Emotionally Immature Parents – What it’s just like to be growing up with emotionally immature parents.
Growing up as adult children of emotionally immature parents may result in long-term feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, and abandonment. The four types of emotionally immature parents, including emotional, driven, rejecting, and passive parents, are discussed in this article.
Furthermore, this article also explores the signs of emotionally immature parents, such as being self-centered, lacking integrity, making you feel emotionally lonely, and never apologizing for their mistakes.
What are emotionally immature parents?
Emotional immaturity means being unable to control your emotion, blaming others for your mistakes, and not accepting other people’s points of view. It can be due to insecure attachments during early life experiences, unresolved traumas, or a lack of in-depth self-reflection.
By the phrase “emotionally immature parents,” we mean the parents who are not able and willing to support their children emotionally. Emotionally immature parents are controlling, unreliable, and demanding.
An emotionally immature parent can lead to regressive behaviors, interpersonal conflicts & low self-esteem and can cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma, and other mental health conditions.
Types of emotionally immature parents
It is essential to understand the types of emotional immaturity in adult life. Clinical psychologist Dr. Lindsay Gibson explains the four distinct types of emotionally immature parents: emotional parents, driven parents, passive parents, and rejecting parents.
Gibson highlights that despite the four types, they are all related in some way. A little emotional immaturity can be part of a good parent, but a full-blown emotionally immature nightmare will always result in toxic parenting.
Remember that each type has different degrees of narcissism, ranging from mild to severe.
1. Emotional parents
The emotionally immature parents frequently let their emotions rule them. They tend to depend on external factors, like other people or intoxicants, to calm and stabilize them when they experience minor upsets like the end of the world.
The emotional parents may swing between being too involved in your life and abruptly withholding support. According to Gibson, these parents are liable to instability and unpredictability, and they are the most infantile among four types of emotionally immature parents.
2. Driven parents
The driven parent appears the most normal, showing strong concern for their children’s lives. These parents rarely take the time to empathize with and connect emotionally with their children truly, and they are pretty controlling and intrusive.
On the other hand, the driven parent is frequently busy and obsessively goal-oriented. Driven parents often assume that their children would value the same things they do without question. They will ignore, reject, or punish you if you object.
3. Rejecting parents
Rejecting parents are self-absorbed hurricanes who want to be left alone. They want everything to revolve around them. Usually, they’re not close to you unless you are somehow helpful to them in a particular situation.
Rejecting parents show no closeness or real engagement with their children’s lives in meaningful ways and are typically controlling and isolating.
4. Passive parents
Passive parents are usually considered “favorite and cool parents.” They don’t set many rules or restrictions for their kids. However, a lot of them are emotionally distant and incapable of handling stressful circumstances, which isn’t ideal while parenting children. The passive parent manages by downplaying issues and acquiescing.
Signs of emotionally immature parents
What are the signs of emotionally immature parents? Depending on the circumstances, the signs can manifest in many ways. Here, I have compiled a list of common tell-tale signs that your parents are emotionally immature.
1. They operate from ego
We all have egos. Our egos are the perception of our minds of ourselves and are prone to being defensive, absorbed in oneself, and conflict in relations.
A parent who operates from ego may fall into one of two types: Doormat and Diva (dudes can be Divas too).
The Divas are entitled, aggressive, grandiose, disrespectful of other people’s limits, and narcissistic. The Doormats are passive or passive-aggressive, repeatedly allow their boundaries to be crossed, and frequently fall into a victim narrative.
These manifestations are low self-worth and a lack of healthy self-esteem that results from trauma or a lack of healthy attachments to parents or other primary caretakers during the early years.
2. They lack integrity and tend to blame others
Parents that lack emotional maturity are unable to handle problems and have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions. They believe that they are never at fault and that other people’s shortcomings and mistakes are what cause problems.
Parents who exhibit such behavior typically ignore the truth and adhere to imaginary narratives. They also frequently blame others.
Lack of responsibility leads to a lack of integrity, impedes forgiveness, and undermines confidence.
3. Thye are controlling and extremely self-centered
Emotionally immature parents are extremely self-centered in addition to being stubborn. To satisfy their insecurities and emotional voids, emotionally immature parents try to control their children. To dominate the narrative, they might manipulate situations. They always come first!
To make matters more complicated, they often think highly of themselves and are entirely unaware of their shortcomings.
4. Being around them makes you feel emotionally lonely
Being raised by emotionally immature parents increases emotional loneliness. Even though your parent might have been present physically, you might have felt abandoned emotionally.
Even though you could sense a family connection to your parent but an emotionally secure parent-child relationship is very different from that. Emotionally immature parents enjoy giving their kids instructions but find emotional nurturing uncomfortable. As a result, while attempting to calm a distressed child, they may seem forced and awkward.
5. They hardly show feelings
Emotionally immature parents find it difficult to express their emotions. They hide their deeper feelings.
They are confused and unable to react appropriately because they have not yet reached the stage of development where they can deal with situations that make them angry, unhappy, or insecure.
6. They killjoys
Emotionally immature parents may be terrible killjoys to their children and others. They don’t enjoy other people’s happiness since they don’t often relate to other people’s emotions. Instead of celebrating your accomplishment, Emotionally immature parents may act in ways that take the shine off your pride.
7. They never apologize for their mistakes
A parent who never accepts responsibility for their actions is inherently emotionally immature because they cannot accept that they are faulty.
Emotionally immature parents frequently make matters worse by projecting blame, making accusations, and denying responsibility for their actions instead of making amends or apologies.
In a nutshell, emotionally immature parents are demoralizing, self-preoccupied, and try to dismiss and control you. You need to work on your emotional intelligence and mental wellness. You must set healthy boundaries for yourself through solid communication that is direct, clear, and shows respect for yourself and others to deal with emotionally immature parents.
At some stage, you must learn when to let go of the things that are no longer helpful to you. In the end, it’s not you who loses; it’s them.
If you feel lonely, hurt, or lack self-confidence due to your parents’ behavior, feel free to reach out to me. As a coach, I’d help you increase your emotional freedom and learn the strategies to move forward with kindness and compassion for your parent and yourself.