I Feel Like a Child in an Adult Body

This is a dilemma that many adults face. As an adult they may have responsible jobs, but their personal lives may be a mess. Bills do not get paid on time, even when there is money to pay them. Houses are not kept clean, diets are unhealthy, and many eat like a 12-year-old. Health is neglected, hygiene is hard, and only done when necessary. Self-care is an unknown concept. They have difficult developing close, long term relationships.
Often these adults are confused by their own behavior. “I can’t make myself do the things I want and need to do.”

There are several things a child needs in order to mature and become a responsible adult. When one or more are missing, life can be one big mess. Here are two of them that I consider crucial to changing your life.

The experience of feeling independent and able to do age-appropriate tasks. A child needs the experience of “optimal frustration.” “Optimal frustration” is the experience of waiting to have a need or want fulfilled and the frustration that it causes. This teaches a child “I am capable of tolerating unpleasant things.” Let’s face it – being an adult is full of “unpleasant” things and tasks.

To feel like an adult you have to be able to postpone gratification. When you indulge every want and every whim, you have no time to do the things that must be done. You have to limit your wants and desires so that you can take responsibility for what needs to be done.

You have to be able to tolerate uninteresting, unexciting and boring tasks. For many, when they must perform a boring task, they feel like they can’t stand it. “I can’t, I don’t want to, I will do it later” becomes a way of life around self-care.

As you develop the ability to postpone gratification and work through the boredom, you will feel empowered. Bottom line, you’ll start to feel better about yourself.

If this is a pattern you’ve had your entire life, it won’t be an easy one to break. It’s OK to ask for help from friends, from family, and from professionals. Call Katherine at (919)-881-2001 to take that first step.

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