The adult dominated by an inner overindulged child of the past is not going to be a leader.
In fact, Missildine identifies two of their main characteristics as: 1. Tired and bored and 2. Expecting other persons to rescue them or take care of them. In general, adults who were overindulged as children are unmotivated, disinterested, and unable to get started. When others do not meet their often unexpressed demands there is a whining undertone of complaint. Although otherwise attractive and appealing, they cannot initiate or carry out any sustained effect and tend to get exhausted if they attempt to do so.
The adult life of an overindulged child is a perfect example of the power of early mental models in limiting experience and destroying creative and energy potential. Although they may be intelligent and attractive their passivity tends to isolate them from others. Their relationships are unbalanced and they often drift through life resolving to change but never do. They see others as responsible for them and offer little to sustain a relationship. In essence, they convert friends into parents! They wait and watch as life passes them by and rarely stick to anything that requires sustained effort on their part. As you might guess, they have difficulty holding a job or developing a meaningful career. As they grow older they tend to become bitter and complaining.
When they are forced to confront their self-defeating patterns they are quick to blame others. Inwardly they feel very alone and very anxious as they watch life pass them by. Although psychotherapy has the greatest potential to help them change their limiting mental models and beliefs, these persons tend to break off treatment once they detect that they are expected to become independent.
There are no quick fixes or rewards for the overindulged. Here are some things that might help the person who appears incapable of initiating action and gaining satisfaction from their own efforts:
- Since their passive clinging role is filled with discontent, self-contempt and self-hatred at their own passivity there are reasons they might want to change.
- When they become aware of the links to their parental origins in childhood they must be willing to face a difficult and anxious struggle.
- They must not give way to fruitless self-contempt and self-criticism.
- They must learn to identify and separate the inner overindulged child from the adult who deserves better.
- They need to work on becoming a firm helpful parent to themselves and recognize that involvement precedes interest.
- They must do the harder thing and struggle to participate actively in relationships and return to others what they get from them.
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