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On This Page: "People forget to stuff their Inner Child back where it beloings"

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You Are Here:  Hell On Earth  >  Heresies  >  Grow Up!

Grow Up, Already!

Advice For The Weak-Willed

This friendly note is directed real adults. i.e people over the age of 21.

After three years' practice at pretending to be an adult by voting, driving and possibly even drinking alcohol in public, you should have become a responsible individual, aware of the direct consequences of your actions. You are probably not really an adult yet, but it is highly likely that you can fake it rather well.

It is also highly likely that you have not made the final step; the step of "growing up". Thus, I appeal to you: The longer you try to avoid it, the worse it gets. Get going.

The British film magazine Neon once argued that this is Steven Spielberg's fault. With his infantile movies, Spielberg released the Inner Child in adults of all ages.

Formerly, people got of age, severed their connection to their inner child and grew up. Then came "E.T." and suddenly grown men, military commanders with dog tags hanging from their necks, would be coming out of the movie theater sobbing into a borrowed handkerchief.

Once people had released their Inner Child, they forgot to stuff it back where it belongs. This explains a lot of things.

With their Inner Child running rampant through their psyches, more and more people fail to grow up.

One tell-tale sign is when people start making excuses for their infantile behavior. The favorite excuse du jour seems to be a traumatic childhood event.

What is the problem with this attitude?

Life goes on and thus every living person should carry on, too. Your wife's grandfather is long dead (he died from asphyxiation); your friend has enough money to make his former tormentor's life a living hell; the woman at the cash register eventually inherited a valuable flat from her thrifting parents; verbal discourse will eventually go out of style anyway.

It's good to be aware of the fact that your present behavior is possibly rooted in spectral events from your past, but one should eventually realize the obvious conclusion that to conquer one's fears, one first has to refuse to let an event from the past define the present and finally do something about it.

Unfortunately, given the Inner Child syndrome, this doesn't happens. Instead, people well in their past traumatic experiences and justify their behavior through them:

"I am a transvestite because my mother never wanted a boy; she always dressed me in these little frilly dresses." Not good enough. You can be a transvestite because you learned to like dressing up, because you just feel like it, but not because of your past.

"I can't express my feelings because my father hit me every time I cried." Not good enough. Better: You don't express your feelings because you think they are nobody's business. Another good reason would be that you are piling up big emotions because they are going to fuel your Great American Novel.

The news media perpetrate the myth of the traumatic childhood which cruelly rules over one's present behavior: "She banged the baby's head against the wall thirteen times because of a traumatic childhood event." -- "He forced the chubby intern into oral sex because she looked just like his teenage sweetheart." -- "He killed all four people in the bank because as a boy, nobody loved him."

Nobody on this blasted planet has had an easy childhood.

Once, the US embraced the concept of "self-made men", but much has changed. These days, everybody is a victim of the past, periodically ripping open old wounds and displaying them for all to see instead of healing them.

And if you don't have a wound, you can still make one up; that's called self-hypnosis.

It should be: Discover a problem within yourself, locate its source, consider its impact, and sort yourself out.

Instead, it is: Discover a problem within yourself, locate its source, amplify the problem by talking a lot about it to the wrong people (such as me), and end up considering it an integral, immovable part of your character.

There are some rather messed-up people out there.

People who have been sexually abused at age nine, who have been robbed of all emotion by unloving parents and who have suffered a childhood without love. And of course, these events leave their marks.

But it is one thing to live with one's past (you don't really have a choice) and deal with it; it's another to let your past rule and define your present.

It's perfectly O.K. to be aware of the source of a problem, but if you are looking for somebody to blame for the fact that this problem dominates your life, look into a mirror.

Accept responsibility for who you are and what you do.

Grow up, already.

(I'm trying. I really am.)

This Thought: © MOATMAI (Fall 1998)

Previous heretic thought: Honestly, I Don't Want To Know
More heretic thoughts: An Out-Of-Season Christmas Tale

More Heresies

No Afterlife for me, please: Against Life After Death

Don't ask how I'm doing; you don't want to know: Too Much Honesty

It's all Steven Spielberg's fault: Grow Up, Already

A true, if indiscreet, story: Christmas In A Tree

A musical obsession: Hating the Pet Shop Boys

Yet another opinion about Littleton: The Devil Made Them Do It

Spider-Man, The Early Years: Everything A Spider Can

Babies in Airplanes, Oh My: The Screamer

About the Terrorist Attack on New York and Washington: Terrorizing People

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