What emotional modeling did you absorb as a child?
What emotional modeling did you absorb as a child?

Dear friends, What did you learn about emotional maturity as a child?

In watching the adults in my life, I learned that emotional expression was dangerous, inappropriate, painful, and unnecessary. That it was the source of fighting and conflict, and that the best way to be in the world was to stuff it down.

Though I was told that feeling emotions got in the way of other more important things in life, like academic achievement, athletic performance, financial success, and professional recognition, I actually observed the opposite of this in some of the adults, the so called mature people in my life. You see, my dad was very emotionally expressive, mostly of anger. And he had accomplished a high degree of academic achievement, financial success, and professional recognition. It was my mother who had not achieved these things, and she was expressive of a much broader range of emotions.

One thing my parents did not achieve was peace and harmony in the home. The mature people in my life who did seem to be able to create that were my grandparents. I learned from them that emotional expression needed to be suppressed in order to do that, My grandfather completely suppressed all emotion as far as I could tell, even anger. And my grandmother only expressed her feelings through occasional quiet tears and frequent passive aggressive remarks and attitudes.

There are a few emotionally mature things I did learn from these situations as a child. These include that emotions are an important part of life, despite what people say and do to the contrary. That the disparity between emotional norms between men and women is a source of great pain and suffering that is calling out for healing. That healthy relationships are founded on how we relate to each other emotionally. That we can choose consciously or unconsciously how we relate to each other emotionally. That there is a strong connection between our spiritual life and our emotional life. And that this disregard for and sweeping under the rug of our emotions is terribly harmful to everyone and we must learn another way.

What did you learn about emotional maturity as a child?


Dear Sam, your grand parents were really strong in suppressing their emotional expressions. This not something that is done easily.I also agree that healthy relationships are founded on how we relate to each other emotionally. Thanks for sharing your story.

Sophie Ngassa

Founder & Director at CYEED


Hi Sophie, I have just found out that before I was born my grandparents went through 17 years of emotional processing with each other in private behind closed doors every Saturday morning.  And that my grandfather had a great deal of emotional awareness.  So what I witnessed growing up, their evenness, was a sharp contrast to the volatility between my parents.

Thanks for reaching out.

Thanks for sharing about emotional maturity, we hardly discuss such issues.

My confusion now comes in the area of emotion suppression, is it a positive attitude for one to suppress one's emotions????

Personally, I think that it is not right.... What's your take on that??

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

I agree, emotional suppression is the cause of many chronic illnesses.  We stuff those suppressed emotions into parts of our bodies, shutting off all energy flow to those areas to keep it contained.  This disrupts the bodies natural cleansing, healing, and nourishment systems, resulting eventually in disease.

Thanks for asking for clarity on this and for reaching out.