It's been made very clear to me that in many ways I am still a child. I didn't have the best role models when I was younger, I didn't have enough messages of personal responsibility (as opposed to accountability) that really sank in, and I actively resisted growing up because I enjoyed being young and carefree. I stil have quite a few self centered ideas and mindsets that come out at odd moments and bad times. I also had few of the traditional milestones that mark adulthood and I think this may have affected me. My mother is rather childish and I may have imprinted on her more than I would like to admit.
So, I ask: how does a person grow up? I've met many people who never do. I know that many times having children has the effect of maturing the parent, as they have to care for a new life and become less self centered. Sometimes working does it. But I find myself in a committed relationship and I'm still having trouble making the switch from "I" to "we," nine years into things. Part of it's being an only child, I'm sure, and part of it is the school I went to, and part of it my introversion when young.
Growing up, becoming less self centered, seems like it comes naturally to others but I feel like I need a training manual with a workbook. I feel like I shouldn't need that, that I should just be able to absorb all of the things I already know I need to do, and just do them. Something doesn't connect. I still feel immature, deep down at my core level. Deep inside I feel the same way I did when I was five, and ten, and so on. I feel like I am playing at adulthood but not quite getting it right.
Roh, I'm 60 and I'm still wondering when I'm going to grow up sometimes. My darling son is 38 and I did raise him on my own with some help from my family. At times he seems to be way more 'mature' and smart about like than I am.
I think it is human nature to sometimes be selfish and self-centered. It's the old survival instinct. And the fight or flight instinct too. Don't get me wrong, I can be very generous with my time, advice (when asked for) and some of my philosophical musings on life. I love being around most people but my closest friend is my sister. It is difficult for me to abide stupidity but I try to refrain from being too critical of others - I have a lot of scars on my tongue...lol.
You are a very intellegent woman and sometimes I think too critical of yourself. I believe we all need to improve ourselves but we also need to accept and love ourselves too.
I know you love your partner very much but have you considered that she might not be the 'right' one for you? I can also understand the fear of being alone but you are stronger than you think you are.
Being childish is not necessarily a bad thing - it helps keep us young at heart. I still like to swing at the playground. I never was any good on the monkey bars but I loved the swings. Enjoy your inner child unless she does something that causes hurt - to yourself or others. And, there is a time and place to let the child out.
Roh, you are a good person and you are constantly trying to improve yourself - one of these days I'm sure you will get to where you want to be.
Thanks for that response... I appreciate your thoughts. One of the central things that I need to learn is how to be easier on myself, but at the same time behave better toward other people. I also really need to re-learn how to relax!
Be glad to have your "childish" parts. I lost mine a long time ago. I don't see humor the same as a lot of people. I can't even stand to watch a sitcom. Don't even get me started on "Jackass" type comedy or the movie like "The Hangover." I don't see funny that way.
I'm a very stoic and don't laugh a lot. My gf and my son are the passionate ones. I can be in a crowded room and be alone at the same time. It makes me feel good my son didn't turn out like me in that respect. Too many years of on my own and being the example. I'm the oldest of 6 and had to be the example since I was about 10. I had 12 elementary schools by the time I was in the 6th grade. We moved a lot.
My field in the service (Navy Hospital Corpsman), I was usually the example of properness. Always clean, sharp dressed, and always the Professional. Near the end of my military career, I had some mental health issues (major stress burn-out) and loss a lot of my passion. Never my caring, but my passion for thing.
Embrace your childish parts and don't take yourself to seriously. I take nothing seriously, because I can't. Example: A laughing child, I can't laugh with it, but I can enjoy their laughter. I can't laugh at what it laughs. I can just be happy it's happy.
You, dear lady, can laugh at what the child laughs at. So embrace that and never feel bad because your childish some times. Some of us can't be.
I believe you should take more time to identify yourself about who you are and what you should be doing. Growing up does not solely mean to become more matured on the outside but I belive it includes being more responsible.
The fact that you don't find Jackass or The Hangover funny doesn't mean you've lost anything. Those kinds of shows are designed to make 14 year-old boys laugh. I'd be far more worried if you did find them funny.
The fact is, we change constantly over the course of our lives. We're never the same person that we were a year ago or 5, 10, 20 years ago. Our experiences change us.
In terms of relationships, we're all self-centered to an extent: we expect the relationship to meet our needs. If we invest in the needs of our partner, it's at-least partially because we expect a return on that investment--we expect them to be attentive to our needs.To use Gary Chapman's language, if you help keep your partner's love tank full, then they'll have the fuel they need to do the same for you.
Roh, perhaps you'd enjoy doing something 100% for others, like volunteering at a soup kitchen, or whatever does it for you. I find it liberating to sometimes devote myself entirely to a task that is not about me at all.
Roh, let me start by saying that I love how so many people have chimed in and tried to help. This is what community is all about!
Now, along the lines of other feedback, maybe you need to begin by learning to accept and have compassion for yourself. Once you feel more of these, you will feel more confident and stronger in yourself and have more to give to others. Then you can be supportive and understanding of yourself while also being able to understand others and care about them. You might find it helpful to read my Psychology Today post All Self-Improvement Starts Here .
Sorry I am late, got up wayyy late this morn.!!! Why? Why would you want to lose your inner child? That is a lot of what makes us, well, us?! I still love some of the same things I loved as a child! Yes, I have had two wonderful children. Do I think they are more mature than I, well, maybe in some ways? I just don't care! I am me, they are who ever they want to be, we cannot please everyone, all the time!
You are way over critical of yourself sometimes! Why not just relax, and let it flow? Why do you need to be so mature, all of a sudden? Does your Partner demand this of you? Or did she say something to you about this? Maybe it is she that has the problem, not you? Could she be "Projecting"? Putting on you, something she does not want to deal with???
Roh, I have come to know you fairly well, these past couple of years. You have never appeared childish to me, or to anyone you responded to? What is maturity? An aging of something? A ripening? Why pursue aging? We age fast enough, without wanting to faster?! Let it go, and let life flow!
You will get there, when you need to!
Have you read any of Dr. Leslies blogs? You should try them, if you haven't already?! A lot of them will teach you about loving yourself, and accepting who you are?! Please read them, or re-read them, and really listen to what they are saying?!
I want you to stay exactly the same, and yes, that is me being selfish!!! LOl!!!
Please take it easy on yourself, Roh, please?!!!!!!
Being gentler with myself is one of my goals. The reason why I need to know how to grow up is this: in print, I do pretty well. In person it's another story. I keep misreading people's cues because I am so oversensitive, and that is partly due to immaturity. Or so I think anyway. There is a self centeredness that gets in the way of seeing things from other points of view because I am too busy feeling hurt. We as people are often really selfish, we live in a selfish culture. But it's getting in the way of my most important relationship. It's getting in the way of my recognition that my spouse is actually being kind, loving, and understanding, because my own headtrips keep telling me she's not. Then I come to my senses and realize the real situation, but by then feelings have already been hurt and time has already been lost.
Your comment signature says it all "Your focus determines your reality". I believe our focus effects us everyday...I hope your focus gives you the peace you deserve on this topic. I'm glad so many people helped you. It's hard for me to give advice at the moment when I'm in this situation with my husband, so I can only wish you peace of mind. Be blessed!
I am sorry to see you are still struggling with this? I'll tell you what to look for, look at your grandparents! How do they act? How do they respond to different things? Then, look at your parents, how do they handle different things, or situations? Watch how other adults interact with one another, and then you will start to get it into your brain, and it will start to come to you naturally!!! We grow up watching our parents and grand parents, other adult couples, and we emulate them when we grow up. THAT, is how we learned to be an adult. Since you were an only child, you were probably sheltered from a lot of things that us less fortunate have experienced? Do you have a good relationship with your mother? If yes, perhaps you could ask her to help?
I don't know how else to explain it? I can only wish you luck, and hope Dr. Leslie can maybe help some more???
Good luck, Roh!!! I sincerely hope you can find some peace with this?
I don't ever want to lose my childlike ability to feel wonder, and simple happiness. I do, however, want to quit that "it's all about me, and I deserve to get what I want, and I'm going to pout or whine if I don't get what I want" behavior.
I think some of this goes back to my upbringing, many of the adults I imprinted on acted rather babyish. My mother, in particular, was extremely self centered and was a horrible role model for me. My dad was a little better but since he was totally blind he was somewhat dependent on her. I didn't have very many people that could just teach me life skills, and thus I have gotten used to self teaching and I have trouble learning things from other people in certain contexts. Anyway, it gets complicated, so I'll go back to my main point here.
With poor examples in childhood, I think I picked up some rather selfish traits and bad relationship habits. So it's up to me to get better habits. Talking about it here helps, your advice helps too. I'm trying to get my brain to be in a positive, problem solving mindset more of the time, instead of slipping back into the "me, me, me, I don't want to change because change is scary" type mindset.
Of course, it makes perfect sense! You are human!!! We are fallible creatures, don't you know? We make mistakes, what makes us mature, we learn from our mistakes!!! If you don't, or can't learn from a mistake, then perhaps you really are immature? But, from all I have noticed from you, you seem to have a great ability to learn from past mistakes?
While its ok to be somewhat self centered, what you describe is not. Acting like a spoiled brat is not acting mature, so I see the point you make! You need to be more "SELF AWARE", as in Dr. Leslie's blogs, "Compassionate Self Awareness"!!! Have you read them yet? Some of them on right here on this site, as she has posted them here, in a shorter version, but still helpful. I sincerely hope you read them, I have learned a great deal from her postings/blogs!!! You can too!!! Go to her Website, I believe there is a link here somewhere? Find it, and please, please take the time to read, and really understand what they say!
I know this is probably hurting your head over this, but hang in there, somehow, someway we shall find the answers you seek!!!
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