Apr 10, 2007

Emotional immaturity

When I got my driver's license, a new test was recently introduced: the psychological test. The result for me was "emotional immaturity". I keep remembering those two words anytime my anxiety spikes. What a good way to put it.

It feels like for me anything either doesn't matter or matters more than life itself. When I do something I am all in it, when I like someone I love them, when I hate I really hate. The smallest encounter consumes me.

How did I get here? Early on I start noticing that my reactions are different than those of other people, so I started controlling them: I don't show that I am happy or sad until I decide what amount of that emotion is appropriate to show. Excitement, anger, joy, pain... it's all under control. Now I need to smile, now I need to be nice, now I should show that I'm upset. It's a lot of pressure and work. It's hard work and the results are not very encouraging: people think you don't care, when you burst out they get surprised and become uncomfortable with the emotional overflow. Then there's always the lag: something happens and I don't show any emotion until I decide what the appropriate emotion is. So everything looks good 5 minutes after it happens, but the next day a storm comes out: quite confusing for everyone around, isn't it?

I'm pretty sure this is not only me: I see it on the other blogs: someone tries to increase their likeability, we all think about how we reacted to something and try to control it.

And it infuriates me. It infuriates me that we shouldn't have to do this. It's unfair that we need to make so many conscious decisions about everything. Can we just not do it? Just let it go? It gets you on things you care about the most: you lose friends, relationships over it... maybe those friendships and relationships never had the chance and you're blaming yourself for it, but you will never know and you swear that the next time you meet someone you will not let it happen again.


Arestao said...

I arrived to your blog through a goggle search about “Emotional Immaturity”. I search for information about Emotional Immaturity and I find all this social anxiety idea. I have learned, long ago, that it wasn’t me, it wasn’t them, it is Us. Society is the problem. The games people play have all been programmed into them. Socially anxious people are probably far more sane then others when you look at all the crazy things we focus on as a society.

How to overcome this anger at social programming? The only thing I will offer is a sense of Gratitude. Appreciate how much you have. Appreciate the few who do accept you as you are. Appreciate the good moments no matter how few they are. I read your bio and smile. Thousands of people live a hopeless existence on our streets everyday because they haven’t been able to power up the courage to actively deal with their social anxiety like you have. Appreciate that.

If you are seeking a sense of normality, realize how unique every being is in our world. We all suffer through our life's lessons, trying to live with joy while heartache stands beside us ready to strike.

Anonymous said...

I too arrived at your blog after a search under, "emotional maturity". I recently experienced the loss of a friend (through our friendship simply ending); the reason behind the end is because I am an emotional person. And my friend, who internalizes her emotions, does not feel as though this is a mature, acceptable reaction. Simply put, she said that it makes me appear to be insecure.

What it comes down to is yes, it is unappropriate to express certain emotions such as anger during a very happy time, or happiness during a very sad time. At the end of the day, however, we all experience certain situations that cause us to feel emotional. To make another feel as though he or she needs to supress that is selfish.

You should never have to mask your emotions, because that is who God created you. If those around you cannot accept your emotions, then those people are not your friends. Express how you feel, because life is short and full of emotions- that's the beauty of the whole thing!

Anonymous said...

I think I've had social anxiety my whole life. I moved every few years and went to 11 different schools. Everything you describe is what happens to me.

I completely understand the feeling of moving to the next relationship or friendship and hoping you can control it this time.

I look back and I have said that everytime but I have never followed through with it.

Im learning this is not something to be controlled alone.

Anonymous said...

I arrived to your blog with the key words "emotional my whole life" via google.

I had just recently realized what meditation meant, what it could mean. To squelch out that impulsive drive by keeping your self preoccupied with your surroundings.

Today I realized that I have been overly emotional my whole life. I've done so many stupid things, said so many stupid things. I remember people calling me emotional but it never sinking in.

Social Anxiety. It's surreal to realize it. I'm 27, male. Oh, and you've been mentally unstable your whole life but never knew.

I've up and ended a few long term friendships. Relationships. Hell, I don't even talk to anyone in my family.

I've been to 15 some schools, too! Public, Private, even in Romania for a little stint. 4 high schools, 9 elementary school; born on a train. Was I socially anxious then? Oh ya. Big time.

And I too look back and I have this folder filled with yellow post it notes. Filled with these notes I write myself; these notes that have advice and promises to myself that I never follow through on.

What would you do, Mr. Reader? Would you panic to realize you could go out of your mind and out of touch at the drop of your attention span? That some how you played a trick on all the people that dated you because they don't know about the monster that breaks the hearts of all the girls who love him. What would you do if you didn't trust any choice you made?

...And thank you for posting this. Really. I don't know how I got left out of the loop. How I missed out on blogging. You have got a lot of - and whatnot for posting. I feel better. Going to see what social anxiety is all about.

Anonymous said...

At forty nine years old I have found that the levels of spiritual and personal growth I've worked for and achieved over the past twelve years, enabled me to "grow up" emotionally as well. However, because of the sometimes over the edge type of humor I developed since a teenager from watching various comedians and skit oriented comedy shows, it always interfered with these two growth processes. Being the "Funny Guy" as I call myself in my book "Why I Pray In The Shower" "A journey from fear to belief in myself" not only slowed down my Personal and Spiritual Growth, but also my Emotional Growth. I believe it is only by trying to grow in all these areas that we are able to face and overcome the negitive circumstances we sometimes face in life. Fortunately even with my failure to "grow up" my Spiritual Growth helped me get through any negative and often fearful circumstances I faced. It was by this method of experiencing unwanted circumstances with sometimes only a little bit of faith, that I was able to develop a confidence in myself and my ability to be "all right even when things weren't." Each time I would come out the other side of these negative experiences a slightly stronger person than I was before. So even while being emotionally immature, I have come to know that it is possible to eventually be all right, even if things aren't, and work on the "growing up" part when we can.

urbanite1 said...

What I don't see you talking about is listening. When you are concentrating on your own reactions and your control and measure of them, are you really hearing what is being said? Everyone wants to be listened to as though what they are saying really, really matters. I wonder if you are missing that?

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad that you all posted, and to the last person, I'm really listening. Oh my gosh, it matters so so much. So I'm crying now but I'm so relieved to hear it's not just me, because God knows it feels like it's just me. I'm 23 and I don't think I've grown since I was 13. Now I'm searching for help because I have a 2 year old daughter and my greatest fear is passing this on to her.

Godknown said...

I want to say thank you for having written this article. Reading this was so very important in my growth, and now that I've read this and know other people go through this, I think I'm going to be able to come out of the tunnel just fine. Thank you so much!

BravesDivisionChamps said...

I, too feel like the original poster. I'm a 20 yr old student who tries very hard to say and do things that will get people to like me, at least I did in the past. This past spring semester, I became so discouraged with dealing with people that I looked down wherever I went and avoided peers and teachers alike. It's a miserable existence. Before, I would try to make friends with any and everybody and greet them with a big fake grin and a handshake even though I was sweating and sometimes trembling. I want to believe I will gradually grow socially and emotionally, but it is a struggle.

Sherri said...

I have always felt alone. That what I've gone thru and am going thru only happens to Me. That 'it's my fault' I have a defect, a problem that needs to be learned and overcome. Now I find out that it is internal, and that I don't know how to change it or as I have said over and over 'how to shut it off'. I have been told that it cannot be 'shut off'. That I need to accept that it is a part of who I am. I'm here to say that I don't want to be this way. Emotional. So, after each of your's blogs, all having outstanding bits of information & ect... Is there a sure fire way of changing this part of ourselves that we want to change. Stop. ?. I need to know. I want it to stop.

Anonymous said...

Wow I am so amazed. I feel like I am not alone. It is peacefully reading other people thoughts. My mom told me something, "Those who mind don't matter and the ones that matter don't mind."

J Chapman said...

Thank you all for expressing your thoughts and situations, I am another who can relate strongly to this discussion, and reading it makes me feel a little more connected to the world and less like it's my fault. I googled for "I am emotionally immature", for the record.

My research stint today is a result of my housemate telling me to "grow up and get over it", in response to my childish behaviour the past few days. In a nut shell, she hooked up with a guy yet she's gay and I've been infatuated with her for some time and never received much affection. Seeing them together damn near made me blind with stress, even though I have no claim to her; in fact, I don't even like her in that way much any more. The stress comes mostly from the sense of being disconnected from the behaviours of those around me - the guy she was with talked her defenses down and then went for it, which is a skill I desire and detest at the same time.

Anyway, so following that incident I haven't been able to bring myself to talk to her, and hardly look at her, for fear of feeling that emotional surge (which feels like a scream directed inward) again. I've found myself distancing myself, and being passive aggressive in a teenage childish way (ignoring, playing overly loud music, etc). I hate it, but I don't know how else to deal with it; being silent, sucking up to the situation, is just ignoring the problem and feels so wrong. I'm an ass for letting it affect her, but her response to the situation makes me want to make things 'good' even less. I'm losing my will to care, as all along I've only wanted someone to show a bit of compassion.

Gah, I'm sorry, I feel this is more of an emotional dump rather than a constructive contribution.

Anyway, I'm 27, and this drama still happens in my life. I don't talk with my friends and family an inch of the amount I would like, instead I pretty much retreated into an introverted state a long time ago. I work in the video games industry and can be extremely passionate about doing things 'right', and it bugs the hell out of me if they're not unless there is a damn good reason.

Anyway, I'd like to have come to some sort of conclusion or point by the end of this post, alas I'm kinda lost in the wind. I can recommend the excellent book 'Catcher in the Rye', though. I feel that anyone who feels anything like me will really appreciate the book.

rosie1992 said...

Thanks for posting this. I read one of the comments and it said that they didn't feel like they'd grown emotionally since age 13. Amazing! I've always (despite being now 34 years old) felt like a child. I don't "feel" my age. While it often makes me a light and bubbly person to be around, it also makes it difficult if not impossible for me to have normal romantic relationships as all of my examples and beliefs about romance are completely warped. BUT I'm in the solution now and I'm glad to know that I'm not just simply nuts. ;)

Unknown said...

reading through all these, all i feel is disconnected. i should, i suppose feel relief that there are others out there that go through the same things i do but i'm completely over the problem. what i'm looking for is a solution. i am 30 years old, since leaving home at 17 i've moved house on average every six months or so, my longest relationship lasted 5 weeks cause we saw each other only on weekends. i only talk to my parents for about 20 minutes when my dad rings up every few weeks to keep in touch, i've suffered depression since i was about ten, and it's actually only in the last couple of hours that i've had a light bulb moment about my behaviour. i am emotionally immature and as far as i can guess, emotionally i am about two years old. what a fun discovery hey.

like i said i'm lookig for solutions. i am so tired of living in this bubble that is my life. the depression? mostly no self esteem and being worthless courtesy of my maternal upbringing. but how do i reconnect with the world? i'm selfish and self centred and react to problems impulsively. can anyone teach me to grow???

arhutch said...

I googled "emotional immaturity" because of an incident I had at work recently which made me think that I need to start changing.

When I was a pre-adolescent, I got mad at my sister and threw a tantrum like a toddler. I'm now 50 and that was the last time I did anything about my anger besides ignore it. I feel like I haven't matured a bit since that time even though my hair has turned white.

I am competitive and although I try to watch what I say, it all comes out in a tone that can't hide my true feelings. I think it puts people off.

Additionally, I tend to fear people and gravitate away rather than toward them. I wish I could get over this fear and anger.

Although I'm ashamed that someone I know will recognize me on the blog, I do want to thank everyone for letting me into your lives a bit and allowing me to even briefly see that there are others who share my problem.

Emily said...

I'm nineteen and extremely emotionally stunted. For as long as I can remember, I've cried very easily, taken criticism very personally, and get these extreme bouts of anger where I just break things like pencils. I was picked on a lot as a kid when I moved to a new town, but I've always felt different. I make friends so rarely and school is always upsetting cause I don't know anyone but I wish I did. I fear being intimate with someone when I maybe get married in the future, but I'm so afraid of letting people in and. Sing hurt. I've been on medicine to help control my emotions, have even wished there was something to make my emotions just stop, but for now, I deal with it. Oh, my lack of emotional maturity has prevented me from getting a job or a license.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog the same way everyone else did...and I know how you feel. It sucks. Its confusing. Everyone around seems so cold and apathetic and our society is complete shit.

but there is definitely a reason to control your emotions and it doesn't have to suck. the ability to concentrate in the midst of anything feels good. It can be freedom. What gets me there personally is meditation. (I use calming pictures to clear my head completely and reground myself)

If you can do that better than anyone else? You can have a real edge, because you're also sensitive at the same time. You can /still/ keep your emotions!!\ It doesn't mean you have to be all bottled up and miserable. The key is to direct them towards something through your own projects. To practice being able to start working whenever and find a balance for yourself. It feels really good. You dont have to conform to lukewarm philistines, you just /own/ your emotions where they would not.

The only thing that makes my life worth living is working:(( I'm just like you though I either hate or i love and get attached to something. You can have what you hate and love if you can concentrate without emotions getting in the way.

it doesn't have to be a sacrifice, life doens't have to suck because of suppressing them. thats all.. You have to do it anyway right? You might as well become stealthy and insane at the same time. emotional ppl have potential to freaking explode. all you have to do is attach yourself to something you WANT and you are off i shit you not

And then when you're frustrated or angry because of stress or failure stare into that picture everyday . Get emotional feelings out of your head. It doesn't feel bad it feels great. Like being submerged in water. It becomes natural for you to suppress them and it feels good to be in control and actually have more power than people who are slaves to suppressing everything like the miserable uninspiring fuckwits they are. ooops did i just explode e_e o wellies

Welp it took me forever to realize this. Maybe i saved you decade worth of thinking even? Idk Hope it resonates with you somehow. Nothing wrong with being an idealist.

Unknown said...

I relate so much to this blogpost. I'm 18 and I've just started work and I feel the lag all the time and I feel my emotions taking over me, and I do get into situations where that one thing matters and nothing else doesn't and it completely controls my life. I've been going to therapy to try and control my emotions, I do mindfulness and I'm trying to get into things that I am not use to. it would be nice to get to the road of maturity faster, because I feel like its debilitating my life.