Growing Up © Martyn Carruthers

Are immature adults part of your life? Do they blame you for their behavior?
Do you avoid them; do you just hope that they will grow up or do you seek solutions?

Immaturity & Emotional First Aid

Immature adults are rarely bad, stupid nor lazy, nor are they immature all the time. Most immature adult behavior reflects a lack of mature parenting and other childhood disappointments. The consequences are most obvious in adults’ relationship behavior.

The results of immature parenting include adults who act childishly, driven by unpleasant emotions, obsessions, compulsions and fixations. They may endlessly repeat whatever they did as children to get some substitute for parental love.

Whenever I asked my husband for help with housework, he reacted
like an angry boy, and accused me of not understanding his need to relax.
That wasn’t too bad until we had a real child – but he was jealous of our baby boy.
I was ready for divorce, but your couple coaching helped us both take responsibility for our lives.

Their immaturity may prevent them considering how their behavior affects other people. Immature adults often perceive other people as potential sources for their childish needs, not as human beings who have needs and feelings of their own.

My wife treated me like a bank machine and
she used a little girl voice when she wanted to go shopping.
Since your couple coaching, we have both grown up considerably.

Immature adults seem more difficult if you ignore their apparent age and just hope that they will somehow grow up. If you learn to recognize what causes and maintains their childish or teenage behavior, you can better communicate with them.

Sometimes they CANNOT behave like responsible adults. At times they are children mentally and emotionally. Don’t be misled by their’ physical age, education or intelligence – childish people often forget what they learned since their childhood. Try guessing their emotional age (tone of voice is a useful clue).

Notice when YOU act childishly or feel like a teenager, and gain insight into immaturity. Common triggers for age regression include pain, certain places, certain tones of voice; difficult memories or music that was liked as a teenager.

We were married for three years. When we were on the edge of divorce,
a good friend suggested we contact you first. You showed us that we were acting like
two lost children, both wanting the other to be the mature parent that neither of us had.

Immature adults often lack integrity and may behave like they are empty inside. They may have little idea of who they are – although they always know what they need. Not only are they confused about who they are, they are confused about who you are. And if you allow yourself to become entangled with them, you may feel just as confused.

Once you recognize their childishness – you can treat those people like children. You can explain their limits, make contingency plans, reward acceptable behavior and describe what is not acceptable … and the consequences of their violations.

My husband would flirt with other women, even in front of me.
He only stopped when I told him that his consequences would include my lawyer.

Around one in every four people will experience an emotional or relationship crisis this year, perhaps blamed on the economy, on a partner or on some other conflict. Many of these people will seem to shut down, become depressed and express age-regressed emotions. You can expect them to behave immaturely and to make childish threats.

My doctor said that I had a personality flaw that caused me to act childishly.
He referred me to a psychologist, who I met weekly for a year with no real change.
Since our online sessions, however, my flaw vanished and I feel much more mature.

However, immature people who want to feel good without effort may resent any hints that their behavior is at fault. Don’t expect to be showered in gratitude if you hint that their mental laundry is overdue for a wash or that little will change until they do.

Do you have an Inner Child?

Inner child is often used to describe age-regressed, childish motivations. Carl Jung talked about a ‘Divine Child‘. Emmet Fox referred to a ‘Wonder Child‘. Charles Whitfield described a ‘Child Within‘. Sigmund Freud called them ‘complexes‘ and in psychosynthesis they are called ‘ego states‘. We usually call them split-off parts!

My life goal is to live like a 5-year old child, to live a life of playful wonder and happiness. …
The universe should take care of me and give me whatever I need. I don’t know what I’m
doing wrong. Yes, my parents divorced when I was 5 … how did you know?

You may split-off part of you when you cannot cope with strong emotions and try to dissociate or ignore those emotions. A common example is when parents with young children divorce. When you successfully dissociate, you may lose conscious contact with that part of you, but it doesn’t go away. Rather the emotions come back whenever triggered by your thoughts, memories, dreams or by other triggers. Some people call these split-off parts inner children.

Do you have an inner child? Do immature parts of you sometimes control all of you? Most people seem to have some age regressed parts. When you decide you want to grow up, we can help you assimilate these parts and become one person again.

You helped me build a healthy relationship with myself.
I can finally stop criticizing, punishing and sabotaging myself.

We can support your values and your goals. We can help you manage difficult emotions and build healthier relationships with your family, colleagues and friends.

What is an ‘Inner Child’?

If you feel unpleasant emotions and have unwanted obsessions or compulsions,
you may call them entities, gremlins, demons … or inner children.

If you do not assimilate or integrate these parts of you, they can remain split-off for the rest of your life. This fragmentation is common. How old do you act when you feel ill?

Whenever I got really angry, it was like a demon took over me. You asked me how old was the demon … I was shocked … it was a little boy … it was ME … very angry about his parents’ divorce … and he sort of came out whenever my wife reminded me of my mother, who killed herself. I wanted to destroy that side of me, but you helped me befriend that little boy …
he’s safe now … he’s grown up … and his anger became my motivation
. Birmingham

Are you a child at heart, searching for some childish meaning in life (e.g. toys, cartoons or chocolate)? Many emotional issues originate in childhood – does an inner child control much of your life? Do you want to change?

Would your Inner Child like an Inner Babysitter?

Following a childhood crisis, traumatized children may feel overwhelmed by their emotions, and disconnect from them. Until this is resolved, the crisis is not over.

The relief of dissociating unpleasant emotions can feel wonderful, and is a basis for many popular “therapies”. However, many people compensate for this loss of personal identity by developing undesirable habits, obsessions and compulsions – or by seeking people with similar problems – or people who act like parents.

All my life I wanted people to make decisions for me. During our second session,
I found that my fears started when I was about two. It was like a baby was
hiding inside me, fearful that it would never be loved. You helped
that baby inside me to grow up and merge with me.

Some people have inner babies who seem to have split-off before or during birth. We assume that neurotransmitters in the mother’s blood can transmit a mother’s intense emotions to a developing fetus through the umbilical cord. (See also Vanishing Twin).

Did some trauma split your personality? Does a young YOU communicate through compulsive thoughts or impulsive emotions? Perhaps you have blocked unpleasant memories. We have remedies for this if you want to change.

Childhood trauma can lead to an inability to make adult decisions; with ongoing shame, guilt and self-abuse, as well as limiting beliefs, learning disabilities, depression and relationship chaos. We can help you find and assimilate your split-off childish parts as steps on your path to emotional maturity and adult relationships.