Have you ever been around someone seemingly bright and knowledgeable only to notice them behave badly in a childish manner? Chances are something has stopped them growing up emotionally…
Collectively we still fail to understand the difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. While we grow up intellectually and chronologically, we do not always grow up emotionally. We can have gaps in our development for all kinds of reasons, but it’s often due to something that happened in childhood. For example, a child — let’s call him John — has has five blissful years on the planet when his father suddenly dies. His mother, in her grief, plummets into a depression that she never really recovers from.
John is effectively orphaned at that point. With neither parent there to attend to his emotional needs. This trauma and loss will likely effect John’s ability to learn. Unless that’s picked up at school, he could remain in that ‘state’ for the rest of his life. His development stunted, much like a scratch on a record, or a rogue program that keeps replaying. Years later, John is unresponsive and unemotional toward his partner, going through the motions but never fully connecting.
Most of us experience some sort of loss in life, be it a death or loss of something significant such as a job, marriage or other relationship. If we don’t go through all the necessary stages of grieving — maybe we get stuck in the anger phase for example — we could be constantly exploding in rage, or in a permanent state of irritation. If the emotion felt was one of fear this is the anxiety that could be constantly repeating itself in your physiology. It can be difficult to grow up emotionally if we can’t get past this.
So how do you change how you feel?
Even many talking therapies do not address the emotions – pure understanding doesn’t always do what you’d hoped. Just because understand why you behave a certain way or react to situations or people, it doesn’t mean you can just consciously switch it off and change change how you feel. So what can change how you feel?
How can you grow up emotionally? Shameless plug, but reading books like ‘I Just Want To Be Happy’ by Adrian Blake and Susan D Smith can help. Listening to Stress Free Relaxation with Confidence will build your self-esteem and strengthen your ego (at a deeper level).
If you want to grow up emotionally, read stop letting your inner child rule your life.
Get to know yourself. You will not become enlightened until you are embodied. Get grounded to stop yourself from spacing out or fragmenting. Get into your body. Feel, sense, watch and listen to your feelings. Perhaps you’ve been trained out of your ‘gut instinct’?
For women it often lives in the stomach or at the top of the womb, men may feel it in their stomach or lower back. You find out where it lives, tune in and get to know yourself better so that you can trust your inner feedback and start to know what’s best for you. What do you want, what do you need?
Find therapists and therapies that address emotional states. Hypnotherapy can do this as can yoga therapy and some NLP.
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Also please look at our products and courses in The Stresshacker store to help assist you with your journey.
Update: This is such a popular article that it’s inspired me to work on more articles on the subject. Thanks for your interest! In the meantime, here are some that will give you even more information about childlike behaviour either in yourself or in someone you know.
Do you let your Inner Child rule your life too much? What about your Inner Parent? This article gives insights into being more Adult in your life.
Send your Inner Child to bed. This is a longer piece about time management techniques, but the first half deals with the issue of WHY you might be procrastinating, missing deadlines or getting work done late. You guessed it, Inner Child.