The child, the teenager & the adult

Do you ever find yourself sometimes thinking or feeling differently, perhaps in different situations or with different people? Or perhaps when you are with family, parents or with people in a position of authority.

So what happened there? You’ve suddenly found yourself behaving, acting or thinking in a different way, so different from a few moments ago.

Now feeling sure if in that moment you are an adult, back feeling like you did as a teenager or perhaps in a child state?

As an adult you have grown up with your own likes and dislikes, wants and wishes and thoughts and feelings that feel real to you. As an adult you are very clear about who you are, you can be open with others, loving and non-defensive. You are clear about your values and morals, and if something happens that questions these, you are able to stay grounded, in the present.

However in this moment, something has changed. Could your child self, or teenage self have resurfaced?

The child, who is very dependant on others, and behaves in a way which gains responses and love from others around us. For example, a child who claps and gets a massive round of applause and smiles from their parents, will repeat the clap again to gain the approval and response from those around them again. The child can give love to others, and gains love from those around them, and is able to express tears, tantrums, and emotions naturally. All the time however, seeking approval and positive responses from caregivers around them.

The teenager however finds it harder to express these thoughts and feelings freely, and often feels unheard. Transitioning from a dependant child to an independent adult, we find ourselves in a more complicated state. Sometimes our feelings do not feel heard or understood, and instead of seeing positive responses from others, we are more likely to withdraw, to emotionally withdraw feeling panicked, frightened and alone, confused about how to connect with others without fear. The psyche protects itself by withdrawing.

This is a dangerous place for the teenager who might struggle to have healthy relationships with others, taking out frustrations and anger on those around us, or withdrawing, spending time alone, overeating, developing dependencies on food, drink or in gaming, school work or other activities.

It is useful to reflect on the different situations you find yourself in, and what the triggers are that change the way you feel. Some examples of these are below;

- In a business meeting you are normally confident, able to speak openly and communicate clearly with others. However a position of authority attends the meeting and you suddenly feel anxious, frightened and withdrawn

- When visiting parents or family, you are sat around the dinner table and you either find yourself trying to please others, to gain approval (child-self) or you feel withdrawn, unheard and unable to express your thoughts and feelings (teenage-self)

If this resonates with you and you find yourself quite often getting stuck in either trying to gain approval by others, trying to behave so others will like you or approve of you, or alternatively you find yourself in situations where you don’t feel able to express yourself, where you feel that you withdraw and struggle with strong feelings and emotions this might be the time to seek out therapy.

Counselling can help you to explore when you are getting stuck in your child-self or teenage-self so that you can work towards developing strategies to help keep you in your adult-self as much as possible, and in these situations, as quickly as possible.

Contact us today to book an appointment.

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