Is your partner a “man child”?

by rodney on June 23, 2014

panI presume that you all the story of Peter Pan. For those of you that don’t, Peter Pan is the story of a boy who lives in the fictitious world called Neverland with a tribe of other kids called The Lost Boys. The special thing about Peter Pan is that he never grows up; he never ages and remains a boy avoiding all responsibility and maturity.

While Peter Pan is a work of fiction, there are many blokes out there who fit this profile.  Often I hear female clients complain that their partners are like an extra child in the house or I hear them argue in sessions, often yelling “Grow up”.

These man children are prime examples of what happens to us when we fail to check in our parental baggage. Parental baggage is emotions, attitudes and behaviours left over from the experience of being brought up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving you permission to blame your parents, in fact I’m not even trying to blame your partner.  The point of this article is to help you create an awareness of what these behaviours and attitudes are and why they occur.

Throwing tantrums

Does your partner throw tantrums when things don’t go his way? This is what happens when young children haven’t developed the communication skills required to vent their frustration. When adults behave this way, it’s the same thing. They still haven’t built the skills required. The reason this happens is that parents often give in to a child throwing a tantrum, or take measures to ensure that a tantrum doesn’t happen. Your partner can break this habit by firstly becoming aware of their emotions and learning communication skills that will help them express their emotions. Anger management will do this quite well.

Expecting you to “look after them”

Does your partner expect you to do their washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning etc. to the point that if you’re not around to do it, it doesn’t get done? This caused by Mums who do all of these for their kids their entire lives. By doing all these tasks for them and not teaching them how do it sets up the attitude that a woman’s role is to look after them.  This attitude then creates an expectation that all women will do this. You can change the expectation by refusing to cater it. Your partner can change this attitude with coaching or counselling

Emotional withdrawing

When we’re children and become overwhelmed by strong emotions, we withdraw emotionally and attempt not to deal with them. This often happens with adults too. Withdrawing and not dealing with emotions causes issues later on when supressed emotions erupt to the surface.  This is caused by parents punish and criticise negative emotions. Whether it’s Mum punishing anger or Dad telling their boys that only girls cry, it leads to this problem of emotional withdrawal. Adults can overcome this by expressing emotions in a safe environment.

There’s a lot more examples of parental baggage, these are some of the most common. Also, it’s not just men; a lot of women are also struggling with the effects of parental baggage too.

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