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People Stuck at Their Childhood's Emotions

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.

Many people find some kind of emotional payoff by staying emotionally stuck in their childhood or adolescence.

Many people find some kind of emotional payoff by staying emotionally stuck in their childhood or adolescence.

Some children grow up before their parents.

-- Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Kids in Grownup Bodies

There are many easily recognizable folks out there who have stayed emotionally imprisoned at their childhood or early adolescence. We can spot them for their impulsive and self-centered behaviors, and they are generally a pain in the butt, one way or another, to those who have to deal with them.

Quite oftentimes the chances are that you may hear them even before you see them, as they are always the loudest ones around, expressing that childish need for attention.

They don't only talk loud, they also laugh loud, and usually use hands to make themselves more convincing -- whenever they don't resort to profanities, or "bring God down to be their witness".

Immature grownups are typically driven by their emotions, which have hijacked their reasoning to a degree.

When they can't get that badly needed attention in a positive way, they are bound to go obnoxious, just like those toddlers who keep banging on something making noise to grab the attention of those around. in those shrinks' textbooks it's called "asking for negative strokes."

As we are about to see, immature folks have a whole possible repertoire of expressing their immaturity -- albeit not all of them are displayed in a single person.

Characteristics being too many to be cataloged, let's see some of them.

Emotional immaturity may be displayed by an exaggerated self-importance usually inconsiderate of anybody else.

Emotional immaturity may be displayed by an exaggerated self-importance usually inconsiderate of anybody else.

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.

-- Pat Monahan

A Mega Self- Centeredness

Some of those adults who are emotionally stuck in childhood almost can't have a conversation without frequently starting sentence with: "I like...I don't like...I want... I don't want... I always...I never...-- as if those around them should feel obligated to care, or even take notes about their preferences, so that "others may not lose it from sight while dealing with them in the future".

That need to be in the center of attention gets further amplified by an attitude of entitlement. Family and society have to cater to their needs, and when they don't, anything may result.

Anything from a tantrum to a war may happen, because, believe it or not, but many a leader has had some deep emotional immaturity with an overblown ego of a careerist, a social climber, with a strong need to make a big splash, if not a global tsunami.

From those capricious kings of the past, all into these days, when the global diplomatic community, from time to time, has to put up with whims of some crazy immature idiot.

When they are of an intellectual type, they tend to display a lot of their intellectual arrogance with an academic vanity as an additional trait. In discussions it's by far more important to them "who ends up right", than "what ends up right".

Oftentimes immature adults have some deep seated insecurities, which they overcompensate by coming strong in their interactions with others.

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When they are of an intellectual type, they tend to display a lot of intellectual arrogance in discussions where it's, by far, more important "who ends up to be right" than "what ends up to be right".

They tend to put others' knowledge and competence down, as if following that advice by the ancient Greek orator Cicero given to his students: "Whenever you happen to run out of healthy arguments -- insult your opponent."

Which reminds me of the times when this Hub Pages used to have Questions & Answers feature, how I had some fun with those who would resort to insults and name calling, once that in a lack of something "winning" to say.

Just like the rest of immature grownups, they are craving for those small victories which feel like a proof of their being a "big man". As kids, they either didn't get enough attention, or they got too much of it.

No fame or money can sometimes remove a deep seated sense of one's unworthiness.

No fame or money can sometimes remove a deep seated sense of one's unworthiness.

Immature, and non-matching partner, causes stress and conflict. One may compromise, otherwise it's not a life.

-- Ehsan Sehgal

Rich or Poor, They May Be Equally Emotionally Immature

As these folks need to make themselves more important and visible, they try to add something to their stature by amassing their possessions, which is to symbolize "their personal worth".

Then it outgrows into bragging and competing with friends, siblings, and neighbors. It may also turn into hoarding of specific items, but also a lot of old clothes, because getting rid of them would feel like "having less, being less".

You may find it hard to believe, but some of those filthy rich individuals are deep down very emotionally immature, unable to get enough attention, no matter how famous they have become, and how glamorous their life style may be.

Just like a few of those movie celebrities, who admitted in their autobiographies how they had never felt loved or appreciated despite their fame. They simply couldn't free themselves from some painful childhood impressions about their worthlessness, and no one could fill that void in their hearts.

So far we have been focusing on those types of emotional immaturity who, one way or another, demanded attention, respect, and catering to their emotional needs, or tried to be more "important" by having more. However, there are also others whom I will categorize as "mental beggars".

Mental beggars are those constantly begging for sympathy, for understanding, for emotional support, playing a "victim" card.

Those are the drama queens of this world, whiners and pathetic manipulators proclaiming themselves to be victims of the family, society, or their bad luck in life. They make themselves dependent on others' help, understanding, and emotional support, seemingly unable to sever that umbilical cord from family.

Their almost nonexistent sense of responsibility makes them a true pain-in-the-butt to those who simply "don't have a heart to abandon them".

Just like manipulative children, they take advantage of the soft spot of those aroiund them, and cleverly keep abusing them.

"Poor-me-precious-me" attitude, once picked up in childhood gets often taken into the adulthood.

"Poor-me-precious-me" attitude, once picked up in childhood gets often taken into the adulthood.

Neurotics complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to taking it away from them, they will defend it like lioness her young.

-- Sigmund Freud

Responsibility to ourselves and life stems from emotional maturity.

Responsibility to ourselves and life stems from emotional maturity.

Neurotics, Champions at Emotional Immaturity

Among those emotionally immature who let others cater to their needs, the hardest ones to deal with are neurotics. While the characteristic of being calculative in their using those around them may be the same in all, neurotics take it a step further by having actually convinced themselves that they are "incapable of being completely functional in life".

Their self-inflicted suffering is simply serving a purpose of gaining sympathy and support -- which then stretches into abusing those around.

Persons like that keep playing "poor-me-precious-me" card in all their relationships, whether at home, or job, or among friends, or total strangers. They have successfully convinced themselves that it's beyond their power to enjoy life, as they frequently use their hypochondria trying to convince others as well.

While mental beggars are manipulative on purpose, neurotics are emotionally disabled to function normally in life, having convinced themselves that something is wrong with them.

Neurotics may resort to hysterical tantrums if pressured to do something about their "condition" -- especially since in their own, perverted way they have become quite fond of their version of a comfort zone.

This brand of emotional immaturity may fall quite hard on family members, because it's not easy to help someone who doesn't want to be helped while insisting that "their problem is beyond repair".

Which brings to mind that definition of hypochondriac: "someone who only feels good when they feel bad". It has actually been proven scientifically that neuropeptides (chemical equivalents of emotions) of crappy emotions can nicely fit into the pleasure receptors in brain.

Meaning that we can become literally addicted to feeling lousy.

A psychotherapist admitted in his book how oftentimes he feels like "kicking the ass of some patients all the way to the door, when they refuse to be helped."
Insisting on that suffering self-image, neurotic folks won't easily give up their emotional racket.

However, this type is not to be confused with those legit cases where patients are emotionally too stuck in some childhood emotional trauma, possibly needing a long term therapy with some pharmaceuticals to ease their suffering.

One of the greatest indicators of emotional maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.

-- David A. Bednar

And Finally, What Is Emotional Maturity

Basically it's characterized by an inner hierarchy of mental forces where emotions have to take the second place after the reason, logic, and conscious choosing.

It's also a mental organization of certain personal sovereignty, meaning that we are not suggestible puppets of family and society. Emotionally mature people have a developed strong sense of their individuality, as well as responsibility for their own life.

They know what they want, and they got a full emotional support in the pursuit of their goals.

They are good at allowing the full expression and guidance of their emotions where reasoning would just be in a way -- notably in love, sex, play, entertainment, fun, artistic expression, enjoying music, dance, and humor, and whatever else may call for an exclusive investment of emotions.

I hope that the distinction between emotional maturity and immaturity has been presented clearly enough, and who knows, maybe an occasional reader may even recognize some of their own traits that call for correcting.

Namely, unlike those hard boiled neurotics, who may need a sort of a therapy, most of other emotionally immature people may only need a change in attitude about their own life, as well as a changed attitude towards those around them, who may deserve more respect from them.

A video about how immaturity affects a relationship

© 2022 Val Karas

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