Essentially,human beings are the same in terms of sharing human nature andgeneral characteristics such as bodies, minds, thoughts and feelings.Interestingly, even with such commonality in essential features ofhumanity, each person is entirely different from the other. Ourpersonality draws the line between our common humanity and uniqueindividuality. Cloninger defines personality as the underlying causeswithin an individual that make them exhibit certain behaviors.
JenniRivera was a Mexican-American musician and actress who was born in1969 and died in a plane crash in 2012. Her birth name is DoloresJanny Rivera, although to many she was known as ‘La Diva de laBanda’ which translated into English means ‘The Diva of theBand’. Jenni, who hailed from a musical family, had an extremelysuccessful music career until it was cut short by the fateful planecrash in December 2012.
Thereare several theories on personality that can be used to relate toJenni’s life. The first is Freud’s Psychoanalysis theory thatwill be applied to Jenni’s early childhood experiences. The secondis Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology Theory which will be appliedto explain Jenni’s personality as exhibited throughout her life andcareer. The third theory that will be applied is Adler’s IndividualPsychology theory to examine Jenni’s birth order characteristicsand the motivation behind her life’s goals and ambitions.
Jenniwas the first born to Rosa and Pedro Rivera, who was born in LongIsland, California. Her parents were unregistered immigrants at thetime of Jenni’s birth. She was brought up alongside four brothersand a sister in a close-knit musical family. Her parents introducedthem to several genres of traditional Mexican music.
Evenwith her musical family’s background, Jenni did not venture intomusic in her early life. She attended school until her sophomore yearand got straight A’s. Her first setback came when she becamepregnant at the age of fifteen. She fell out with her parent due tothe pregnancy and had to get married to her first husband Jose Marinwith whom she lived eight years and got two more children.
Thoughher marriage was not blissful, the teenage mom was advised by hercounselors not to drop out of school. She juggled the volatilemarriage, schoolwork and sold CDs during her spare time to raisesupport for her children. When her marriage became unmanageableleading her depression and two suicidal attempts, Jenni left Marin.She reconciled with her parents and began working at her father’srecord label Cintas Aquario.
Jennidecided to make a recording as her gift for her dad for Father’sDay 1992. The recording was accorded significant airplay by severalradio stations in Southern California. She hit the Latin charts in2000. By 2012, she had sold over 20 million albums worldwide, makingher the all-time highest earning Banda singer. She earned nominationsin the 2003, 2008 and 2010 Latin Grammys and 2013, she posthumouslywon 6 awards at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Herfamily life was a roller coaster. Five years after separating withMarin, Jenni’s sister confessed that Marin used to molest her andhad done the same to Jenni’s two daughters. Jenni filed a caseagainst Marin, who was apprehended and sentenced to over three yearsin prison after spending nine years as a fugitive.
Jennigot married to her second husband, Juan Lopez, with whom she had adaughter and a son before divorcing in 2003. In 2007, Lopez wasconvicted of drug dealing, and he died of pneumonia complications in2009 while still in prison. Jenni got married again to baseballplayer Esteban Loaiza, but she filed for divorce in 2012 which wasnever completed owing to her death.
Inher biography, Jenni revealed her painful past including how she wasraped just after filming her first album and her physically andemotionally abusive first marriage. These experiences inspired her tobegin charity work, becoming a spokesperson for the NationalCoalition against Domestic Violence. She also started Jenni RiveraLove Foundation to help women recovering from violence, immigrantsand children with cancer.
Besidescharity work, Jenni also ventured into business. She launched JenniJeans, Jenni Rivera Fragrance, Divina Cosmetics, Divina Realty andDivine Music. She and her family also starred in several reality TVseries including Chiquis& Raq-C(2010), ILove Jenni (2011)and Chiquis‘n Control(2012). The successful Banda musician and business mogul’s risingstar was cut short by a plane crash that killed her.
Freudasserts that our personalities represent the power struggles going onwithin us. He believed that people turn to religion to help them dealwith anxieties and tensions that they cannot rationally explain. In alife full of drama right from childhood, Jenni was attending herpastor brother’s church. Her biography cites her as saying thatamidst all the chaos especially in her marital life, ‘she soughtpeace with God.’
CarlJung developed the extroversion and introversion in describingpsychic energy. The description of an extrovert as one who derivesgratification from what is outside oneself sounds to fit Jenni’spersonality. She derived pleasure from being with her fans, and theenergy that comes with stage performances. When she realized that hersister and daughters had been molested by her ex-husband, sheheroically took legal action against him well aware that legal actionwould mean the public getting to know about the molestation. She didnot seem averse to publicity.
Theway Jenni’s life unfolded from stumbling into her music career to astar, an actress, entrepreneur and charity worker appears to be inagreement with Jung’s theory of individuation. Jung posits thatindividuation is a lifelong process where layers of unconsciousnesspeel off one by one until we ultimately attain self-realization. Thefact that Jenni kept discovering other things that she enjoyed andwas good at is congruent with Jung’s theory.
Adlerheld that man’s fundamental desire and goal is a sense of belongingand to feel significant. He stressed on several things as influencingthis goal such as parental control, birth order, life style,education, et cetera. People who feel appreciated will tend to act ina cooperative way and stay connected, and vice versa. Jenni filed fordivorce in all her three marriages.
Giventhe troubled teenage years she had gone through, and hurts fromprevious marriages, she seemed to give up on marriages quickly. Therewas an incident where Jenni assaulted a fan on stage after the fanhit her with a beer bottle. Such defensive actions are characteristicof one who has not been offered much security and hence fought herbattles. Being the first born, kicked out at 15 while pregnant andending up in an abusive marriage are factors that could have fuelleda physically retaliatory behavior.
Allthese three theories provide insight in understanding the personalityand behavior of Jenni. However, one recording in Jenni’s biographystands to challenge Jung’s theory of extraversion. While Jenni’slife was an open book and almost all details were known to thepublic, she managed to keep secret an affair with a guy namedFernando. It only came to be known after her death through an entryin the biography she was writing. Also, she kept secret the newsabout her rape to until death. How possible is it for one to maintainsuch a high level of discretion while at the same time scoring sohighly on the extraversion scale?
Adler’stheory seemed to be more insightful in explaining Jenni’spersonality than Freud’s and Jung’s theories. Jenni’s brotherwas a pastor, so her attending church is not necessarily a religiousillusion to avoid facing reality. Jung’s theory has been challengedby incidents of utmost discretion in Jenni’s life that are morecharacteristic of introverts than the extrovert her lifestylesuggests she was.
Thetheory of Individuation seems to be adding up with the behaviorsdepicted by Jenni throughout her life. It is enthralling to see thatthere are theories that can almost map out one’s personalitycorrectly. Also, some attributes of an individual may seem to be inline with a particular theory but until the person’s behavior isobserved over time, conclusions cannot be made.
Cloninger,Susan.TheoriesOf Personality: Understanding Persons, 6thedition.Boston Pearson,2013. Print.
DoloresJanney Rivera Saavedra. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved06:41, Sep 12, 2014, fromhttp://www.biography.com/people/jenni-rivera-21063113.
Rivera,Jenni. Unbreakable.United States. 2, July 2013. Print.