Does Your Partner Often Behave Like A Child?

This blog is about anyone, male or female, who’s living with a partner who often behaves like a child. Does this ring a bell with you? Do you often find that you’re the only one who keeps things on track by showing some emotional maturity? Or that you’re carrying them through life sometimes? If so, read on……..

In this dynamic, you can coast along happily for a while, maybe weekssometimes, but then they get tired, fed-up, bored or simply find it hard to cope with some of the stresses that life throws at them. Small disagreements become huge issues and that leads to explosive episodes of misunderstanding and conflict. Often, this behaviour can be traced back to their childhood where they were either spoilt by one or both parents, not encouraged to take responsibility and, most of all, not made to be accountable for their actions.

Whatever the reason, it can be really exhausting to cope with and you may feel that your efforts are one-sided and all to keep life running as smoothly as possible. There’s often very little compromise and they can become very demanding – they want what they want, when they want (much like a three year old child who hasn’t learnt about other peoples’ needs).

Often, partners like this are very loveable and kind some of the time but that’s not always enough to make up for the episodes of anger and disappointment that they display at other times, which can seemingly come out of nowhere. They may be sorry later on, but won’t take steps to change, saying that it’s just the way they are.

If you find that your partner has no real emotional control, that they lash out verbally whenever something goes wrong, looks to others to make them happy or struggles with a vision for their life before descending into abject misery, how can you deal with it so that you’re not constantly on the alert for the next problem?

  • First of all, try not to take the upsets personally – it has little to do with you and a lot to do with their immaturity. Not taking it to heart is easier said than done, but you have to find a way to brush off the pettiness and sheer nastiness at times.
  • Remember that you cannot change them so you’ll need to adjust and treat their childish behaviour for what it is – childish behaviour. React as you would to a child and when you stop expecting them to respond like an adult, you can start to build in boundaries.
  • Creating these clear-cut lines (boundaries) will protect your own happiness and wellbeing and they need to be prioritised over your partner’s childish behaviour. Communicate these to your partner and be very clear. There’s no point in mincing words – tell them what will and won’t be acceptable, not as an ultimatum, but more of an invitation to your partner to learn how to interact with you.
  • Work out what the consequences will be if they don’t respect these boundaries. It doesn’t have to come to splitting up but whatever you decide (leaving for a few hours or days, refusing to interact with them if they shout and become irrational or going out for a long walk, turning off your phone – only you know which will work best for you). The main thing is to keep to these boundaries, whatever happens.
  • Speak up for yourself – just because they’re immature doesn’t mean that things can slide. If you’ve been hurt, sit them down when they’re calmer and have an adult conversation with them. They have to know that they’ve crossed a line.
  • Think about whether their behaviour triggers something in you from the past – maybe one of your parents or siblings also behaved like this. It’s then tempting to try to replay what’s happened in the past and try to get a happy ending. It’s understandable but frustrating and means that you’re stuck in an endless cycle of trying to make things better. You can’t – only they can do this.
  • Prioritise yourself – you’re not responsible for them, even though it often feels like that and they will tell you that that’s the case, blaming you for whatever is wrong in their lives at that time. But you don’t have to support them through whatever crisis they may have got themselves into, whether that’s at work or home. They have to try to sort things out themselves and often, childish people don’t want a solution (frustrating, I know!).
  • Lastly, remember that you’re not their parent and they’re not your child. You can’t always find solutions for them, so think of your own personal goals and try to focus on those when the going gets tough.

You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.                          #loss #depression #mentalhealth #anger #melancholy

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