Afraid to Grow Up

He was raised by a tyrant mother and a father training to be a doctor who was never home, probably in part to avoid her. His mother had to have her way about everything. As soon as he got the lay of the land, part of him totally rebelled but the way he did it represented surrender to her at the same time which is why to this day he is trapped in his infant mentality.

He is in therapy, an extremely frustrating person who keeps reiterating how can I save the child within – I am a child and only a child. What can I do about it? He doesn’t admit the he also is the hated mother which continues to give him orders, a fight that never ends.

When told he has to become an adult, he says I have no idea what you are talking about, I am a  child. When told that the adult lives in the present, not in the emmiserated past, that an adult makes decisions about what he wants to do and if he is unsure tries them out and then decides. Then the patient goes back into his infant child’s cry for help – show me, explain me. The therapist says that no one can give you reality. You have to experience it yourself. Yes. But how do you do it? And on and on he goes refuting freedom.

He repeats it over and over again about the day he dropped out of the world, left his mother standing there, complaining and pleading about being unable to reach him. Now that he is locked in, his baby self is happy. The therapist feels exactly as his mother did, helpless to reach him. She tells him that he is playing a game with her and is extremely spiteful. When will he stop playing the game and try living?

He retreats into his helpless infantile stance. Can’t help it. Don’t know what to do, who to be and to top it off, says, tell me. She responds there is nothing to tell. If you want to remain a spiteful little baby, that is your choice. There is no plan for adulthood. It is all about exploration and choice. He is silent then repeats his dropping out scenario. He has practiced this helpless go fuck yourself position so long he is not ready to give it up. Complaining is another weapon in his pack. See I can’t do it, (pseudo tears) wah-wah-wah. This internal baby is determined to keep on winning and wipe the adult out.

Does he see the spiteful person he has become, the person so afraid to fail that he won’t try? Hiding in the costume of helplessness, can he force the therapist into the guise of a controlling mother whom he endlessly frustrates and enjoys an infant’s power? Can he get her to admit she is a failure and must give up? Is there such a thing as too late?

The adult needs to put his foot down and stop listening to the internal child who remains as afraid of the (now deceased mother) to do so. His adult has to stop living in the past.

 

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