When people talk about what it means to be an adult, being independent is never too far away. Here, one will be empowered to live their own life and to support themselves. So whereas a child is dependent on their caregivers to survive, an adult is not dependent on anyone in particular.
And so not only is this going to cause one to feel empowered and in control of their own life, they will also experience a certain amount of freedom. When someone is not independent, they are unlikely to feel empowered or in control of their life. And the amount of freedom they experience is likely to be minimal.
So if someone had to choose between being dependent or independent, it is clear what most people are going to go for. But while this much is clear; being independent is often the exception and not the rule in today’s world.
When someone can support themselves, they could be admired by others, and seen as an example to follow. Or other people could see them as being lucky and having something they don’t have. This could cause other people to feel jealous and even envious.
In the case of someone who can’t support themselves, they are unlikely to be admired by others or seen as an example to follow. Some people could see them as being lazy and come to the conclusion that they need to take responsibility for their life.
So if being independent is a sign of being an adult, being dependent is a sign that someone is not yet an adult. Physically they can both look like adults, but with physical appearances to one side, there are clear differences in behaviour.
And if there are differences in behaviour, it also means there are differences in how they feel. As they feel different, it is going to mean that their behaviour will also be different. This is not random though, there is going to be a reason for it.
If their appearances were put to one side and one was able to focus purely on each person’s level of emotional development, there is the chance that there will be a massive difference. While someone can physically grow up as time goes by, it doesn’t mean they will emotionally grow up.
Physical growth happens by itself, but the same can’t be said when it relates to ones emotional or intellectual development. If one doesn’t educate themselves, they will stay uneducated, and same is true for ones level of emotional development; It takes a conscious effort to be able to grow up emotionally.
And just because someone is physically an adult, it doesn’t mean they had the childhood they needed to become a well adjusted adult. During these years, one is completely dependent. Ideally, one would have had caregivers who allowed them to be this way and who were there to take care of their needs and wants.
Through having caregivers who were available, one would have received the love they needed. This then makes it possible for them to grow out of their need to be dependent and to gradually become independent
This process is a natural part of being brought up by caregivers who are able to give one the love they need. But while this kind of nurturing is essential, not everyone receives it.
When this doesn’t happen, there is as strong chance that one will end up being emotional stuck. They then might look like an adult, but emotionally they could feel like a child or even a baby.
It could be said that they had a childhood, in as much as they were children for a while, but what they didn’t have is the nurturing they needed to grow up. And as they were not allowed to be dependent during these early years, it means that they have no choice but to be dependent as adults.
As an adult, they might just believe that other people have something they don’t or that they lack something. And in many ways they would be right; the reason they feel as they do is because they didn’t receive what they needed.
It can be easy for one to feel weak and useless and to blame themselves for their inability to be independent. But through not getting the love they needed, how else are they supposed to feel?
How they feel is normal based on what happened to them, and there was nothing they could do about it during those early years. However, as an adult, one has a choice. Although their caregivers didn’t give them the nurturing during they needed growing up, it doesn’t mean that one can’t give it to themselves as an adult.
The child that was neglected all those years ago still lives within them today. And this child is going to be carrying a lot of pain.
Re-parenting oneself is a process and not something that will happen overnight; if one sticks to it, they will gradually see their life change. On one side, one will need to release the emotional pain within them, and on the other side, will be the need to receive the love that they missed all those years ago.
A therapist or a healer can allow one to release their trapped emotions and they can also provide the mirroring that they didn’t receive while they were growing up.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.