What causes a person to develop emotional maturity?

  • Thread starter bluemoonKY
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  • #1
bluemoonKY
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In this thread, I am not asking what emotional maturity is. I am asking what causes a person to develop emotional maturity. I used to think that suffering & hardship causes a person to develop emotional maturity. Then I read that incarceration or institutionalization can delay emotional maturity. Incarceration generally is a hardship. So I think that rules out the idea that hardship alone will automatically, on its own, cause a person to develop emotional maturity.

What causes a person to develop emotional maturity?
 

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  • #2
Pythagorean
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You'll have to define what you mean by emotional maturity to talk about how it develops. Its not rigidly pre-defined for us.
 
  • #3
jim mcnamara
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Moved thread to General Discussion.

You could read Abraham Maslow on socialization (hierarchy of needs) for some ideas on where to go with the discussion.

https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
 
  • #4
Moved thread to General Discussion.

You could read Abraham Maslow on socialization (hierarchy of needs) for some ideas on where to go with the discussion.

https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
Was thinking this also, with self actualization being at the top- knowing what you stand for, your worth, morals, and purpose.
As far as the emotional aspect of maturity, I would say that it still applies. If you know what's important to you, you will act in a way that benefits that worth.
 
  • #6
After reading countless books on topics encompassing Emotional Maturity (I call it, self-ownership). I would like to chip in my two pennies. I would describe 'emotional maturity' as:
"Ones ability to mindfully and objectively react to external stimuli (Pleasure or Pain) with resilience and self-growth in mind". - Thats not official in any way, purely based on my research and experiences. I also would like to hear what's your take on it.

In regards to how people develop this maturity. I believe its (Backed by research) down to an individual exposure to certain situations and social interactions. There is one quote that I really like "Adaptation rather than rationality animates change". - Social Adaptation Theory in Consumer Behaviour

I think of it this way, If you lock someone out from all external stimuli and only expose them to a certain thing. They can't do much about it as they don't know any better. This could be from food to something basic as how you travers (Move/Walk). - Research on "Genie Wiley" is interesting, she was locked away for I believe 13 or 14 years of her life.

So how does one develop it?

Well it could be what you read, watch or your social interactions. Example of certain mental maturity that is confined to only a certain demographic is the Bullet Ant ritual where "Boys" from the Satere Mawe tribe only become "Men" when they past the ritual. Then when spoken to, the "boys" only understood this as being the only way of being a man and doing things that men can do. Which in our social circles would be bizarre.

Now if you would like to develop your own emotional maturity and more, I would recommend "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. Really nice book if you want someone to burst your bubble. You will understand when Marcus starts referring to beings as sacks of rotting flesh and bone, that's only for starters. Another good book I would recommend is "Influence- The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini.

That is only scratching the surface but, I hope that gave you some food for thought :)
 
  • #7
Fervent Freyja
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Deviation from norms in childhood development within a child's society or a crisis within a society can hinder emotional development. Many places differ. Two children can experience similar childhoods of struggle, but if those around the struggling child aren't experiencing similar events, then a cognitive dissociation from those around them may occur; essentially, preventing them from developing a similar theory of mind that enables them to connect, empathize, and simply function alongside others within their group. This is why we can find mentally healthy children in undeveloped nations undergo grueling experiences, while children in developed nations can experience only a fraction of that trauma, yet can begin to deviate both emotionally and cognitively from norms. In other words, when there is extreme inequality concerning basic survival and decency in a nation, children suffer. I might also add that there is no set definition on what constitutes maturity. It's a matter of perspective, I think. Being from an individualistic culture myself, I would say that I think that people from honor-based cultures are emotionally immature as a whole. The majority of the US prison system is filled with people that were raised in an honor-based culture within the US. I think that cursing and screaming at your boyfriend in a parking lot, as if he's killed someone, then recklessly speeding up near my child & I is incredibly emotionally immature. But, many in the US would disagree with me, and say it's perfectly normal to them.

Suffering and hardship would be a primary cause for emotional immaturity, not an outcome. Maturity from trauma is actually not typical. Sometimes, it breaks people. You have to remove the stimulus and cause of suffering firstly. The conditions thereafter would determine whether or not those learning experiences can be utilized later on. But, it is a very painful process and requires a person to transcend to a place of forgiveness and acknowledgment. The price is sometimes so high that they still cannot fit in when they do begin trying to catch up.
 
  • #8
Bill_A
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Senility...
 
  • #9
I think it is achieved by doing self-reflective work, I have worked on myself for over 20 years and I believe I can now say I have reached emotional maturity. I had Adversive Childhood Experiences to work on.
 
  • #11
bluemoonKY
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This is why we can find mentally healthy children in undeveloped nations undergo grueling experiences, while children in developed nations can experience only a fraction of that trauma, yet can begin to deviate both emotionally and cognitively from norms.

Children in developed nations can experience only a fraction of that trauma, yet can begin to deviate both emotionally and cognitively from norms in what way? Deviating to be more mature or less mature?



I might also add that there is no set definition on what constitutes maturity. It's a matter of perspective, I think. Being from an individualistic culture myself, I would say that I think that people from honor-based cultures are emotionally immature as a whole. The majority of the US prison system is filled with people that were raised in an honor-based culture within the US. I think that cursing and screaming at your boyfriend in a parking lot, as if he's killed someone, then recklessly speeding up near my child & I is incredibly emotionally immature. But, many in the US would disagree with me, and say it's perfectly normal to them.

The majority of the US prison system is filled with Americans. Isn't America considered to be an individualistic culture?

Fervent Freyja, you had a lot of interesting things to say, but you never really answered how a person develops emotional maturity.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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The verb form of the word is the act of achieving it, and the definition tells what the act is/how it is performed.
 
  • #13
phinds
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I would describe 'emotional maturity' as:
"Ones ability to mindfully and objectively react to external stimuli (Pleasure or Pain) with resilience and self-growth in mind".
I believe that statement to be a non-starter. Huge swaths of the human population do not respond at all objectively to external stimuli. To take my point of view further would require going off in religious and/or political directions that are not allowed on this forum, so I'll have to just leave it there.
 
  • #14
jim mcnamara
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@Tracey3 - Lots of cultures have rites of passage. Kinaldaa is the one for Navajo women. Traditional Navajo culture is matrilineal. Anyway, because of a lack of definite boundaries between child -> adult in our society (other than legally mandated age values) other rites have evolved, example: 'beating in' a new member of a gang. The rite of passage is a trial, usually nasty, to prove your worth or mettle as an adult. Like you mentioned. Remove that and replace it with our culture and you get undefined boundaries because of no real change of perception of the person (See Cushing below). This has already happened to the Navajo. A small section of the population adheres to the old ways, most others are westernized and no longer speak Navajo well enough to function in an adult context. They cannot transition to adult and be accepted. Lose your language lose your culture.

This rite of passage requirement is not my concept, although I think it has some limited merit. The Navajo thing is my example - I lived on the Rez for years, left, and came back 30 years later to see a radically different culture.

Cushing - based on research in another cultural context:

See: Pameala Cushing (1999) Translating Transformation into Something Real (Rites of Passage), Pathways: Ontario Journal for Outdoor Education, Vol. 12, No. 1 Sept.-Nov; pp 26-30.
 
  • #15
phinds said:
Huge swaths of the human population do not respond at all objectively to external stimuli.

I have never stated that emotional maturity is prevalent and/or common within the populous. I would argue that, millennials in particular are exhibiting strong indicators of narcism which isn't necessarily a contributor to developing emotional maturity.

To further back this up I will give a common example of emotional immaturity, grieving over passing away of someone. Firstly, crying and emotionality is normally to be expected initially as its one of many human coping mechanisms. Generally the next morning after such incident, physically the body is capable of operating nominally, however most people will grieve for long periods of time, mainly due to social norms and neural associations of pain if not grieving.

Thats explaining it in short but this is also why I refer to emotional maturity as 'Self-ownership'. Anyways I still would love to hear your point, as you might have some different insights or I'm overlooking something. I would be happy to hear you out over PM or alternative places :)

P.s. @jim mcnamara Thanks for the journal information, its an interesting read.
 
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  • #16
phinds
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I have never stated that emotional maturity is prevalent and/or common within the populous.
You're missing my point. Regardless of the % of the population that you consider emotionally mature, I find your statement that object responses to stimuli is a prerequisite for maturity to be wildly optimistic. I know LOTS of people whom I consider emotionally mature but they clearly do not respond objectively to a great many things. We all respond subjectively to many things, some more than others.
 
  • #17
phinds said:
I find your statement that object responses to stimuli is a prerequisite for maturity to be wildly optimistic.

Ahh right, ok well there is no solid marker for what's mature or not. However would you consider rephrasing it to use 'grounded'instead of 'objectively' as more appropriate? Then again I considered using 'Unbiased' but most of the subjective mind is a product of factual propositions which have been effected by our biases (Egocentric bias or even Cryptomnesia).
 
  • #18
phinds
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All of the terms you are using are so not-scientifically-meaningful that I don't find the conversation helpful.
 
  • #19
bluemoonKY
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You'll have to define what you mean by emotional maturity to talk about how it develops. Its not rigidly pre-defined for us.

emotional maturity: to manage one's emotions rather than let one's emotions control one's behavior.
 
  • #20
phinds
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emotional maturity: to manage one's emotions rather than let one's emotions control one's behavior.
So psychopaths are immature but sociopaths are mature. I'm not in favor.
 
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  • #21
bluemoonKY
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So psychopaths are immature but sociopaths are mature. I'm not in favor.

How in the nation did you interpret what I said to mean that?

Psychopathy and sociopathy are the same thing.

Sociopathy/psychopathy is not having a conscience. Why did you even mention psychopathy/sociopathy? This has nothing to do with sociopathy/psychopathy.

If you are able to manage your emotions as opposed to letting your emotions control your behavior, that is a sign of maturity. For instance, if you are angry about something, but you manage your anger as opposed to throwing a temper tantrum, that is a sign of emotional maturity.
 
  • #22
You'll have to define what you mean by emotional maturity to talk about how it develops. Its not rigidly pre-defined for us.
Thank gosh for this comment. Emotional maturity is arbitrary and not easily defined.
 
  • #23
mister mishka
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How in the nation did you interpret what I said to mean that?

Psychopathy and sociopathy are the same thing.

Sociopathy/psychopathy is not having a conscience. Why did you even mention psychopathy/sociopathy? This has nothing to do with sociopathy/psychopathy.

If you are able to manage your emotions as opposed to letting your emotions control your behavior, that is a sign of maturity. For instance, if you are angry about something, but you manage your anger as opposed to throwing a temper tantrum, that is a sign of emotional maturity.

They are not the same thing, a psychopath does not feel any empathy and is just born like that while a sociopath is created due to physical abuse or emotional trauma (they can still feel empathy). It is a nature vs nuture difference, resulting in different patterns of behaviour. Given your definition of "emotional maturity" ("to manage one's emotions rather than let one's emotions control one's behavior"), a psychopath would be one of the best at controlling emotions and a sociopath would be one of the worst..
 
  • #24
bluemoonKY
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They are not the same thing, a psychopath does not feel any empathy and is just born like that while a sociopath is created due to physical abuse or emotional trauma (they can still feel empathy). It is a nature vs nuture difference, resulting in different patterns of behaviour.

I've read multiple books on sociopathy/psychopathy including Without Conscience by Robert O'Hare and The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley and The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout and Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. The authors of all four of those books use the words sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably. O'Hare, Cleckley, Stout, and m.e. Thomas all unanimously claim that sociopaths/psychopaths don't have consciences because of both genetics AND environment. In other words, O'Hare, Cleckley, Stout, and m.e. Thomas all unanimously claim that sociopaths/psychopaths don't have consciences because of both nature and nurture.

What is your source for your assertion that a psychopath is born that way and a sociopath is made that way due to environment? Do you believe that a sociopath is created strictly due to physical abuse or emotional trauma, or do you think that sociopathy also has genetic causes? What is your source that a sociopath can feel empathy? Do you believe that a sociopaths have consciences?
 
  • #25
mister mishka
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So you are saying that you not only have to be born with it, but also to be in certain environment for a sociopath / psychopath to arise? Of course sometimes it could be both, but are you saying it is always both?
 
  • #26
bluemoonKY
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So you are saying that you not only have to be born with it, but also to be in certain environment for a sociopath / psychopath to arise? Of course sometimes it could be both, but are you saying it is always both?

mister mishka, as I recollect, the four books I read about sociopathy/psychopathy did not clarify if the causes of sociopathy/psychopathy are ALWAYS both genetics and environment. The four books I read just said what I wrote in post #24: Sociopathy/psychopathy is caused by both genetics and environmental factors (without saying if both genetic & environmental factors caused sociopathy/psychopathy in all sociopaths/psychopaths).
 
  • #27
I like Serena
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I'm afraid I don't have any references to support what I'm saying.
Still, I'm interested in this thread, and I hope you will bear with me when I try to share my ideas.

As I see it, a child is not 'emotionally mature' because (s)he hasn't learned to deal with most situations yet.
A child will be confronted with a new situation and not know what to do.
Consequently (s)he will start to cry, or look for help, or make a bad call, or some such.
Maturity means that you've encountered sufficient situations and have learned to deal with them one way or another.
To the point that even if a new situation comes up that is unfamiliar, that previous experiences will help you to deal with it.
 
  • #28
mister mishka
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mister mishka, as I recollect, the four books I read about sociopathy/psychopathy did not clarify if the causes of sociopathy/psychopathy are ALWAYS both genetics and environment. The four books I read just said what I wrote in post #24: Sociopathy/psychopathy is caused by both genetics and environmental factors (without saying if both genetic & environmental factors caused sociopathy/psychopathy in all sociopaths/psychopaths).

Yes well then that makes my point, that there is some distinction between a sociopath and a psychopath. Of course this is not a hard science and there will be varying degrees of each depending on the person, but it will either be mostly caused by genetics or by environmental factors.
 
  • #29
DennisN
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Regarding sociopaths and psychopaths I just want to jump in and say that those terms are somewhat old/outdated. The clinical term is ASPD (antisocial personality disorder), which is one of the four similar disorders in the cluster B personality disorders. People in this cluster are not only emotionally immature, they can even be emotionally deficient. On an psychological and emotional level, they are often compared to children and toddlers, even though they are adults.

EDIT: Outwardly, many of them can appear as pretty normal, mature and in control of themselves. But internally, psychologically, they are not. And their masks slip from time to time, often to people that are close to them.
 
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  • #30
gleem
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I am surprised that no one has brought up the link between autism and developmental issues with emotional maturity. Typically an autistic persons age appropriate emotional responses lag that of a non autistic person. Emotional responses change as we age eventually and usually plateauing at what we would term as normal rational adult response resulting in normal satisfactory interpersonal relationships and normal responses to the various emotional situations. (of course within "normally" acceptable variations).
 
  • #31
Yes well then that makes my point, that there is some distinction between a sociopath and a psychopath. Of course this is not a hard science and there will be varying degrees of each depending on the person, but it will either be mostly caused by genetics or by environmental factors.

Psychopathy is considered to be a more extreme cases of sociopathy. All Psychos are Socios but not all Socios are Psychos.

Sociopaths have an easier time blending into society among "normal" people. Psychopaths have a harder time faking it. There are a lot of people who have the socio disorder and do not commit violent crimes. On the other hand "approximately 93% of Psychopaths are in the criminal justice system."

And sobering fact I read; a lot of people with the disorder(s) tend to gravitate towards certain jobs: police officers, CEOs of major companies, chefs(and I wouldn't be surprised if my chef instructor in college is one LOL), lawyers, journalists, surgeons, media, sales person, civil servant, and clergy.

https://www.healthyplace.com/person...sychopath-vs-sociopath-what-s-the-difference/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fo...the-top-10-jobs-that-attract-psychopaths/amp/
 
  • #32
Emotional maturity is usually achieved by the individual in question. I say this because, as you mentioned in your post, there are many people who undergo hardship but come out defiant, rude and quite emotionally unstable. On the other hand, there are many who use their traumas to better understand themselves and others which result in a kind, helpful and level-headed adult. I was a victim of many, many different traumatic experiences since a young age and thanks to this I have become a beacon for many of those in need. I have met a vast amount of people who have undergone trauma(s) and the result of which differs depending on their personality (nurture v.s. nature--you decide) and ability to learn from mistakes; therefore, I believe emotional maturity is a cognitive choice and requires quite a bit of willpower, knowledge, and sometimes even therapy/self-help books. :dog:
 
  • #33
bluemoonKY
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therefore, I believe emotional maturity is a cognitive choice and requires quite a bit of willpower, knowledge, and sometimes even therapy/self-help books. :dog:

Translation: You are saying that a person's choosing to behavior in emotionally mature ways is what develops emotional maturity.

Lillie, you're really the only person who answered the question of this thread. Everyone else just went on tangents.
 
  • #34
DennisN
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Lillie, you're really the only person who answered the question of this thread. Everyone else just went on tangents.
Ok, here's my two (or four) cents :smile:...
bluemoonKY said:
What causes a person to develop emotional maturity?

I do think it is both nature (genetics) and nurture (upbringing). I do think reasonably emotionally mature parents or role models need to be present, since children very early on learn (and imitate) from the people that are close to them. Later on, to develop healthy social skills with your peers, there need to be healthy friends. And this goes on into adulthood.

Unhealthy* parents/role models and unhealthy circumstances can (and often do) result in unhealthy children who become unhealthy adults. Not all the time, though.

*) EDIT: What I mean by "unhealthy" is socially/psychologically unhealthy.
 
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  • #35
rootone
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Experience is what causes maturity?
 
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