Are We Really Grown-Ups or Just Pretending?

Really Grown-up?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

by Joni

If we are really grown-up then this maturity will extend into every part of our life, not just at work, or where you need to seem grown up. Childhood is only for a season, but immaturity can last a lifetime. Our self can take many forms. It is not always consistently the same to others. We have versions of pretend self, masks we put on to impress others, kid ourselves, or hide who we really are.

This alter-self can be pretty impressive. Imagine the CEO of a company who holds the adult persona together at work closing great deals, but who turns into a man-baby when he returns home to his family. He may bash his wife in a jealous, control-freak man-tantrum. There are many examples of men behaving badly. Each week a woman falls foul to a man’s temper tantrum. Often, he kills her in a fit of domestic violence.

Anger Reflects Immaturity and not Really Grown-up

This sort of man ‘has’ his woman and does not have to pretend to be caring, considerate or adult. Romance is a word from an alien world. He reverts to his man-child self, the little boy who throws a tantrum if he doesn’t get what he wants when he wants, or is jealous, justified or not. Often, he is a philanderer, yet accuses his faithful wife of infidelity. Deflecting his own faults on her allows him to blame her, not himself.

I feel for women who find themselves in such relationships. These men are difficult to leave. It becomes a case of a Stockholm Syndrome, which is the inability to leave one’s abuser.

These men are obsessed with controlling and are inordinately possessive. Their women cannot just move on and call it quits. They pursue with the intent of destruction because they can’t take rejection. They are basically insecure, frightened, but angry children.

Can we avoid being stuck in such a toxic relationship? Yes. There are ways to deal with a controller. The first step is being aware that it is control and not you, but another’s immaturity.

How to Know if we are Really Grown-up

What are the signs of adult immaturity? How can we ascertain another’s, or our own maturity levels?

Psychiatrist and researcher, Dr Murray Bowen (1913-1990), promoted a theory of self which explains and defines maturity. He was an army doctor in World War 11 who became interested in the recovery of soldiers following incidents of trauma.

Soldiers reacted differently to a similar trauma, and this interested Bowen. Some stayed affected and weakened through life, others bounced back quickly. It depended on their concept of self or their maturity.

Signs of Maturity and Immaturity

1. Immature people are more prone to blame others than themselves.

 Mature people take blame if it is their fault and look to improve themselves.

2. Immature people get angry when criticized, blamed or disagreed with.

 Mature people accept criticism, realizing you can’t please everyone and that everyone has a right to speak their mind or disagree.

3. Immature people get in huffs and avoid the person who crossed them. Many adults never forgive. They might harbour this slight their entire life or institute a divorce or break up because of this.

Mature people try to discuss matters, to understand the other’s point of view. They want to mend fences not plough through them. They are always ready to forgive.

A few More Just as Important Signs

4. Immature people change themselves, so they are accepted. This is adolescent behaviour especially for young males who like to hang in gangs, so they feel accepted and good about themselves.

Mature people uphold their true self and principles despite what others think. They do not need adulation or acceptance.

5. Immature people expect others to bail them out.

Mature people who are truly grown-up take responsibility for their actions.

6. Immature people take over other adults as it makes them feel ‘big’. They think it means they are a grown up but really it shows they do not respect or care for others. They are bullies feeding off another, elevating themselves at the expense of the other who is put down. School bullies often grow into adult bullies.

Truly grown-up and mature people give others space and respect, often putting themself last.

7. Immature adults give in when obstacles occur

Mature adults keep on-track despite obstacles. They grow stronger by working through the setback.

This is a great list to check for your partner and yourself. Being mature adults makes relationships so much easier. I recognise things I do and have done and realise they impacted relationships. I guess it’s part of the wisdom of growing-up and getting smarter and kinder.

Influence of Family of Origin

These signs of immaturity can show in different aspects of one’s life. As illustrated before, a person can seem perfectly mature at work, but not so in the home, sport, or family situation.

Dr Bowen claims this comes from differing original family relationships. The family of origin and one’s place in the original home can define later relationships in life. This gets very complex and is the subject of the book Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown.

It is particularly important to act as mature adults, as we now live in a society of nuclear families. Wise grandparents and aunties are not always around to sprinkle their magic calming influence.

We all know that spoilt brats often grow into bigger spoilt brats. Children from large families are used to not having the spotlight on them. The eldest children are more often mature and caring than the youngest sibling. Middle children can be more balanced. They learnt to fit in. These are generalizations to illustrate the drift. Don’t get upset if you are the youngest. I am by six years!

Suffice it to say for the purpose of this post, that immaturity is a huge issue in today’s society and explains the high percentage of broken marriages and domestic violence. So many are not fit for adult relationships and roles in life. They need to grow up and be consistently mature across all aspects of their life.

Photo by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

Joni Scott is an Australian author with three published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel and Colour Comes to Tangles. Joni also co-hosts a women’s blog; and has her own website;

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