Evan referenced this article on the US Politics thread so blame him: Can You Spot 10 Signs of a Childish Adult?
10 Signs Therapists Note When They Assess Emotional Childishness or Maturity
1. Emotional escalations
Young children often cry, get mad, or look petulant and pouting. Grownups seldom do.
When things go wrong, young children look to blame someone. Grownups look to fix the problem.
When there's a situation that's uncomfortable, young children might lie to stay out of trouble. Grownups deal with reality, reliably speaking the truth.
Children call each other names. Adults seek to understand issues. Adults do not make ad hominen attacks, that is, attacks on people's personal traits. Instead, they attack the problem. They do not disrespect others with mean labels.
There is one exception. Sometimes adults, like firefighters who battle forest fires, have to fight fire with fire. They may need in some way to power over an angry child, or an out-of-bounds adult, in order to get them to cease their bad behavior. "Stop it!"
5. Impulsivity (or as therapists say, "poor impulse control")
Children strike out impulsively when they feel hurt or mad. They speak recklessly or take impulsive action without pausing to think about the potential consequences.
Adults pause, resisting the impulse to shoot out hurtful words or actions. They calm themselves. They then think through the problem, seeking more information and analyzing options . Similarly, instead of listening to others' viewpoints, they impulsively interrupt them.
Again, acting on impulse occasionally is a hallmark of mature behavior. Soldiers and police are trained to discriminate rapidly between harmless and dangerous situations so that they can respond quickly enough to protect potential victims of criminal actions.
6. Need to be the center of attention
Ever tried to have adult dinner conversations with a two-year-old at the table? Did attempts to launch a discussion with others at the table result in the child getting fussy?
A child who is physically larger than the other children his age can walk up to another boy who is playing with a toy he would like and simply take it. The other child may say nothing lest the bully turn on them with hostility. Safer just to let a bully have what he wants.
Adults respect boundaries. Yours is yours and mine is mine.
8. Budding narcissism
In an earlier post I coined the term tall man syndrome for one way that narcissism can develop. If children—or adults— can get whatever they want because they are bigger, stronger, richer etc, they become at risk for learning that the rules don't apply to them. Whatever they want, they take. "It's all about me."
This narcissistic belief may look initially like strength. In fact, it reflects a serious weakness in being unable to see beyond the self.
Psychologically strong people listen to others, listening to understand others' feelings, concerns and preferences. Narcissists who hear only themselves are emotionally brittle. It's my way or the highway. They operate like children who want to stay out and play even though dinner is on the table and pitch a fit rather than heed their parent's explanation that the family is eating now. "It's all about me; no one else counts; and if I don't get my way I'll bully you with anger or feel overwhelmed and pout."
9. Immature defenses
Freud coined the term defense mechanisms for ways in which individuals protect themselves and/or get what they want. Adults use defense mechanisms like listening to others' concerns as well as to their own. They then engage in collaborative problem-solving. These responses to difficulties signal psychological maturity.
Children tend to regard the best defense as a strong offense. While that defensive strategy may work in football, attacking anyone who expresses a viewpoint different from what they want is, in life, a primitive defense mechanism.
Another primitive defense is denial: "I didn't say that!" "I never did that!" when in fact they did say and do that. Sound child-like to you?
10. No observing ego, that is, ability to see, acknowledge, and learn from their mistakes.
When emotionally mature adults 'lose their cool' and express anger inappropriately, they soon after, with their "observing ego," realize that their outburst was inappropriate. That is, they can see with hindsight that their behavior was out of line with their value system. They can see if their outburst has been, as therapists say, ego dystonic (against their value system).
Children who have not yet internalized mature guidelines of respectful behavior toward others, or who have not developed ability to observe their behaviors to judge what's in line and what's out of line, see their anger as normal. They regard their emotional outbursts as "ego syntonic," justifying them by blaming the other person. "I only did it because you ..."
|No observing ego||5|
|Need to be the center of attention||5|
― El Tomboto, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 20:38 (five months ago)