ACoAs & Emotional Immaturity (Part 3)

putting things off  

no matter what it takes! 

PREVIOUS: Emotional Immaturity (# 2)

REMINDER: ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

QUOTE:  “Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy. In fact, they are incompatible. One emotion hardly leaves room for the other.” Robert Heinlein

• are generally unreliable, often late, not doing what we say they’ll do, letting people down (with lots of ready excuses)
• regularly promise things we can’t or don’t want to do, so constantly disappoint
• our life is chaotic & impulsive, making us unpredictable & ‘difficult’
• only focus on our own gain or loss, so have a hard time with integrity

PS: The roles of Hero, Martyr or Co-dependent may make us seem ‘strong’ & responsible, but compulsive over-doing, placating, & people-pleasing are tstarving childo the detriment of self-care & the true needs & feelings of others!

Some symptoms are: Fear of abandonment (FoA), co-dependence & people-pleasing, (perhaps also extreme conservatism)
• fear, distrust, anger & anxiety are our basic emotional reactions to life
• acting as the Victim: always complaining or whining about something, or apathetic & numbed out. Focused on self-pity, waiting to be taken care of
• insecure, defensive, make snap judgments – covered up either by being totally self-effacing or puffing ourselves up all the time

• chronically expect some other person, place or thing to make life worth while (which becomes a burden to o2 catsthers), needing someone around all the time
• prone to intense attachments or enmeshments (symbiosis), continually dependent on someone else, when a reasonable amount of self-reliance should be present as an adult. This does not apply to temporary dependency caused by present-day trauma or major illness

• indecisive – not able to make simple choices or decisions and keep to them, from being too easily influenced, bullied or manipulated by others
• get angry when a significant other (as parent-substitute) expresses their own needs & wants, when different from our own
• need to please everyone, in exchange for safety & gratification doing ‘nice’ things for their own advantage, so are rarely emotionally honest
invest ourselves in any belief system or person who reinforces our own opinions (actually those of the WIC & PP), OR who promises rescue, salvation, status, or privilege

• addicted to adrenalin, drama & various forms of dangerstimulus hunger
• have poor impulse control, including an inability to delay gratification (“I want it now, now, now”- even Recovery!)
• demand instant results from ourselves & others, so have poor follow-thru. Our promising beginnings end in failure for lack of persistence, so our gifts & skills are often wasted
• have superficial values and are too concerned with trivia (appearance, social position, money & possessions, sexual desirability…)

• rely on others for care and protection, being superficial & thoughtless
• make bad choices, or none at all
• don’t own our part in bad situations, re. our problems with othersking-baby
• are convinced other people’s actions cause our lack of ability or poor performance
• don’t have a realistic view of ourselves, & can’t take in or use constructive criticism
• avoid or deny having financial, work & relationship problems
• can become defensive or antagonistic if others try to point out any part we played in our troubles

• experience the world as so threatening so hide our fear by subtly invalidating others (undermining), double talk, guilt, acting weak & incompetent, playing on other’s sympagrudge-holdingthy….
• highly self-absorbed, unsympathetic, passive-aggressive (covert hostility)
• hold onto unexpressed resentments, while our real intentions & behaviors are hostile: the con man, the gossip, the martyr, the two-face
• pretend to have emotional stability which is we don’t actually have
• not able to face reality as an adult, we tend to LIE quite often, as a defense mechanism, even about small things, especially when not necessary. We gradually forfeit the trust of friends, family, and co-workers

NEXT: Emotional Maturity – General

3 thoughts on “ACoAs & Emotional Immaturity (Part 3)

  1. I gain so much from your posts, Donna. I’m writing today, though, just to mention that I found Robert Heinlein’s moralizing thoughts on jealousy to be non-useful. I’ve been trained to ignore, suppress, condemn, and I would say, even go so far as to deny my jealousy, and that’s gotten me in trouble a number of times. I don’t recognize jealousy in myself, and I don’t recognize it in others. The latter has led me into situations in which I experienced aggression that I could have avoided if I’d been more aware of how jealousy (and envy) work. I have been working hard not to denigrate myself anymore for jealousy or envy, but to learn from these emotions how I need to take better care of myself. I figure that if I know these feelings in myself, I will more readily recognize them in others. I have really benefitted from Karla McLaren’s take on these feelings, and her idea that they help us navigate our social reality if worked with properly (jealousy warns us of dangers to intimate connections, coming from another or from our own insecurities, and envy alerts us to potential unfair distribution of resources).. Here’s an article she wrote about a “sad, anxious, and jealous” child:


    • Sibylle, thanks for your comment.
      Having read my blog you know I’m a champion of having all our emotions. I’m familiar with Karla’s work & Heinlein’s comment is accurate – jealousy is not a sign of loving another. The bottom line is that envy (between 2 people) & jealousy (between 3 people) is about feeling powerless to get one’s own needs net – not necessarily wanting the object of envy or jealousy itself. And when others try to take what is ours, our deep rooted WIC abandonment fear kicks in.

      I do not judge the jealousy itself. It’s a clue, as you say – to our own insecurity & sense of helplessness. The more we provide for our own needs, the less jealousy – but of course we have be able to feel it first. Many of us were taught such emotions we bad or evil & we suppressed them. All Inner Child emotions are legitimate – but not all are to be acted on – only validated.


      • Hi Donna, thanks for your reply. no of course I’m not suggesting anyone “act out” on jealousy. I think I felt sensitive to the Heinlein comment because I have spent years working on becoming a more loving person… and in my sometimes misguided efforts, really denied the emotions of jealousy and envy for a long time. I think that true self-love includes, as you say, the acceptance of all emotions.


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