Val isn't playing life coach by sharing some useful ideas gathered over 7 decades of life experience and hundreds of books on human nature.
You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.
-- Germaine Greer
Those Kids in Grownup Bodies
There are many easily recognizable folks out there who have stayed emotionally imprisoned in their childhood or early adolescence. We can spot them for their impulsive and self-centered behavior, and they are generally a pain in the butt for 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 their childish need for attention. They don't only talk loud, but also laugh loud, and usually use their hands for gesticulating as if to make themselves more convincing -- if they don't do it by using profanities or by bringing god down "to be their witness".
When they can't get attention in a positive way, they may resort to being obnoxious, just like toddlers banging on something when grownups are busy talking.
Characteristics of immature adults are so numerous that it's hard to catalog them by their types of display, and the following are just a few more beside those already mentioned.
Many of those folks who are emotionally stuck in their childhood almost can't have a conversation without frequently starting their sentence with: "I like...I hate...I always...I never..." -- as if those around should really feel obligated, or even take notes about it, so that they "may not make a mistake in the future by losing that from their sight".
Needless to say, they have to feel in the center of attention with the whole world orbiting around them, and that gets even amplified by an attitude of entitlement.
Family and society have to cater to their needs, and when they don't, anything may result -- from tantrums to a war. Yes, you read it right -- for, believe it or not, but many a state leader has some deep seated emotional immaturity which may guide their reasoning into a violent conflict.
By my personal diagnosing, I would call all politicians emotionally immature, for their overgrown need for public attention and power to manipulate.
Whether on domestic political arena, or international one, there is no other way to assess that constant need for conflicts, with no adult and rational tendency to establish a harmonious coexistence, whether in their country or globally.
Basically, my wife is immature. I'd be at home in the bath, and she'd come and sink my boats.
-- Woody Allen
Just Not Cut for Fair Discussions
Discussions are those verbal exchanges where the object is finding "what" is right; and debates are more gravitating over "who" is right -- which is a verbal delicacy of those emotionally immature folks.
Isn't that hilarious that we are having something like "election debates", which in advance means that no constructive solution is being sought, but who is going to outsmart whom.
What makes it even crazier is that even people are more into watching a verbal fight, rather than come out with a conclusion whose arguments sound wiser.
Indeed, those debates -- call them "badmouthing at the top" -- just insist on intellectual arrogance, as if following the advice of the famous ancient Roman orator Cicero, who advised his students: "Whenever you run out of sound arguments -- insult your opponent".
Debaters, from those in politics or science or at the home parties, are but some intellectual peacocks, often advertising their competence in the matter being debated, while putting down the brain capacity of the opponent.
Just like the rest of the immature folks, they are craving for a victory that will secure them more attention from those around.
One of debaters' favorite weapon is sarcasm, cynicism, and provocative humor, while they are using it as a defensive strategy -- following the old maxim: "The best defense is offense."
While not all of those immature debaters have something like stamina to brave to the very finish of such a verbal conflict, they use such defensive tactics as if to show how impervious they are to the opponent's advances.
It's really a kid's stuff, when they are saying: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
I used to know such a dude, who had this habit of turning every talk into a joke, targeting those around with his sarcastic comments. In reality, he apparently had nothing to contribute to the conversation, so he was like a kid who couldn't play a game, so he decided to spoil it to others.
We started as friends, and friendship was short, as I kicked his sarcastic ass out of my place -- of course, not physically, because I am a nice guy.
Immature poets imitate. Mature poets steal.
-- T.S. Eliot
With Hearts Starved for Love and Attention
That unconscious emotional starvation which is making such folks stuck in their childhood, sometimes expresses itself in a compulsive shopping. As they need to make themselves more visible and important, they keep trying to add something to their stature by adding to their possessions -- as if to symbolize their worth.
Then it outgrows into bragging and competing with siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, anybody -- possibly even turning into hoarding of unnecessary stuff in the house.
You may be surprised, but so many of those filthy rich folks are falling in this category, as their immature emotionality is pushing them to those extremes -- which they don't even enjoy, but need for their "front of importance".
It is not a rare story about movie celebrities who, in their autobiographies admitted how despite all fame and money they stayed emotionally impoverished for the entirety of their lives.
They just couldn't yank themselves out of some painful childhood impressions about their worthlessness.
There was all along that inner push to achieve, even if some artificial love and attention, which turned out to be a poor surrogate for a real thing, as they unconsciously never developed capacity to experience being loved.
As mentioned, immature individuals come in all forms and styles, while not all are pushing for attention in an active way -- there are those of a passive nature, but equally in a need to be noticed for their "special importance".
Here we are talking about those whom I call "mental beggars" -- those drama queens of this world, whiners and manipulators presenting themselves as victims of family, society, government, heartless bosses, a personal disadvantage... you name it.
They make themselves dependent on others' help, seeking social assistance, family support, they may even borrow money from friends and coworkers which they never pay back.
With an almost total lack of the sense of responsibility, their minds may even go criminal to any extent, as they are finding for themselves a valid justification for being like that.
Needless to say, they may be a true pain in the butt, especially for families who simply don't have a heart to abandon them. Just like manipulative kids -- what they basically are regardless of their age -- they are finding a soft spot to abuse in people of their lives.
At his point it would be good to make a distinction between such emotionally immature folks and neurotics.
While the former are mostly manipulative, one way or another to secure the attention of others -- the latter are truly unfortunate cases of sufferers lost in the mazes of their excessive repertoire of emotionality that tends to thwart their best intentions to live life in a way that would bring them satisfaction and joy.
An early trauma leaves a scar that refuses to heal, and they either need a professional help, or a good, doable self-help modality.
Many neurotics are very intelligent, artistic, just seemingly unable to get themselves out of their emotional mess.
With this distinction, let's leave this theme, while I am certainly hoping that some reader may recognize someone in their life who is displaying the mentioned symptoms of emotional immaturity.
© 2022 Val Karas