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?