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Kurt Donald Cobain, known for being a song writer and lead singer for Nirvana was born in Hoquaim Washington on February 20, 1967. Cobain seemed to have a pretty happy childhood growing up in Aberdeen Washington, a small logging town, with his Mother (Wendy) and Father (Donald). However, at the age of 8 his parents got a divorce and Cobain became very withdrawn. He lived with his father after the bitter divorce and would visit his mother and sister (Kim, born in 1971) on the weekends.
Kurt’s father later remarried and Kurt resented his stepmother and her two children.
Its not hard to see the obvious road blocks that were developing in Cobain’s mental development as a child into his adolescents. His psychological development issues were mainly emotionally based issues, that lead to depression, isolation, and alienation. Cobain was a very unhappy child and adolescent. He would limit his interaction with his mother and sister, and ended up pushing himself farther away from his father, half-brother Chad (who was born in 1979)his stepmother, and her children .
Cobain during this time lacked a sense of belonging and family as a result of his environmental setting.
The environment that Cobain grew up in was unstable, and lacked any real moral standers for a child to understand. He bounced between his mother’s and his father’s house, and was also pushed on to different relatives. During this time there were also suspicions that Cobain was being physically abused and was present during periods of drug use .
His parents tried to be very supportive to his sister and himself, but they would yell and tight around the children before their very ugly divorce which caused a very unhealthy environment for the children and caused some emotional instability in the house.
But despite every obstetrical in Cobain’s childhood, he was encouraged to play sports and instruments by his parents, and his uncle Chuck gave him his first guitar during this rough period in Kurt’s life, which would be life changing , and would become his emotional escape from his own emotional turmoil. There was no report of psychological issues stemming from either his mother, father, or grandparents, so most of Cobain’s psychological conditions and poor psychological developments were based on his environment influences during his up childhood and adolescents.
It seems easy to say that Cobain’s family dynamic played a huge part in his development and growth psychologically. His parents failed in some ways to make sure their son was okay emotionally and morally, and it may have been their lives were just filled, or they felt as though Kurt was just a different sort of kid. But someone dropped the ball, and as a result Kurt turned drugs and Punk music in order to cope and deal with his feelings. In 1982, Kurt officially moved from his fathers house after his feelings of not being a part of “their family,” grew to be too strong.
He went to live with his mother, sister Kim, and his new stepfather Pat O’Connor. He attended Aberdeen High school, and impressed his teachers with his artistic talents, and odd taste in subject matter. Cobain’s development was stunted during this period in his life though. He used drugs and alcohol and would fight with his mother and couldn’t stand his stepfather. Kurt also got picked on and beat up by his peers in school, which lead to an even grater feeling of not belonging, inferiority, and low self worth.
His mother also drank heavily during the time Kurt lived with her, which made the situation even worse. He started listening to Punk music a lot at this time as well and associated with, and made friends with others in his area that listen to the same type of music and behaved in the same ways. He often spent time at his friend’s house’s and spent little, if any time as his mothers. In 1984 and 1985, Kurt’s mental adjustment shifted and so did his developmental growth. He lived (slept) in various places, including apartment building hallways and hospital waiting rooms.
Kurt was arrested in July of 1985 for spray painting buildings with his friends, which shows a little bit of his defiant and rebellious attitude and behavior which began to manifest itself . But Cobain’s focused remained to be his music, and in fact started his first band later that year. It is believed that Kurt’s way of adjusting to his surroundings and expressing himself would be through, drawing, music, writing, and painting. He lacked the ability to express himself in a positive manner, and had the emotional level or a child. Many of his peers, associates, and friends also had the same development issues.
However, his emotional instability and lack of development led to intravenous drug use and his suicide in 1994. When analyzing Kurt Cobain’s behaviors and his personality to gain a better understanding of this legend, the two theories that came to mind where Catell’s Factoring theory and the humanistic theory. The humanistic theory helps to explain why Kurt may have made some of the decisions he made in his life. Its based on how ones self perception and perception of others, can cause one to behave, feel, or react to life’s situations, towards themselves, and or others in their lives.
Now it’s apparent that Kurt’s childhood and parent’s played a part in his psychological development and growth. But, this theory explains that Cobain’s personality developed because of decisions he made because he wanted to make them. Not because its what his friends, family, or surroundings dictated that he make. He made these decisions to fulfill some type of self fulfillment. He did the things he did or had the traits that he had because he did it in order to handle or cope with his interpersonal beliefs and thoughts.
Catell’s theory is very black and white and he distinguishes between surface traits, which are behaviors that have been observed through out Kurt’s life. His drug use, isolation, and artistic talents. The other traits defined by Catell are source traits, which would be Cobain’s internal traits such as his self-loathing, depression, thoughts of suicide, anger, and self-rejection. Internal traits are responsible for our overt behaviors. Even though this analytical theory may seem cold it has been shown to describe and to gain a better understanding of ones traits and behavior.
For example this theory focuses on Cobain’s shyness, suspicious, shrewd, placid, emotional traits that not everyone may be aware of at first glance. The best theory to describe Kurt Cobain in my opinion is the humanistic theory. The reason this theory works best to analyze Cobain’s traits and behaviors is mainly because he was a good human being. He had such a strong passion for others. He loved people and was very tenderhearted . He wrote his music not only to free himself, but also to help others to feel happiness and enjoyment. He became upset when he felt his musical talent was being controlled for the wrong reasons.
He refused to live in the past and he focused on his music, future, and the family he was building with his wife Courtney Love. Even though he suffered emotional turmoil he always tried to convey a positive message in his music. Even though it may have been unclear to some, his true fans understand his lyrics and poetry. Even though some may see his drug abuse, overdose’s, and suicide as acts that are social unacceptable. The humanistic theory views that individual as important, and regardless if one views Cobain’s actions as negative or positive ones it does not lessen his value as a human being and a musical legend.
Cobain was an emotionally and psychological underdeveloped person that struggled his entire twenty-seven years on earth. However, he was also a kind, loving, talented, son, father, husband, brother, nephew, friend, and idol to many. He fought for freedom of speech and musical freedom. He fought against stereo types, and the media, while also trying to fight his own personal demons. However, we are all given free will, and regardless of our parents and others, we are still free to make whatever decisions we want to make, even if that decision goes down in history.
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