Two common presenting problems our clients tend to share are precocious emotional maturity and a lack of assertiveness in personal relationships.
Let’s look at the maturity problem first – and yes, it can be a problem.
People mature, emotionally and psychologically, based primarily on four variables:
- You need to be smart – not “gifted” but smart enough to process a complex world;
- You need to be sensitive – insensitive people have no motivation to mature;
- You need to grow up having to learn to cope with at least some problems on your own. Again, rescued or hovered over children have no reason to grow up – and usually don’t;
- Finally, your first response to the unexpected needs to be fear, not anger. Anger based people learn to use aggression as their only coping device and, again, they have no reason to mature.
Our clients generally have all of these 4 traits and are frequently “mature beyond their years” and have been since adolescence.
The results? Loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, and a tendency to drink their way down to lower level peers, spouses, family members and friends. Remember, alcohol is not just a depressant, it’s also a regressant.
The fix for this problem? Recognizing it, understanding how you compare to spouses, chronologic peers, and others and how to manage them – that all helps.
It also helps to know that there are reasons that you don’t fit in, and when you recognize that alcohol abuse is just a way of fitting in – were you wouldn’t really want to in any case – you can begin to manage your isolation related problems a lot more productively.
Join the alcohol cult or find your own unique way in the real world? If the latter has more appeal give us a call.
As noted above, being fear based, rather than anger based, leads to greater maturity. Unfortunately, it can also lead to passivity which tends to lead to alcohol abuse as a passive aggressive response to less mature spouses and others.
For many of us, as children, the fear served us well. We came from dangerous families and anger would not have improved the odds of surviving into adulthood when we could escape.
But as adults, that same fearful passivity results in tolerating the same sorts of emotional, verbal, and/or physical abuse long after we no longer need to hide out self-protectively.
But old habits are hard to break – not just drinking ones – and many of us find that the passive survival skills we developed as children now prevent us, as adults, from finding and developing the intimate relationships we long for and are capable of.
Consequently, much of the work we do with you is built around solving the problems of isolation, passivity, intimacy, and proactively managing your relationships whether at home, work, or otherwise.
Need a model to better understand yourself and those around you? With over 25 years of experience in using Dr. Jane Loevinger’s model and measure of adult development, we’re ready to help you build a new perspective and a fresh appreciation on all you have accomplished.
Powerless you aren’t. Quite the contrary. Now learn to use your maturity for yourself, not against yourself.