Every day I feel like such a child. I think I come off acting like one, too. At work, an older female has told me that she sees me as her daughter. A couple male employees call me sweetie, and, at first I was offended. Then I heard one of them talking on the phone to his daughter, and he called her sweetie, too. I don’t think it’s any kind of sexual come-on when they say it. I really think I am viewed as young, vulnerable, innocent and naive. I just turned 29. I like to think I am experienced and mature. I am experienced in some things, though probably nothing that would help to boost my maturity.
There are many ways that I do act like a child, much to my dismay. Some ways are positive, and some ways aren’t. I think I have a child-like fixation on things that make me happy (and there aren’t many). I get excited and giggle and just want to run around and clap my hands when something makes me feel good. I also talk a lot and very quickly when I’m excited or pleased about something. I remember a few years ago driving to Walmart with Jay to pick up a frozen pizza. I love love LOVE pizza of any kind, and we hadn’t had it for a while. On the drive to Walmart I was just talking my fool head off, and I kept mentioning how excited I was to get pizza. I finally realized that I sounded like a kid off to get his first ice cream cone of summer, so I shut up.
Well, that’s the one positive I can think of. On to the negative!
Let’s see, where to start? I come off as very young. When people interact with me after a period of time, I get the feeling that I am being treated with “kid gloves”. It’s like they can tell that I’m fragile and barely hanging on, so they soften things for me. They see me as vulnerable and in need of being protected. I guess that may not be such a bad thing overall, but it makes me feel like I don’t fit in the “adult” world. I don’t like that people feel the need to protect me. It makes me mad. It makes me feel incapable and inept. It makes me feel weak.
I am also prone to temper tantrums. If I don’t get my way, or don’t like the way something is going, I very well may start screaming, jumping up and down, and stomping my feet like a two-year old. I throw things. I hit things. I am just bubbling up with such frustration that I cannot contain it. Or, if things aren’t going right, I will start attacking whoever is making things go wrong. I will hurl childish insults and call names.
I recently realized that I seek attention like a child. Children act out to get people to notice them. Apparently so do I. Just like a child will cause a scene in school or at home, I tend to do the same thing. Jay is ignoring me? Fine, I’ll start bitching about something to get his attention. I’m talking and he doesn’t pay attention like he should? Fine, I’ll start slamming things around. I bet he’ll hear me then! I don’t like what Jay has to say? I’ll just storm off and slam a door. That will shut him up AND turn his attention to me!
As I’m learning more about emotion regulation, inserting positive experiences into my day, and better ways to deal with people, these childish behaviors are slowly diminishing. I am better able to control my emotions and not act out at the slightest provocation. I am going to my DBT group again tomorrow, and I’m actually looking forward to it instead of dreading it. I can see the change in myself since I started learning DBT skills. Jay can see a change in me, too, which means A LOT. I am hopeful. I know this group is helping me, and I am excited to learn even more ways to make my life more enjoyable.