7 Signs of Immaturity Therapists Say Adults Can Overcome | well+well

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WWhether it’s laughing at fart jokes or insisting on having your favorite sugary breakfast cereal on hand at all times, there are some things that can technically be classified as immature, which has a negative bias connotation, despite being totally benign with regarding how you operate in the world. Alternatively, certain signs of immaturity can have a serious impact on your life, and the lives of those around you, and you may not even realize that they are a problem that is potentially holding you back.

Many possible reasons point to why he might be holding on to immature behaviors, including being rewarded for being immature, being surrounded by other not-so-mature people, having an abusive upbringing, or not having mature role models growing up, says the clinical psychologist. John E MayerPhD, author of Family Fit: find your balance in life.

“In order to change a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior, a person must have some level of awareness that the behavior is problematic and that it has negative consequences.” —Monifa Seawell, MD, psychiatrist

But regardless of how they arose, you can’t correct or overcome immature behaviors if you don’t realize they’re at play. “In order to change a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior, a person must have, at a minimum, some level of awareness that the behavior is problematic and that it is causing harm and resulting in negative consequences,” he says. Monifa WellMD, a board certified psychiatrist in Atlanta.

To take some of the guesswork out of whether he’s showing signs of immaturity that might be holding him back, mental health experts outline common examples they see. And, attention, they are all repairable.

7 signs of immaturity, plus how therapists suggest working with them

1. You have rapid emotional escalations

Everyone has moments here and there where they quickly get fired up, but if this is a response when you’re upset, it’s a sign of immaturity, says the psychologist. Peter EconomiuPhD, program director in the department of Applied Psychology at Rutgers University.

“Rapid emotional escalations are likely to involve the idea that someone is ‘attacking’ you or that there is some other cognitive distortion involved,” he says. That is, you may regularly perceive things as more serious or intense than they really are, and react at a heightened level as a result.

How to grow out of it: A form of counseling like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you understand why you have the immediate response you do and how to channel it into something healthier, says Dr. Mayer.

2. You tend to blame others when things go wrong.

sure, sometimes is someone else’s blame when things go wrong, like your roommate soiling your favorite shirt in the washing machine because they left a pen in your pocket. But constantly blaming others, even when he knows deep down that the problem has nothing to do with them, indicates that he is unwilling to take responsibility for his actions, says Dr. Mayer.

How to grow out of it: Fixing this “requires the help of others and trust in others to point out the reality of their accusations,” he says. Basically, if your friend graciously notes that you’re the common denominator in your long string of messy breakups, it’s probably worth at least listening to him instead of lashing out at him for bringing this to your attention.

3. You have impulse control problems.

Maybe this means deciding to go out drinking the night before a big work deadline or booking a really expensive vacation on a whim. Regardless of how it presents itself to you, having trouble controlling your impulses is a behavioral response that is tied to your frontal lobe, i.e. the area of ​​your brain that is responsible for controlling your responses and monitoring yourselfsays Dr. Economou. And without having control over that control, he risks making irresponsible decisions for his life and his future.

How to grow out of it: That can also be helped with CBT, says Dr. Economou. His therapist might recommend what’s known as “frontal lobe conditioning,” which involves things like mindfulness and meditation to help him understand that his reactions are likely a response to something else going on.

4. You feel like you need to be the center of attention

This can be a bit tricky to identify, since a desire to be in the center of attention it could be a sign of narcissistic personality disorder, says Dr. Economou. “But there is a spectrum of needing to be the center of attention,” he adds, and noticing when it becomes problematic is the key to overcoming the sign of immaturity.

How to grow out of it: If you find that you feel discouraged when the focus is not on you, Dr. Economou recommends taking a moment and thinking about your personal values: “If being a caring person is important to you and you need to be the center of attention, think about how you could be denying someone in your environment or inner circle and not actively listening to them.” Reminding yourself of that in certain situations can help you learn to keep that urge in check.

5. You always put yourself first

This can be another sign of immaturity that’s hard to deal with, given the value of taking care of yourself, says Dr. Economou. “It’s important to differentiate when there is pathological narcissism versus being confident,” he says. “Confidence is not negative.” Where things become inherently negative is when they interfere with interpersonal relationships, or when you constantly receive feedback that is difficult to work with.

How to grow out of it: Awareness is half the battle, says Dr. Seawell: “A person needs to be aware that their behaviors are harmful, but they also need to be concerned that they are harming themselves or others.” Listening to feedback from the people in your life and taking into account their thoughts can also be a big help for you, says Dr. Mayer. If that doesn’t seem to work, therapy can help you identify where you’re crossing the line between confidence and selfishness or narcissism, says Dr. Economou.

6. You have a hard time learning from your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but learning from them and doing your best to avoid that particular mistake in the future is a sign of maturity, says Dr. Economou. “It takes a certain level of insight to be able to understand and accept mistakes,” he says. However, for some people, it’s easy to get into cycles of making the same mistakes without being aware of them or having an active intention to prevent them from happening again. That, says Dr. Economou, is a sign of immaturity.

How to grow out of it: A therapist can help you identify strategies on how to break the cycle. Time can also be helpful, says Dr. Mayer.

7. You try to avoid taking responsibility

Responsibility, whether it’s holding down a steady job, paying rent, or being in a relationship, “requires a certain level of emotional maturity,” says Dr. Economou.

How to grow out of it: If you feel like you’re constantly rejecting responsibility in your life, Dr. Economou recommends taking small steps to change that, like volunteering to host your next dinner party with friends or taking care of your parents’ dog for a few days. You can speed things up from there.

While it is possible to change these common signs of immaturity, unless the person is interested in overcoming them, no change will occur. “None of these behaviors will change unless the individual wants that change,” says Dr. Mayer.

If you’ve recognized that you’re showing some of these signs of immaturity in your life and you really want to do something about it, “it’s worth connecting with a reputable, licensed, trained mental health professional,” says Dr. Seawell. . They should be able to help you identify where you’re going wrong and put a plan in place to fix things.

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