CHAPTER 6: SELF EXAMINATION & MATURATIONAL CURIOSITIES
Maturing adults struggle with maturational curiosities when their
relationships decline. Understanding personality and its related
motives will always help maturing adults comprehend why their relationships
fail to improve. Maturing adults begin to accept that personality
and its related motives stabilize marital or other interpersonal
conflict. Good psychotherapy helps clients work through the following
- Am I driven to improve the psychological health of our marriage
or am I motivated to create or avoid conflict in order to gratify
my immature interpersonal motives?
- Is my partner driven to improve the psychological health of
our marriage or is he or she motivated to create or avoid conflict
in order to gratify their immature interpersonal motives?
Psychological naiveté or immaturity may limit one’s
ability to judge the health of their premarital relationship. The
fund of information that is available to many Americans regarding
what is normal and abnormal in relationships is still highly underdeveloped.
Therefore, malignant opportunists have an unfair advantage in all
types of relationships.
The drive to mature is limited by either individual or interpersonal
personality. Maturing adults examine their own personality as well
as the motives associated with the personality of a partner. Maturational
instincts involve curiosity, domestic courage and individual accountability.
Individuals who tolerate the angst of maturation commonly ask the
- Is my motivation to mature limited by my own personality or
by the personality of my spouse, parent, supervisor, leader, peer
Normal and abnormal social ties challenge individual adaptive potential.
With adaptive potential, individuals want to know more about the well-being
and safety of their relationships. The motives associated with adaptive
potential may either help a struggling relationship or end it. With
regard to survival, curiosity has played a large role in human evolution;
humans survived by either preying upon others or moving away from
dangerous or suspicious relationships.
Immature adults cannot tolerate maturational challenges that threaten
their fragile sense of adult competency. Maladaptive defensive reasoning
helps adults circumvent conscious awareness that clearly defines
the limits of their personality and its impact upon others. Consider
the following maturational questions where maturing adults struggle
with increasing their conscious awareness of themselves and others:
- Is my maladaptive defensive reasoning limited by my own personality?
- Is my maladaptive defensive reasoning or judgment a response
to my partner’s personality and the health of my marriage?
- Is my mental health declining because of my own personality
or in response to my spouse’s personality?
- Is my physical health declining because of my own personality
or in response to the personality of my partner?
- Am I objectively interpreting domestic realities or am I subjectively
misinterpreting them with the perceptual filters of my own personality?
- When do I stop running or hiding from my marital problems?
- Why are these complicated decisions in my life?
- What do I really want in a marriage or relationship?
- What would a professional say about my interpersonal needs or
the health of my relationship?
- When do I stop trying to rescue my marriage and file for divorce?
When maturing, individuals develop an ability to surrender from
their maladaptive defensive reasoning. Just as some individuals
are motivated to alter their lifestyles in order to improve their
health, maturing adults are motivated to examine the health of their
own psychological reasoning. Maturational curiosity is associated
with reducing psychological paralysis and confusion.