Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Some People Never Grow Up

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jun 21, 2013 8:31 PM

Two leaders on opposite sides and a neutral party are supposed to sit down to negotiate but one displays a flag. The other is insulted and mad because he thinks the flag is an attempt to assert dominance and, therefore, refuses to talk. The neutral party is nonplussed. The negotiations end before they can begin.

A husband and wife have a bitter argument about going out to eat with friends. One friend is very fussy about which restaurant and always wants his choice. The husband doesn't like "spoiled" people, having been the neglected one in a family of other children who came later and were spoiled. He's jealous and creates a power struggle and dramatic fight, despite the wife's explanation for why the friend is so particular.

These are two cases, totally different in content, of people refusing to grow up. In the first case, countries and people suffer as a result, unable to establish peace. In the second case, egos are bruised for no reason and a power struggle ensues when there doesn't need to be one. In both cases, these people are no different from kids fighting over a toy or where to sit in the car. At least one vies for power and the other resists, either believing it's unfair or wanting the other to be more understanding and agreeable.

Real grown-ups don't create power plays where they don't need to be. They compromise, adjust and save disagreements for something bigger. They try to understand where the other stands based on empathy and listening. They understand their own development and realize when they're overreacting based on past disappointments and abuses. When they can't, the sad thing is that so many people get hurt in the crossfire.

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