the problem of not being able to tolerate the ‘gap’ between self and other, upon which subjectivity is founded. We have seen in Chapter 6 that one particular aspect of expressing difficulty with and defending against the pains of separateness and intimacy is to engage in behaviours and take up positions that appear more adult or at least show intolerance of the pains of dependency. On the other hand, it is possible to identify adolescents that appear to locate the problematic arena in the outside world of peers and adulthood. These adolescents appear to be stuck on the inside, within the child in the family role. This has the meaning that the impact of internal, familial and social factors, often in inextricable combinations, slows down or brings to a halt the adolescent development towards separateness and relative independence of parental figures. Thus, either physically or emotionally or both the adolescent is unable to become a ‘temporary outsider’. There is a range of adolescent difficulties that can be associated with being stuck on the inside. In order to explore the psychosocial aspects of these difficulties in adolescence, this chapter will discuss adolescents with phobias, body image disturbance and eating disorders and disabilities. This is followed by a discussion of depression and self-harm.
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