Recently, I witnessed the interaction of a grandmother with her grandchild. It wasn’t pleasant. The young child was having a meltdown; he was very angry and said things on impulse just to be malicious. His anger arose from something trivial, however, that trivia does not justify a temper tantrum. Subsequently, he told the grandmother he hated her, said in anger and obviously not true as he normally behaved with loving tenderness towards her.
This incident got me thinking about emotional immaturity:
The intense emotion from that anger emerged as what he perceived as hate. He may have felt ‘hate’ at that given time but the anger domineered the all other emotions, including his loving disposition. The powerful feeling of that anger made him believe he hated her. This expressive confusion is a sign of his emotional immaturity. He has yet to learn how to distinguish the difference or control his anger. Obviously, this is understandable in a young child.
Unfortunately, this childish behavior is seen not only in young children, but also in adults. I have witnessed numerous adults with this emotional immaturity. You see it everywhere, including the political arena (blocking bills in spite). Individuals confuse a disagreement or an opposing view as a hatred. If you don’t agree with them, they hate you. If you don’t do what they say, they hate you. That anger fuels an abhorrent behavior in the forms of verbal and manipulative means.
These people cannot understand that fury is not an odium, which is indicative of emotional immaturity. They are stuck in the childlike thought process that if they are angry with you, they hate you. That hate (according to them) justifies spiteful and malicious behaviors.
During the grandchild’s meltdown, his mother intervened. The way she handled it left me extremely impressed. She controlled the temper tantrum with a professional maturity of a child expert. Her parenting style (if continued) will guide her son to understand that anger is not hate and that hateful behaviors are not acceptable.
Too bad she can’t teach our politicians this.