Adult acting like a child?


So this is going to be a post about me thinking(writing?) out loud.

Things I have read on the internet, books and heard from therapists mixed together. So I know a lot of the information (especially internet, is not reliable) so I’m just discussing with myself whats going on πŸ˜› trying to figure it out. And maybe wondering what your views are on this.

So, childhood trauma has effects on you as an adult. I guess everybody agree’s on that.
Point 2, to me, is HOW it affects you. One point I am struggling with right now is the regulation of emotions. I do hear a lot that I am acting like a child, which i can understand and agree with. However, I am not a child. I’m an adult. I’m in my 20’s (early 20’s, but still an adult). I have read and heard that acting like a child, could be because of the stop in the emotional development (due to trauma). However your brain, and I guess knowledge and stuff, moves/develops on. So you are able to think like an adult, but just not act like one?

So that would mean that you’re emotionally still a child? But a child needs growing up… which needs guidance… sooo… who will guide you into growing up? Since you only get one set of parents, and maybe those parents were unable to do it properly, or how society might want, so that you can fit in. I don’t think anyone else will be able to take the role of parent, especially when you’re an adult. What is the point of therapy? If you process your trauma’s correctly, the child thing will go away? So by processing your trauma, your emotional development will speed up to your age? While (as far as I know) EMDR (for instance) puts the trauma in a place in your brain, where it belongs ‘correctly’, and the strong feelings with it soften. So it doesn’t bother you as much in your daily life. You wont forget, but it wont hurt as much. How does this help your emotionality (is that a word xD?) grow up?

I know small children, like toddlers, can have outbursts of anger and sadness. In which they might not realize what they’re doing with other people, when they act like that. So you have to limit them, as a parent, in a correct way. So having childhood trauma, means you weren’t limited or weren’t limited in a correct way (for instance by hitting a child whenever it showed emotion?). When the trauma is over and the child/adult is save, it continue’s where he/she has remained (being a toddler, emotional).

A situation, when a child is acting out (we’ve all seen the british nanny program right πŸ˜› ? ) he gets a time out. I do know people give me a time out, when I’m getting too much. When I’m angry (or sad) I’ll be pissed for the damn time out. So I’ll scream and yell till that person is willing to talk to me again. And IF that person maintains the ‘ignoring’ long enough, I’ll probably give up and cry and calm down. My ex used to do this with me, which made me furious. He’d tell me ‘I’m going to stop talking to you, you aren’t being reasonable, so we can talk again when you’re calmer’. I’d flip out, he’s leaving? I’d just continue with yelling. Of course he couldn’t take it (I do have to say, I tell them very personal stuff, like that I hate them..) and he told me ‘I’m not going to talk to you for 2 hours, I’ll see if you’re calmer after that’. Well then I went all crazy (as far as i wasn’t already πŸ˜‰ ) and I’ll literally tell him anything to just have him talk to me. Ignoring is SO painful. And yeah, maybe after 30/45 minutes of yelling and stuff I’ll give up, and be tired from my whole tantrum and just wait the rest of the time. When he talked to me after the 2 hours, I was calm again. However, I really can’t describe the intense feelings when he is ignoring me, or when he gives me a sort of ultimatum about me having to stop, otherwise he WILL ignore me. It’s like I panick and having him ignore me is the worst thing and might kill me. (Though rationally I KNOW I have to calm down, and won’t be able to when he’s around or when I’m talking to him)

This is incredibly exhausting for another person (I think). However, It didn’t get less over time. I kept acting like a child. Trying to push his buttons and when I did, he’d get angry, and when he got angry, I would get angry as well, and tell him all kinds of stuff. But whenever he said 1 bad thing about me, I’d lose it and remember it for the rest of our relationship.

In time I did learn how to ‘take responsibility’ (if you can call it that) for my outbursts, I’d be incredibly sorry and ashamed and afraid he’d leave me for it.

Is this me having the emotionality of a child? To be honest, is annoy’s me! And the other people around me as well of course.
I did know some people who had clear limits and were very open, honest and strict about them. In the time that I knew them, I wouldn’t even dare to cross it. I knew the consequences and I was too afraid. But then again, I didn’t know them for very long, or didn’t keep in contact with them, so I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had known them for a year. Usually they are people who don’t get mad easily and are self-assured.

And of course, I wrote this before, but people tend to see me as sweet, innocent, fragile etc. Which I’m not. Well, maybe I am sensitive, but I’m a real bitch.


So what is this ‘acting like a child’ thing. I do hear it a lot with BPD (borderline personality disorder) as well, but some people with BPD don’t have a childhood trauma, soo….. why do they do it?
How do you ‘cure’ the acting like a child? How do you grow up emotionally, when you are an adult and/or when the parent isn’t available as parent anymore?
Is there a limit prior to you should’ve learned it, otherwise you never will?

I’m just really thinking about this kind of stuff. You hear a lot of manipulating and stuff. But I don’t think people realize that I (for instance) hate being like this. Hate acting like it. Hate not having the control over my emotions. Getting angry about the smallest things. Not being able to calm down. Push someone’s buttons without realizing I’m pushing/testing them. I HATE it. I want to STOP it.
(See the image of a child irritating his mother, with a big smile, because the mother is telling the child it’s not ok to do that, but I guess the child just pushes further until the mother gets angry. And when she gets angry the child starts to cry) How do you stop the child for going further after being told it was NOT ok to do that? I DO realize it’s not ok.. like someone is taking control over me and keeps on doing it. I do realize I should stop.. I just can’t?
I do want to say that I’m not like this with everyone. LUCKILY! But almost every relationship.. and intense friendship. And unfortunately to my therapists as well. But in a different way, I did not even realize I was testing Betty and Brandon and the whole ‘crew’ until Betty told me I have to quit because she understands why I do it, but she doesn’t accept it. And yeah, that shut me up. For the time being though, a few months later I was doing it again! (And she had to be like ‘Brianna, stop’) -_- *pulls out hair*

I really don’t believe that anyone who acts like that, is happy with acting like that. Clearly it doesn’t get you anywhere. Except loneliness. (But then again, the big fear of abandonment is why you do it…….. so THIS JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!)

Ahhh the mind is a weird thing.
So is mental illness. It’s complex…. it’s not just take this pill for a few day’s and you’re cured. Wish it was though..


6 thoughts on “Adult acting like a child?

  1. Hi Bri πŸ™‚ I have so much to say on this topic! I need to sit down and type it all down for you. And I will, when I’m more stable.

    Thumbs up for the questions and the need for change:)

    There’s one thing I want to say now: Have you had any experiences with Linehan training or DBT (in dutch DGT) or Schematherapy (based on youngs theory)? I think this can be very helpful for you.

    Good night dear!
    Hugs <333!

    • Hi sweety!
      It’s ok, take your time ok? You need your energy yourself πŸ™‚ !!

      I did have a DBT training when I was 16.. it was really weird though, some topics were not to discussed in the group (like self harm, which was very accurate for me at that time) plus it was very childish, it was called the child DBT, for teenagers with emotional problems (one person was 13). Anyway, it was a BIG mess. I didn’t even get the chane to finish it fully because I moved to another part of Holland. I do remember finding the tips and skills very interesting.. unfortunately my binder with the information got lost during the move 😦 My mum even followed the course for parents of children who follow DBT. And she thought it was very useful as well πŸ™‚ !

      Goodnight sweety!
      I hope you have a good and long sleep. Wake up fresh tomorrow. Don’t forget, I’m with you ❀ !!

  2. Hello again! Right to the point, (it’s my way) – you are asking the right questions. I can suggest a few ?answers? – I am NOT a professional, just a long-time patient, over 10 yrs of therapy including some EMDR. You are right that trauma stops emotional growth. It quite literally freezes us in that moment, on that day. This is the self often referred to as the “inner child”. The rest of our mind continues to grow, experience, and learn. But the traumatized inner child cannot. Sometimes this results in a full DID split. As far as I know, the only way to heal that child is to give her/him the nurturing attention we did not get on that day. We must parent ourselves. I admit I felt quite foolish doing this exercise at first. I held my inner child as a pillow in my lap, stroked her hair, told her that she did not deserve what happened, she is a good girl, I love her and I will protect her the very best I can, I am so sorry no one protected you as they should have. It was surprisingly difficult.
    But after a few times it became easier, and I began to recognize in myself the emotional reactions coming from the child, so I could “treat” her right away. It is an ongoing process. You have already taken the first step by asking these ?s and being aware of your child’s emotion. Therapy is not pointless…it is a difficult, life-long process. I think of it like I have diabetes – if I do not get the treatment I need every day, my condition could be, will be, fatal. CPTSD is a life-threatening condition. I keep stumbling along.
    Live Long and Rock On!

    • Hello!!
      Thanks for your insights on this topic!
      I’ve heard about that too, comforting your inner child.. but it seems so simple for such a ‘big’ problem. Though I feel resentment to (comforting) the inner child, which can maintin the whole situation. Though reading your experiene, I think it’s really beautiful how you handled it! πŸ™‚
      So to sum it up, your experience is by comforting your inner child, the child behaviour (for instance with other people) will stop? Or you’ll notice acting like your inner child, in which you can say to her ‘calm down, no need to get so angry etc’?

      “I think of it like I have diabetes – if I do not get the treatment I need every day, my condition could be, will be, fatal. CPTSD is a life-threatening condition.”
      Wow, that is a really heavy statement, though I do undertand what you mean.

      Well stumblin or not, I think you’re doing great. Just writing this and answering these questions for yourself asks for a lot of self-understanding, information on (c)ptsd and self awareness.

      Rock on! πŸ™‚

      • Good morning Brianna! For me it often comes down to self-awareness. My inner child had been treated like she had no feelings, like she didn’t exist. So just acknowledging her was Step 1. Comforting = Step 2. Continuing (even when I don’t feel like it) = Step 3 ongoing. It’s not like turning off a light switch – the intensity of her emotions is slowly fading. This is good for me, because she can not make rational decisions, and when she is very upset she tries to take over everything. It’s a process that results in lesser intensity, which is good for both of us. I’m glad you understand that CPTSD is often fatal- I mean suicide, of course. That’s why I like the word “survivor” so much,,. we survive the trauma, and then we must survive each day with CPTSD which is always trying to kill us.
        Self-Awareness = Key!
        Thank you for listening, dear heart. I hope you feel a little better, day by day.
        Rockin’ Along!

      • I recognize SO much about when she is upset, she tries to take over!!! Wauw, the relief because that someone feels/felt the same. Pfieuw, makes me feel a little more sane πŸ˜‰ !!
        Yep.. CPTSD is definetly trying to kill, and everyday is surviving..
        Thank YOU so much for commenting and explaining πŸ™‚ !!
        Hope you feel better as well!

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