We all experience emotions and impulses. As adults we learn to deal with them, assign them threat levels and otherwise orchestrate our way through them. Toddlers have no such ability. Nuances are not something they are equipped to understand, so they blame, cry, hide and say no a lot. It can be kind of endearing. It’s not so endearing when it pops up in adults.
Sometimes couples going into therapy seem to be trapped in toddler-brain syndrome. Like toddlers, they are so invested in what they see and have and need that the other’s perspective is completely immaterial. Partners that have fallen into toddler-brain territory exhibit certain commonalities, such as a total unwillingness to accept any responsibility for problems, a complete intolerance towards different perspectives, and a total unwillingness to grasp and deal with the actual issues. One psychiatrist feels that these sorts of couples are a mirror for our political times. Maybe they should be called Trump-Era-Brain couples then.
- Intimate couples experiencing turmoil often exhibit Toddler-brain, where both partners are self-obsessed, emotionally reactive, and resistant to change.
- Toddler Brain in adults often leads to denial of responsibility, non-nuanced thinking, avoidance of concrete issues, and intolerance of differences.
- Unlike the Toddler Brain, the Adult Brain weighs evidence, plans for the future, and let’s their partner know that they matter.
“Without the Adult brain to regulate emotions and impulses, toddlers use the primitive coping mechanisms of blame, denial, and avoidance to numb shame and fear.”