ūüĎ∂ When I Was a Child… ūüĎ∂ Open Thread

February 24, 2017 by

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Looking around this country today you wonder about the absence of adult voices.  There are a few scattered here and there but if they are in the majority it is a silent majority.

We all do silly childish things occasionally. That is all too human and forgivable. When it becomes a way of life it is repulsive.

Women prancing around in vagina costumes? Wearing pink “pussy” hats on their heads? Image result for childish behavior cartoon imagesWhat is the point of this? If it is to protest their lack of freedom it’s a massive failure. You are free in this country to make a total ass of yourself. These women took advantage of that right and rode it into absurdity.

Name-calling like children on a playground is bad enough when it is in the population where there are bound to be, among the millions, a few nitwits. But politicians and media types are among the worst offenders.

Our new president is an offender. The previous POTUS was simply an arrogant, narcissistic liar. This one is a silly tweeter who says stupid things that many of the people like because they want to get back at the left.

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Trump is often silly and childish but damn doesn’t it feel good to see him swat those arrogant, biased, liars in the media? Shame on me – I like it too. I’ll even admit it’s childish. However on a scale measuring that admission and some twit being seen in public dressed as a vagina I feel little shame.

Oops, is that moral equivalence? Image result for shame face emojiShame on me.

Moral equivalence is a form of equivocation and a fallacy of relevance often used in political debates. It seeks to draw comparisons between different, often unrelated things, to make a point that one is just as bad as the other or just as good as the other.

 Can You Spot 10 Signs of a Childish Adult?

How can you assess if an adult  functions emotionally more like a child?

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.

2. Blaming

When things go wrong, young children look to blame someone.  Grownups look to fix the problem.

3. Lies

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.

4. Name-calling

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 lead the child either to get fussy?

7. Bullying

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?

8. Budding narcissism

In an earlier post I coined the term tall man syndrome¬†for one way that narcissism can develop.¬† If you can get whatever you want because you are bigger, stronger, richer etc, you become at risk for learning that the rules don’t apply to you.¬† Whatever you want, you take.¬† It’s all about you.

Note that narcissistic attitudes may look initially like strength.  In fact, they reflect rigidity.

Psychologically strong people can tolerate listening to others.¬† Narcissists are emotionally brittle.¬† It’s my way or the highway, like a child who wants to stay out and play even though dinner is on the table and pitches a fit rather than heed his 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 and then 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 something 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?¬† Sound like someone running for President?

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.¬† Their that it was, 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, as “ego syntonic” and justify it by blaming the other person.

The article above simply corroborated things I’ve seen and evaluated as childish or immature behavior. This behavior seems, at least to me, to be escalating.

Everything from college students needing puppies and coloring books to cope with life to grown men and women who are elected to represent us hurling insults at each other show a behavior pattern that we, as responsible adults should reject. And instead of applauding such behavior, no matter how good it feels, we should condemn it.

That isn’t easy. Payback is so satisfying.