Have you ever met someone who seemed to act an age different than their own? For instance, someone who is 20 or 30, but acts 15, people like this could all have something very important in common.
You see, different ages have different needs, this is regarding love as well as attention. If someone’s parents were overly dismissive and unreliable at an early age that person did not get what they needed. For people who have not had their needs met by their parents, it is much harder to grow up or get out of the age where they were ‘loved’ the least. They find it incredibly difficult to make contact with others because they do not know how to trust.
They feel helpless and vulnerable in intimate relationships, and they are not usually easy to get close to. With that being said, this could also go in different directions depending on how the child is being ‘neglected.’ Every situation is different and no two parents are exactly the same.
If you doubt your child’s abilities at a young age he or she will not want to do things that push him or her out of fear of failing.
If you are always letting your child down he or she will not be able to trust people later in life.
If you are too impatient (doing things for your child he or she could do on his or her own,) your child the child will be overly dependent on you and possibly feel shame for having you do so much.
The list for things like this go on forever, there are tons of things that can be done to leave someone stuck in an age they are not. Some people do not even notice that these things happened to them and are unaware that they are ‘stuck.’ Sadly when things like this occur it takes a lot to overcome the problem at hand.
Don’t get me wrong though, people who are stuck in a young age are not always the ones who are still living on their mom’s couches, and who refuse to get a job. They can be independent and successful people who still operate emotionally on a younger level. This is one of those things where it could be every extreme or just mild depending on the person and the situation. Trauma plays a lot into this as well, if you have been through a very traumatic experience it can stunt your emotional growth.
There are strategies that can be used to help improve these problems and over time they can be eliminated. You have to figure out what it is you were/are lacking and give it to yourself. If you truly want to overcome this emotional neglect you need to learn to be aware of your emotions and identify your needs as mentioned above. Take the steps that you must in order to give yourself what it is you have been lacking. For more information on emotional neglect check out the video below, it will go over many other variations and outcomes.
For more information on childish adult behavior, I suggest reading this article by Susan Heitler Ph.D.