Growing up we learn a lot about relationships from our parents. We learn about what’s good and bad. We learn how to communicate and how to behave. Parents set up their standards and expectations for us. And as kids, we take at face value whatever it is they say. We don’t question them, we obey.
You spilled something on the floor. It was by accident. Your mom yells at you and tells you how you did it on purpose and the shouts directed at you make you tremble with fear. She grabs you in anger and twists your ear which makes you physically hurt. How could you do something like that on purpose? But it was an accident you think to yourself. Why would I do this on purpose just to get yelled at? You go to your room and sob and think of how clumsy and bad you are.
You’re saving some money for that portable audio player you dreamed so much of. With each passing day you put away some cash in hopes that one day that dream would become a reality. When the day arrives and you tell your parents what you decided to do with your money they laugh and scoff at you. It’s a stupid waste of money they tell you. You can’t have that. But you want it. But also they have the ultimate say and you realize that perhaps you don’t deserve to have what you want.
These are just some scenarios of how being raised by emotionally immature parents can lead to a lonely experience growing up.
Emotionally immature parents don’t make an emotional connection with their children. They dismiss any form of connection and openness. They struggle to understand their own emotions and in turn, the child is confused about how he is supposed to feel.
The child wants comfort and warmth, but the parent is unable to provide that basic need. So the child retreats and disregards those feelings.
1. They Don’t Really Hear You
Being raised by emotionally immature parents you will feel like no matter what you say to your parents they will never fully get you.
You will, in turn, feel like it’s pointless arguing with them for no matter how hard you try to explain things to them, they will simply ignore what you have to say.
This leads to a relationship where communication is difficult and for the most part one-sided.
A big problem happens when you feel like what you have to say is of little importance. Expressing yourself seems pointless. The problem is not in the person attempting to have a dialogue but in the parents that abruptly shut down any disclosure.
Relationships are sustained by the pleasure of emotional intimacy, the feeling that someone is interested in taking the time to really listen and understand your experience. If you don’t have that, your relationship won’t thrive. Mutual emotional responsiveness is the single most essential ingredient of human relationships.
Their refusal to listen is a sign of emotional immaturity.
2. They Have Little Respect for Differences
Emotionally immature people are annoyed by other people’s differing thoughts and opinions, believing everyone should see things their way.
They are quick to judge other’s decisions and will not accept that there can be opposing views regarding a subject. The idea that they are the ones holding the higher truth is deeply ingrained within their personality.
They expect others to hold the same beliefs and side with them regarding any issue. They expect full compliance in accordance with their wants and not yours.
3. They Are Self-Preoccupied and Self-Involved
Did you have a situation where one of your parents vented to you about work problems? Perhaps your mom told you about her issues with your dad?
Emotionally immature parents drop all their concerns on you in order to alleviate some of the frustration and pain they feel. In turn, that negatively impacts your feelings.
An emotionally immature parent will go to their child and talk behind the other spouse's back about how bad they feel about them. Instead of trying to communicate and solve the issue between themselves as two adults should.
I mean aren’t they adults after all?
4. They Are Not Expressing Their Love
Empathy is a necessity for true emotional intimacy. You can’t have a deep relationship without it. Being empathic includes being aware of both emotions and intentions.
Emotionally immature parents find expressing deep emotions to their children extremely difficult. They don’t verbalize their affection because of how they were raised. Perhaps, in their family, it wasn’t appropriate to express those feelings and so the parent feels shameful in expressing them now in their own household.
Like anything, it’s a learned response formed in their own childhood.
5. They Focus on the Physical Instead of the Emotional
Emotionally immature parents can be great providers. They will take care of your basic needs such as — food, shelter, and education.
But a person also needs to be taken care of emotionally.
In this case, they are oblivious of how to respond to a child’s emotional needs.
They do not know how to deal with a child’s emotions, how to offer the needed support. Their response to such displays of emotions could be met with judgment. They would tell you how you’ve got nothing to be upset about for you are taken care of, but are you really?
They’ll make you feel guilty for the way you feel.
Growing up in an emotionally immature household can be tough on a child. It’s important though to distinguish that the parents' immaturity is not their fault alone and that the way they themselves were raised impacted their parenting style on you. Clear communication, setting boundaries, and realizing that their issues should not become your issues is a step forward to becoming a mature adult.