How do you help the emotionally insecure? All we can do is present facts and allow them to come to understand them. If the person doesn’t have the capacity to deal with reality then their altered perception will persist and create dissonance in their interactions. This happens to adolescents and if not addressed will continue into adulthood and beyond. In this way some people never grow up and think their version of reality is the only truth. This is true not only of individuals but organizations and various social institutions.
We have a six-year old at home. Six-year olds get tired, hungry and grumpy. The other night, we were both working with him to get into the shower, brush his teeth and floss before my wife helps him read and reads to him. We stated, “We will come back in in a minute or two. If you are not undressed, we will help you undress.” We leave and give him an opportunity to get undressed. My wife returns to find him playing with legos obviously distracted from his given goal. She gives him the benefit of the doubt and says, “I’m going to count to five. If you’re not undressing by ‘five’ I will help you.” He starts whining and complaining that she’s being mean. At this time, I’m standing as the bad cop with my arms crossed and attempting to look ominous. He looks between us and says, “You’re so mean. You didn’t tell me to get ready for bed.” My wife had had enough of this immature behavior at work with her bosses. “I told you five minutes ago to get undressed!” Here’s the interesting part. “No you didn’t.” Our son completely negated reality. He refused to accept the fact of his own experience and more importantly someone telling him what happened. Furthermore, I was the “independent” party who heard all of this going down. When I mention that my wife told him to get undressed, my son lost it. He was resolute and absolutely not going to accept any other version of truth than his own. If this doesn’t represent both rational and emotional immaturity, I don’t know what does.
This type of resistance to reality is not limited to adolescents. Immature adults come in all shapes and sizes. It could be the friend who can not accept responsibility for their mistakes. It could be the person in the mirror. It could be a spouse, boss or CEO. It can even be a boy king who can’t see the reality of the political situation he’s in. Depending on who the immature adults are in your life, you may have to take action to confront them with factual reality. They will likely deny the truth over and over again. They may even attempt to have you take responsibility for their ineptitude. Depending on the power they have over you, escalation may be required. In the extreme, organized action is necessary to remove the immature from power or at least provide a check and balance to the mayhem they produce in their attempt to project responsibility onto everyone but themselves. No matter what your situation, it is up to you to manage the business of you and more specifically maintaining your freedom to choose and act as you determine is appropriate. The capacity for independent action is all of our business. When our freedom is threatened at home, work, or in our social institutions, it is up to us to believe in truth, investigate falsehoods, and take responsibility for managing our attention, attitude and actions to better the world around us. And, in doing so, we manage the biz of you and improver our personal lives. There may be short-term pain, but the long-term gains are worth every investment of our energy.
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