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Growing Pains

The Difference Between a Child and an Adult Approaching 30

By Julie L. Torgerson


I think what we (male and female) are forgetting is that we are not children anymore. I hear and see the cries, complaints, and depression of fellow girlfriends, partners, male friends and myself; of how lonely we are; how unhappy we feel; and why, why-oh-why can't it be different. 

Well, recently I have discovered that I am still acting the child: crying, stomping my feet, throwing fits; begging for something to give somewhere; looking to someone else to fix things, as a helpless child does. I have neglected to see that I am an adult—quite capable of changing my environment, status, choices, and what I will and will not tolerate. I am in control. I am no longer a victim of childhood circumstances.  

Please believe me when I say I have compassion for anyone suffering as a child and as an adult. I understand the stagnate pain of childhood chaos and delayed recovery as an adult because of that burden. The continued suffering is seemingly inescapable in every intimate relationship we get into as adults; continually replanting, supporting (probably literally), and finally harvesting the torture over and over again. Relive, relive, relive.  

It is important to know that WE choose what childhood seeds to nourish/feed (usually the negative), and which ones to let die (which sadly enough, are usually the most beautiful parts of us). 

If you can only remember one thing I say here, remember this: You and YOU alone decide to settle or pursue. You are in control as an adult, so stop asking life/men/women to provide a happy ending to an awful ride you were forced to take as a child. Instead - GET OFF that miserable ride and pursue a better one; find a new "park" to play in if need be. Whatever happened is OVER, and you should find comfort in this fact.  

Once you make a decision to have something better for your life, the short term suffering is well worth the long term comfort of achieving what you need, deserve and want as an innocent adult. Accept and expect that you will be uncomfortable, in pain at times, and lonely for a while (change is never easy or comfortable, and if it were, people wouldn't need advice—that is why the rewards of struggle are great). Weigh how you will feel when you step past the difficulties you suffer - FOREVER!  

Spread your wings! Jump, sprout—just get going! Growing is what feels good, not dying, and that is what happens when you let someone else, hurt you, control you, and decide for you continuously. You are reliving childhood experiences (as you did then with NO control) in an adult body. As you let it continue, you re-die as a child (still with NO control) in an adult body. Relive, re-die. So, does this mean we have the control to stop the smashing we suffered as children? Not really. Does it mean we have the say so as an adult to stop the abuse? Yes, definitely. What would happen if you did not tolerate the abusive behavior? Would you lose their love? Is it affirmation or isolation (ponder)? Is it worth having if it is isolation? Is it really love if it is isolation (painful ponder)? Can you imagine there could be something better—more pure, tender and thoughtful of you and your well being? I can.  

Is this all to say that I have mastered my life and/or the relationships in it? Certainly not, but the beautiful, heart skipping, and liberating blessing at this beginning stage of my journey is that I recognize the options in front of me. It is simply a choice in how I will live my life. What I will hang on to as a child (recreate in an adult relationship), and what I will let go of as an adult (certainly and understandably terrifying, but still an escape from a reoccurring emotional death). As an adult, that choice is ALL MINE.  

So there it is. I had no choice as a child, but as an adult, I (and you) have no one else to blame. 

Copyright © 2001 By Julie L. Torgerson








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