The Adult-child State .... (from "Growing Awareness") 
 
Sometimes a person seems unable to make contact with their adult side and in this state of unawareness all their inner selves tend to think, speak and act (at that time) in ways that seem less than grown-up. This is described as an ‘adult-child’ state.
Although at other times of the day they act like normal grown-ups when in the adult-child state they seem adult only in years, grown up yet immature. We all do this sort of thing sometimes, but the adult-child state can be identified by the regularity and intensity of the ‘less than mature’, or ‘less than aware’ behaviour patterns.   As you will see, it is very different from being playful or child-like which is normal, healthy and good fun.  
                                                                       
An adult child’s deepest fears are about what will happen if other people discover he or she is the ‘person’ (he or she believes) they are. Sadly, neither the fears, nor the belief, are based on reality!

A person who regularly displays regular patterns like those below may well be getting trapped in this state:

1. Weak or nonexistent boundaries, either unable to resist manipulation or control by others except with the help of inner selves or controlling others in immature ways (boundary issues).

2. Strongly polarised or out-of-balance one-above or one-below selves (moderation issues). Will agree to things in child-like ways, for example making a promise but two days later has forgotten it. Can discuss same problem many times but cannot adhere to an adult solution.

3. Distorting or denying reality, seeing either negatives or positives where these don’t exist (reality issues). This protects that person (at least temporarily) from having to face important life issues.

4. Low self worth or self esteem, often hidden, however, by very active selves that mask vulnerability, such as ‘superconfident’; ‘knower’; ‘always right’; ‘arguer’; ‘professional expert’; or ‘specially entitled’ (reality and self-esteem issues).

5. Out of balance emotional, physical or spiritual issues, sometimes described as ‘grown up and shut down’. Difficulty meeting needs in these three areas, without help from others.

6. Emotions (love, anger, joy, sadness) are expressed in relation to another person (He makes me feel ...) or related to actions (When I am doing this I feel ....) In contrast, a person in the adult state feels more inwardly, (I feel...) or is able to just ‘be’ (I am happy).

 7. Major problems maintaining functional relationships. Unable to see adult child patterns in others as well as in themselves, especially in a close relationship or when choosing new partners.

8. Negative views of life and people (global negativity) or alternatively, unrealistic global optimism.

9. Putting more time and energy into describing problems than into working to find practical solutions.

10. Getting stuck in polarised (black or white) thinking, resulting in poor insight and lack of judgement. That in turn leads to repeated patterns of self-defeating behaviour, either one-below or one-above or both.

11. Preferring ‘safe’ or unimportant issues (for example work, weather, TV. shopping, pets, sport or cars) in conversations. Will not initiate  discussions on more vulnerable issues like beliefs, feelings, intimacy or spirituality. If raised by others there is a tendency to avoid the discussion or change the subject.

12. Lack of ‘awareness’ (not noticing) what is happening around them even though other people can see it clearly.

Other one-below adult-child patterns include over playing or distorting the role of a helpless or hopeless victim, or alternatively freezing like a scared child; putting more time and energy into describing problems than into working to find practical solutions. Other one-above, adult-child patterns could be adopting a parental and shut down ‘I don’t need anyone’  pattern or spending too much of the time daydreaming about grand schemes and romantic adventures.

All repetitive behaviour patterns by the inner selves have a purpose and the ‘payoff’ in this case lies in the way the adult-child state protects that person from seeing reality, a reality that they are just not able to face up to at that time, aptly described (for that person) as ‘intolerable reality’.

Maintaining this protection may involve more serious patterns including forms of self deception, denial, dishonesty or disassociation to avoid facing reality. Sadly an adult child’s deepest fears are about unreal issues for example what will happen if other people discover he or she is the ‘person’ (he or she believes) they are. Sadly, neither the fears, nor the belief, are based on reality!

It is not wise to pressure or force a person trapped in the adult-child state to face all this too quickly. For them, reality may truly still be ‘intolerable’. Adult awareness can only be achieved over  time and some preparation is necessary before it can begin.

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