Stunted Growth, Emotional Relapse and Cycling

You have heard the expression,” the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

Well, when you are emotionally stunted, or immature, you will likely cycle through poor, dysfunctional behavior patterns and never actually grow, mature or change. This can be due to a number of possibilities, including addictions, codependencies, parental inversion, developmental traumas; anything that caused something in us that effectively stopped the “normal” emotional/ mental development progression.

For example, and you know I use myself alot as an example… When I started using alcohol and drugs at the age of 15, I effectively stopped maturing and emotionally adapting to the world around me. This, coupled with my traumatic childhood of alcoholism and codependency, gave me a skewed perspective of myself, other people, society in all facets.

I was codependent, insecure, dysfunctional, paranoid, deflective, insulated, morbidly self focused. I didn’t have any healthy relationships personally or in the world. I just took hostages. By the time I stopped drinking at 30, I was literally a 15 year old emotionally, inside a 30 year old body. So how I handled myself in any and all situations reflected this emotional stunting, and I just blamed everyone around me. If I didn’t agree with you it was “F you!” I didn’t care. I was used to being anesthetized.

As I moved ahead into a sober life, I slowly started to learn how to relate to myself, people, the world around me. I distinctly remember the day, for example, that I realized I didn’t have to be right all the time. I had always thought I had to be right as a means of validating my existence. In this sense, I was an ego maniac with a deep inferiority complex. I needed alot of work that continues to this day.

But Bill does it take that long? ( I am 67 now). It goes on for a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t growth and maturing. It just means we are not bound to be perfect, just engaged in a process of transformation. As my friend Julie Signorelli sad, “process with progress allows you to love every version of yourself.” As I have shared before, the old, broken dysfunctional “version” of me was me. My life had a plan that came with it! God had a good plan for me, I just had to reposition myself to get in on it.

Then my “new” life could begin. One that is engaged in self awareness, dealing with pain and adversity, not running and blaming, hiding and deflecting.

That plan is available to all of us. We just need to admit we need the help and genuinely ask God to set us free to learn how to “be”.

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