Heart, Spirit & Mind

Relationships with emotionally immature people

| 55 Comments

Emotionally immatureEmotional maturity is defined by the ability to control your emotions and take full responsibility for your life along with its opportunities and dramas. A large part of being emotionally mature is having the ability to handle anger, disappointment, guilt, resentment, fear, jealousy, disappointment, grief, insecurity, and a myriad of other feelings appropriately. Emotional maturity is defined when you have the ability to experience these emotions and then quickly let them go. People who are immature seem to remain stuck in these negative emotions, unable to get past them.

Emotional maturity is the ability to see life clearly and accurately, and to deal with it. If you expect life to be easy or comfortable all the time is to be naïve. It means you must live your life in the present, not in the past or the future, and definitely not in make believe. If you allow negative emotions more time or energy than they deserve they will take a lasting toll your life and possibly subsume your future.

Emotionally immature people can be extremely challenging to deal with, because their ability to interpret and react to the variety of life’s challenges is often impaired. If you are married to someone who is emotionally immature you probably face great challenges in dealing with their moods and behaviors. They tend to try to control their world around them making it what they idealize rather than accept it for what it is and work toward positive change.

This belief is a strong indicator of self-centeredness or narcissism. Self-centeredness and self importance are normally characteristics of children. Children demand special treatment, make little real contributions themselves, and complain that life isn’t meeting their demands. Over coming this mind set is a normal and an important part of growing-up. When those characteristics manifest chronically in a “grown-up,” they are indications that person is not in fact a mature, responsive adult, but rather still reacting out of their self centered child self rather than as a mature adult. The person may look mature, and have many adult responsibilities, but emotionally, they are still a child.

All human minds require a basic need to feel in control. We were born with this need. This need helps propel us through various stages of emotional development. Without at least some sense of control, we would feel lost, desperate and broken. We become unable to cope. With maturity we discover we are not able to control of as many things as we thought we could and so we learn how to cope.

Relationships are often the most obvious places where our lack of control shows up. When we are without significant people in our lives, we are able to glide through life on our own terms, addressing our needs and wants. We are rarely confronted by the needs of others in a meaningful way. Outside of a relationship we do not have a need to have to listen or to contemplate the workings of someone else’s mind. As a result, we feel in control most of the time.

When we become more intimately involved with people, we are forced to deal with other peoples wants and needs. This is when our control issues show up.

Emotional maturity is an important skill to have in life. Emotionally immature individuals walk through life blaming their problems on the people in their lives or their situations and circumstances. They blame others for their anger, sadness and depression, but rarely look inwardly. Instead of assuming responsibility for how they feel, they expect others in their life to see their points of view. They attempt to control others which is something you cannot control.

Emotionally immature people are emotionally dependent. They seek to find reasons to justify their feelings and often are skilled at manipulating others. Rather than accept what is, emotionally dependent people tend to obsess about how to get others to think like them. They will resort to unhealthy behaviors to get their way, even if it cost them what was once a loving relationship.

Whatever is impermanent is subject to change. Whatever is subject to change is subject to suffering. — The Buddha

The only sure things in life are that you will be born, and that you will die. Everything else is a just a bowl of chocolate. Life and people are supposed to change. Emotionally healthy and mature adults have integrated that fact into their psyche and learned to surrender to circumstances beyond their control and learned to do so, with a sense of peace. Surrendering requires that we are emotional independent and emotional mature. Although we may want another person to see things our point of view, we acknowledge the fact that the other person has a right to have a different point of view.

When we learn to accept the needs and wants of others around us, in spite of what we may want, we learn to remove unnecessary drama from our lives. Being mature means that we accept what we simply cannot have. We learn that letting go of what we want is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and for the person we love. Sometimes relationships need space to work themselves out. Unfortunately, the emotionally immature person sees this space as a threat to themselves because this is something in which they have no control and therefore they feel helpless.

When emotionally immature people do not get their way, they often respond to their circumstances in ways that are irrational. They need to control and this lack of control motivates them to act out. They pout, whine, cry manipulate, or violate the object of their obsession, all the whilst believing they are entitled to behave this way. They are in complete denial in regard how destructive this behavior is to their relationship, and now they are actually sabotaging their own goals.

Part of the process of maturing is that we learn to surrender to situations that we cannot control, especially when they involve others. People are entitled to live their lives the way they see fit, to not like us; to leave us. They are entitled to speak badly about us, or even to hate us. An emotionally mature person accepts these facts without the need to change what the other person is feeling or enact revenge. A mature individual does not lose control and succumb to irrational thoughts simply because they haven’t gotten their way.

Insecure and emotionally immature people are often bullies and employ many techniques to get their way. Bullies and harassers have the emotional age of a young child and will exhibit temper tantrums, deceit, lying and manipulation to avoid exposure of their true nature and to evade accountability.

Below are some signs of emotional immaturity.

  • When things go wrong, it is always someone else’s fault. One of the easiest ways to spot emotional immaturity is finger pointing. People who are emotionally immature rarely assume accountability for problems in their lives. It is always everyone else’s fault. It is difficult to talk sense into someone who always blames others. They refuse to see things from someone else’s point of view or own up to their role in things. They think they are right and the world is against them.
  • Emotionally immature people are highly sensitive to things done to them, but are blind to the things they do to others. If they perceive you as wronging them in any way, they retaliate. Yet they expect you to deal with whatever they dish out, including rude and moody behavior. You must accept them as they are, but they cannot accept you you are. More than likely, they often feel persecuted by any behavior they deem as unfair or insensitive. Unfortunately, their perceptions are often very skewed and inaccurate.
  • Emotionally immature people are victims. Bad things happen to them, but their poor choices play no part. Emotionally immature people enjoy playing the role of victim. They refuse to see how their poor choices often lead to consequences. As victims, they will often greatly distort reality, omitting certain things that happened or take words out of context. These emotionally challenged people will often pick partners who will side with them no matter what. They often seek drama because drama allows them to reinforce their victim role and to seek revenge over things that did not play out as they had hoped.
  • Relationships are often short lived. For the emotionally immature, it is challenging to maintain relationships of any substance. The reason is that such people often turn their friends into enemies-over the smallest perceived slight or threat. Compromise is almost impossible for the emotionally immature. They will cut off ties with people who will not give into them all of the time. Or people will distance themselves from the emotionally immature, as they tire of their unreasonable demands.

These are only a few signs that someone is emotionally immature. While you may have compassion for such people, it’s important that you recognize that you are dealing with someone with emotional issues.

You may feel that you can fix this person. But in reality, the issues are often deeply seeded, and you may find it highly challenging to have a fair and balanced relationship or friendship with someone who is emotionally immature.

m4s0n501

55 Comments

  1. Incredible article, thank you. I feel like I’m faced with people like this almost daily. I guess the first step to coming to terms with something is identifying it, and you did it perfectly. I am coming to terms with the fact that the world is full of emotionally immature people, and the best I can do is avoid them.

    • The more confidence you have in yourself, the more unwilling you will be spending your time with emotionally immature people. The most important thing is to face reality and see the situation (whatever that may be), as it is. Once you can see things clearly, it becomes easier to disconnect yourself from it. The best way to do that is to ask yourself, “Is this what I deserve?”, “Is this what I want from my life?”. Sometimes it may mean counseling. Sometimes all the counseling in the world won’t fix a situation. Some people are fundamentally too different, or unwilling or unable to change. You can’t do all the work to fix a relationship. Ultimately, no matter how much you love someone, if they cause you more grief than joy, or they don’t add value to your life and instead, subtract from it, then you must, for your own happiness, sever the relationship. That is the ultimate in self-love.

  2. WHO EVER RESEARCHED AND WROTE THIS ARTICLE IS A BRILLANT MIND AND I SINCERELY THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE SHARED WITH THE AFFECTED. I HAVE PERSONALLY SEEN AND LIVED THROUGH THE TOTAL MADNESS CREATED BY A PERSON CURSED WITH ADULT EMOTIONAL IMMATURITY. I DID NOT EVEN KNOW THE DISORDER OR CHARACTER FLAW HAD A NAME. IT SEEMS THE MORE EMOTIONALLY MATURE THE BALANCED ONE IS IN THE RELATIONSHIP THE MORE MADDENING IT BECOMES. YOUR CHARACTERIZATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE AEI PERSONA IS SO ABSOLUTE THAT I SWEAR I WROTE IT MYSELF. YOU HAVE PROVIDED A HUGE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT DESTROYED A SEEMING CARING AND LOVING RELATIONSHIP. I ONLY WISH THE PERSON HARMED HAD A CLUE WHAT WAS COMING, BUT THEN DECEPTION IS A POWERFUL SKILL. THANK YOU, PAUL

    • Paul, I am sure you helped her and influenced her more than you know. As she continues to heal she will be ever more grateful for the time you had together and regret the pain & heartache that was caused.

  3. Hsm,
    What an amazing article. An absolute mirror in every detail of my own experience with a woman i love.

    Dear Amanda, i have sent you the link in this article with hope in my heart that you will read it, accept it for what it is and make every available effort to seek the help that you so desperately need for the traumatic events that hve locked you in a state of emotional immaturity. Know that you are loved by your family, friends, your children and me. Even patrick still loves you i’m sure. David xxx

    • David

      Your words just brought tears to my eyes. You sound like a caring, loving & forgiving person. How blessed she is to have you in her life. I hope it all worked out well for you in the end.

  4. This article has been a great help in understanding my 22 year old child. It has been very difficult dealing with his immaturity. Everything that I’ve read here has been behavior I and his siblings have dealt with. It does make it hard to have a relationship with him, and we find ourselves literally walking on eggshells around him in an attempt to avoid issues. He feels like we are the one’s with the issues and he never takes accountability for his actions/behavior.

    Thank you again.

  5. This article had me completely gobsmacked. Because I felt like the author must have known my mother personally, and wrote it with her in mind. Of course this is not the case, but it just goes to show how truly accurate this account is of emotionally immature people.

    Thank you for spelling out word for word what I have been unable to put into words for so long. I knew something wasn’t right with my mum. I knew she often acted immature, unreasonable, selfish, manipulative and didn’t seem to have any social intelligence or awareness of her surroundings, but I didn’t know why. This article explains it perfectly. There is not a single sentence that is not 100% true for her behaviour.

    But my question is; how on earth does someone in a close relationship with an emotionally immature person manage? Is there any hope for a close family relative? Distancing oneself from a friendship is one thing, but what do you do if it is your own parent where cutting off the relationship is neither possible nor desirable? I love my mum and I want to still have a relationship with her (as frustrating as she can be), but I can’t keep putting up with the anxiety that it gives me either… Any tips?

    • The worst thing you can do with a family member like this is to give in to their dysfunction, whatever it may be. They won’t attempt to change their ways until they are faced with no other choice because right now, they are getting by just fine manipulating, bullying etc. Why change if it works for them? Remember, you can’t change a person. Only they can change themselves.

      What you can do is learn how to say “NO” to it. Work on your self. Change how you interact with them and do it only on your terms, not theirs. Don’t react to them if they are being irrational. Develop an arsenal of phrases like, “Look, I don’t want to discuss this anymore. Let’s talk about it another time when we’ve both calmed down.” or “Sorry, I’m not comfortable doing that.” or “It’s clear we don’t agree but we aren’t communicating effectively.” Another way to communicate is to simply state the facts. How they chose to respond is really up to them. It’s a good idea to write a few phrases and practice them so you have them at your disposal when necessary.

      Change will be very slow. Believe that changing how you respond to things will be the catalyst of change in how you are treated. So long as you behave like the adult in the room, you keep your dignity. Eventually, the other person will learn they cannot get their way acting like a child. After all of this, your relative may not change. Can you accept them for who they are?

    • Hello Sarah

      I do agree with you totally with the dilemma of not being able to severe a relationship that is so important to you but suffer emotional pain. I have learned to cope with people who are so close to me but cause me so much emotional pain. I try to identify my own contribution to the argument or pain. The first thing is to realize that we are different and have different perspective on how we see things in life, I try not force my world view point on others, I myself must become emotionally mature first, before blaming others that are not. I try not to raise issues that are sure to cause argument and controversies. I am still perplexed by how people get on at all, taking in account how diverse people are in terms of inbuilt capabilities, life experience, education and beliefs. We should be all thankful that we get along with others at all and not in constant conflicts. My motto is that I must possess a higher moral authority which entails forgiving others their faults and not seeking revenge for trivial issues which only perpetuate the cycle of emotional pain of not being loved or love others. Let us not fire others with our anger, but forgive those who have wronged us in reality or perceived and above all be kind to others. We have inbuilt capability to serve others and receive instant reward of having a feeling of being elated. We can win hearts only by having humility in accepting our faults and serve them with favors and waiting not for rewards. The rewards will surely come but might take time. Hope and faith are powerful forces that can initiate change but the only place we are guaranteed success is to change ourselves.

  6. Thank you so much for your advice. I will definitely work on this. I’m not sure she is capable of changing, but I will do my best to work on my own responses and reactions (and not allow her to make me feel guilty for standing my own ground) and hopefully things will improve over time. Thanks again.

  7. Dear author,

    Thank you for writing such a great article.

    Unfortunately, unlike the posters above, I feel im suffering from emotional immaturity.

    More often than not, i experienced what those you mentioned above, and i get the uncontrollable need to manipulate, ie. Become possessive in my relationship.

    Im 25 this year, and all the while I thought my root problem was being possessive, but it seems like theres a deeper underlying problem to this trait.

    Im a often self-reflective guy, and i know i have similar problems, but just couldnt find a better solution to adjusting my crocked mindset. I know how ugly it is when my emotions get unstable, and i agree with the posters above. I dont like the way i am, and i find myself digusted with myself at times.
    I was wondering if counselling might be an option for me?

    Would love to hear from you.

    Sincerely,

    jc

    • Possessiveness is not the issue. It’s a symptom of something deeper. A lot of insecurities are rooted in abandonment issues, but the best way to figure out what this is, is to do counselling. A good therapist will ask you questions that will enable you to see things from a different point of view. If you don’t feel super comfortable with them, then find one you do. They can only be effective if you are comfortable with them.

  8. I just want to thank you for this. As for sometime I would think it’s my fault the problems happen. I have learned so much from this.

  9. I have just left a very mentally draining relationship and feel my ex was definitely suffering with this mental illness of immaturity. I have been reading up on Narcissim also, which I noticed u have mentioned. My ex is only 32 but I really don’t know if he could be helped, he has major issues, I didn’t know people like him existed. Lieing cheating stealing manipulating and never ever takes responsibility for his actions, he says he is sorry but I don’t believe him, it’s just his way of manipulating me because he wants money or something, it actually scares me what he is capable of, he is claiming benefits for mental issues, which I genuinely believe he needs to be on because he can’t hold a job down and really needs counceling and psychiatric help, I want to help him because I know it’s due to mental illness and not his fault, but I’m scared because he dragged me down with him and has shattered my confidence. What should I do!

    • What can you possibly do? You can’t force him into counselling. He has to go, he has to apply himself, and he has to decide he wants to get well. You can’t do any of that for him.

      What you can do is get counselling for yourself. Anyone who has been involved with people like this will have their own issues to resolve.

      Ask yourself:

      1) Why did I get involved with someone like this?
      2) What were the signs early in the relationship and why did I ignore them?
      3) Why didn’t I leave sooner?

      There is a relationship between two parties and it kind of takes two to tango. It is often called rescuer and victim.

      Check out:
      http://www.heartspiritmind.com/relationships/codependency
      http://www.heartspiritmind.com/relationships/settling-in-relationships

  10. OMG! This article described to a T the relationship I just left after 3+ years. The relationship started intense from the start and move probably too fast. My ex gf is educated with a great career, but didn’t have many friends and was almost instantly clingy and needy from the beginning. She shared with me early on that she’d been sexually abused by a female HS coach. A counselor we saw together told me that she thought my ex gf’s emotional immaturity may have come from this event or from a lack of attachment with her mom. There were great things about our relationship, but then there was troubling emotional immaturity on her part that I couldn’t make sense of. She didn’t respect boundaries and often appeared to not have empathy for my feelings. She has three young kids that all have anxiety disorder and impulse control issues. They regularly had 3 year old meltdowns and it took a while for me to understand that they were modeling their mom. She would become emotionally dysregulated and would end up curling up in fetal position or going into a rage. The amount of emotional blackmail and abuse that I endured was crazy. It finally spiraled to her attempting to physically dominate me by not allowing me to leave rooms while she was emotionally abusing me. I came to understand this to be physical abuse no matter how you slice or dice it. Done. Game over. I’ve had to go no contact to have the space and time to begin my healing process. With the help of an outstanding counselor, I’m working through issues I carried into the relationship and with better aligning my logic, emotions and intuition to better help me make decisions to avoid such relationships in the future.

    I thought for a while that she is borderline or narcissistic. At the very least, she is emotionally immature and a class A manipulator. I hoped for change, but it was not to be. If you see the red flags early on that tell you that you may be with an emotionally immature person, don’t do it! Find a mature, like minded person who has the ability to have an emotionally intimate relationship. These people can’t and nothing change it.

  11. I love this article and can relate dealing with step daughter who thinks that every thing I say to her regarding her infant is out to get her and has gotten her boyfriend on her side who gets defensive with any question I ask regarding their baby as a simple one about how the baby is breastfeeding? She comes over to visit and stays for around six hours and doesn’t say a word the whole time, only way her dad and I know what’s going on in her life is if we ask questions but can’t ask too many otherwise sounds like an interrogation. her dad doesn’t see anything unfit about her when she’s around but if I get tired of it and act fed up he gets defensive, on her part, not mine and says I feel like I’m the victim. a hard situation with her but since she’s not held accountable for her behavior I feel she’ll continue to be emotionally immature for a long time. Oh I have a three year old who talks more than her and she will carry on a conversation with her which I think is odd but can’t carry on a conversation with adults. to me she is still a child even though her family feels otherwise, maybe it’s just me.

  12. I wish I would have stumbled upon this article 6 months ago. I met a woman, she apparently had noticed me a year earlier, I noticed her too but I didn’t do anything about it because I was in a relationship at the time. Anyway, she found me a year later and we started talking. I wanted to keep things simple and friendly but she quickly started expressing how much she liked me and how much she watched me in the past. She even told her ex about me which made the ex think her and I had a relationship while they were together. She called me at all hours of e night, text me all day and night. I admit, I loved her attention but she kept making excuses not to go out with me. Some I felt were valid, but being human and wanting to actually have the physical presence I often asked her to go out with me. She refused at first then one night wanted to come see me (in her exes car that she failed to tell me she still lived with) I told her no because I didn’t feel ready at that moment, I had been asleep, needed to brush my teeth. Basically I was feeling self conscious. She was disappointed but got over it. Often she would tell me she was going out and her friends wanted her to invite me but she wouldn’t. She’d say she wanted to be alone with me, yet she refused to let me take her out. She started talking to me about her ex a lot, and how her ex was obligated to do whatever she wanted her ex to do. I thought that was wrong, but who was I to tell her what’s right and wrong. At one time she told me I should have talked to her when we saw each other before, that things would be different now and that we could have had a romance, I was disturbed by that because she was in a relationship at that time. But blindness prevails. Some minutes she was taking about how much she adored me, missed me, liked me… Some minutes she was asking me if I felt we were setting ourselves up for failure. She always seemed to want me to agree with her fears and feelings. I liked her, that’s what I knew. Was I scared? Of course. But I wasn’t going to let my fear chase me away. I guess I should have let it. Eventually she backed off when her ex got too jealous but kept texting and calling with little “I miss you’s” “I want to be with you” “I can’t stop thinking of you” and the moment I reciprocated, BAM! I was pressuring her. When I ignored her, I was being mean and making her restless. Idid get to see her, twice (a grand total of an hour and a half in a parking lot). So in time I became frustrated by her and naturally started shutting down or snapping at her. She would text me at odd hours saying she wanted to see me but fell asleep, I would ask her to see me during the day but suddenly she had to do laundry. Finally she shut me out when a drunk friend of mine saw her out with her ex and took pictures. I was upset at my friend for doing that, I wasn’t even there when it happened but the girl said we were done because of it, she also said we were done because I couldn’t handle her need for space. Whaaaatttt the fuuuug? I just wanted dinner, that was all. So I’ve been pretty messed up by it all, wondering where I went wrong, but I guess it wasn’t me. She’s just got a lot of growing up to do.

  13. I have been to this site more than five time to read this article. I am still in shock of how dead on this article is concerning the father of my child. Everything down to the last word is him. We are both 27 ten days apart with me being the oldest with one child together. Its has been a struggle to get threw to him about how his action really hurt people. And I just cant deal with his childish, disrespectful, hostile ways anymore. I am to the point to where I want to pack my daughter and I up and move to a different state just so I want have to deal with him. So my question is how to deal with an emotional immature person when you have a child with them. Would family counselling help or is it best to just run. Oh yeah he also abuse weed and alcohol to.

    • Trust and believe I understand you totally. I am going through it now with my son’s father. He is 33 and I am 37 so it is a struggle regardless of your age. I would definitely recommend counseling. We have not been becasue I can’t get through to his emotionally immature self for him to understand that is what is needed.

  14. I am just wondering on how someone would actually start to grow emotionally?

    • Some people never grow up. It depends on how fixed their ideas are, and how much they are willing to do the work to change themselves. It’s a process that takes hard work and a good therapist.

  15. have grown with a hoard of them from mother to all siblings and exes.
    dont blame me.have dumped all of the.didnt know what else to do.

  16. fantastic piece

  17. I just wanted to thank you for this very concise and informative article about emotionally immature people. I have had a very troubled relationship with my mother for four decades, often internalizing my anger and frustration to my own detriment. I cannot express thoroughly enough how much your words have helped me come to terms with why she is the way she is.

    Thank you.

  18. Thank you so much for this brilliant article. I felt you were talking about my mother in law!
    Unfortunately, her daughter (my wife) has ‘inherited’ many of these traits. We have 2 kids together and there’s no way I would leave my wife because of her AEI.
    Instead, I have been trying to explain what you have mentioned here to her, and I occasionally would succeed for few days before things go back the same old way.
    Her submissive dad has definitely contributed heaps to this problem decades before I met my wife.
    For my wife, I am a ‘nightmare’ when it comes to standing my grounds, discussing/”arguing” for hours, providing evidence from life, Bible, tradition etc, and exposing her and her mum’s shortcomings, and I think that just keeps me going!

  19. Unlike most readers, I read this article and kept finding (thankfully not to strong) resemblances to myself. Ouch. I have struggled all my life to be as mature emotionally as my peer group, and I have always lagged by a few years, never able to quite catch up with their maturity. And, despite all my effort, I have never been able to reconcile myself to some aspects of so-called civilization with grace. Why do we burn so much fossil fuel rather than implement world-class public transportation? Why do we waste so much plastic and send it to landfill? Why do we have so much disdain for people in other lands? When I spoke about these things to my emotionally mature peer group, they gave me pitying looks and gently tell me to grow up and move along. So I did, but I seem to be no happier. But at least I know well enough not to bother anyone with these thoughts.

    • Those thoughts illustrate intellectual maturity and care about things beyond yourself. That seems mature to me.

      • I care about these things too EI. Most of my friends don’t find me immature, infact I inspire people. Perhaps its your friends that lack the maturity not you. Or perhaps its the way you deliver these subjects. I try not to be pushy with my ’causes’. Food for thought….

    • I think your friends lack emotional maturity. Caring for the planet that sustains us and is the reason for our existence is immature?

      I think you should start spending time with like-minded people. If everybody continues to use plastic and fossil fuel without regard, the world will be a nightmarish place by 2050.

      Keep believing in the things that you care about. All the best

  20. I’m so glad I found this page! Unfortunately I’m going through the same thing with my partner of over 11years. I don’t know why I didn’t find clarity on it sooner I guess I had my own issues & as I’ve wholeheartedly been working through my issues now I can see his so much more clearly! I don’t know what to do anymore nothing works nothing gets through to him it’s like talking to a brick wall. His immaturity is causing him so much pain but he won’t do a thing about it except blame me or everyone else or anything else. He is so selfish so self involved that for 3 weeks I’ve felt like I’m invisible to him! I don’t feel loved or needed & it’s made me cold & distant. He’s obviously noticed this & it’s made things even worse! & now everything’s even more so my fault in his eyes! It all started cos I said my needs weren’t being met. I feel like I’m in a living hell…alone! I only have his family for support & so I can’t talk to them. & because we recently got en
    gaged their all proud of him cos they think he’s chNged & grown up…he hasn’t! I’m out of ideas I’ve loved him since I was 13 almost 20 years it hurts that my feelings my needs don’t matter

    • Kylie,
      I know exactly how you feel. I have been with my husband for 15 years. Not sure why it has taken me so long to realize his immaturity. Love truly is blind sometimes. Although, I must say, he has a lot of mature qualities. His main immaturity is when things don’t go his way and I don’t agree with his point of view. I accept that is how he is, but I must say, it is extremely challenging and I am becoming drained. Counseling is definitely out. He doesn’t need counseling. I’m the one who is “always miserable”. I’ve thought about going myself but haven’t. I’ve got a couple of close friends and they help keep me strong and grounded. I am a peace keeper. I don’t like confrontation or drama. I guess that makes me the “enabler”. Right now he is ignoring me and my first instinct is to fix it. So I either confront him tonight and get his issue out on the table or I let him continue his silent treatment. I haven’t decided on my course of action yet. Guess it will depend on what I am dealing with when I get home. Tired of walking around on eggshells. Good luck with your situation and no you are not alone!

  21. Hi, Thanks for the article.

    I am in the process of reavaluating my 8 year relationship.

    More the one friend has referred to him as immature. I am currently full time renovating the house we are meant to be moving into. Unexpectantly I have found myself questioning him. I am in very male environment with the reno and somehow during this have come to see the type of man I really want vs the type of man I have.

    He nearly put me into and $80,000 debt last year. He still justifies defrauding the govt. He and I are lucky all he has to do is repay the money with no interest are criminal charges.

    When my Mum was dying 5 years ago he wan’nt there 100%. This hurt me. There are many other things as well.

    I’m not perfect but somehow I seem to e gaining courage to make the change. It will hurt him but I don’t want to be old on my rocking chair regretting being brave in my life.

    Thanks.

  22. Thank you for this. My girlfriends dad thinks i’m emotionally immature but has never met me. Is being sensitive a sign of immatureness.

  23. my half sister is emotionally immature and I had to cut all ties with her, she’s too much and that is not what I want in my life. Thanks for the article.

  24. Thank you, you have just helped me on the way to come to terms with losing someone I cared for very much. His decision, but it explains a lot of his actions which I couldn’t fathom at the time and have had many sleepless nights over.His emotional immaturity explains the moodiness and unexplained shunning I’ve been on the receiving end of. He did say he had a problem with alcohol. I now realise his problem is not a minor issue and has deep seated effects. I just hope he becomes the man I know he wants to be.

  25. Wow! This was so “right on” in regards to my husband of 21 frustrating years…there are times when his “inner child” comes out, and I feel like I am dealing with a spoiled 5-yo…this artical was very helpful, not only in understanding his behavior, but also on helping me understand how to respond…
    THANK YOU!

  26. Certain traits mentioned above have been pointed in me by my boyfriend. I react very easily, without thinking and have low tolerance of anger. My ego always gets the best of me. We would argue for hrs, until finally I admit my mistake and apologise. But not before long, we would again argue the same way over petty issues. Our fights are repetitive and frustrating. I want to rise above this and develop emotional maturity. It is tough, and I want to do this for my peace of mind. I cant afford the services of a therapist, but I could use some help.

  27. Some people never grow up emotionally. Often they just get worse. It seems that as the body ages, so does the mind. Frailties become more pronounced, particularly when immaturity is overlapped by other issues such as NPD or BPD, as it often is. Rather than growing emotionally, they can actually regress and lose whatever ability they had of controlling their juvenile outbursts.

  28. My husband and I have just accepted that our 25 year old daughter is a classic example of emotional immaturity.
    It took us some time as she has had unfortunate things to deal with in her life and she is a master at using theses and an anxiety disorder to justify and/or explain her behavior
    In hind sight I believe she is her own worst enemy and has consciously or unconsciously played me particularly in buying her victim identity.
    It comes down to her assuming responsibility for her life
    We have not spoken for 4 days now as the last time we spoke she was raging about another issue at work she felt she was being unfairly treated .
    When I didnt agree with her perception she had a "temper tantrum" and left.
    I know in her mind she has twisted things and I was cruel, unsupported her etc.
    I have always given in when she pulls this because I worry etc.
    This time I am not – I had already told her a few days before that I felt she was emotionally immature and that I knew I had enabled her and that I would no longer do so.
    She needs to be responsible for herself, her choices and how she treats her parents.
    It is so incredibly hurtful though as I know she is aware how much she is hurting us —– I can just keep reminding myself we are doing the right thing
    Actually should have done it long ago

  29. Thanks for sharing this topic.
    This is totally me and I would like to fix.. I always feel like I want to fix this problem, but when something happened I am totally blind from everything and I can just see only my point of view. Although I have been try to remember (to not act like this). But I am still not sure how I can fix it…

  30. Great and well said article! It had pin pointed what I am dealing with in my husband. We have been married for two and a half years and the immaturity only seems to be getting worse instead of better. Thank you for the enlightenment and I’m trying to stick with him in hopes of his maturity…however only God will get us through. #stayingpositive

  31. Article over emotionally immature man….

  32. I have several family members who fit this pattern. I’ve noticed the most pronounced behaviors include:

    1. Not taking responsibility for their misdeeds…blaming others and denying culpability.
    2. Passive aggressive behavior to vent anger and revenge when life, due to their own poor choices, has gone awry.
    3. Crazymaking behaviors which include lying or twisting the truth AND portraying themselves as the victim and the healthy more mature person as the victimizer of THEM. They are skilled at forever being the victim!

    These are toxic folks who are skilled at infecting others with guilt, anger, and fear. Run and let them lie in the crappy beds that THEY made!

    Great article that highlights very well the patterns of emotionally stunted individuals. Thank you.

  33. I’m dealing with a very immature person. I thought that their selfishness would change, but it hasn’t:( This person doesn’t understand the true meaning of friendship, so I can’t expect them to understand anything that has to do with friendship. I feel empathetic towards that person and wish them luck in life, but know they will never truly function in life until they deal with their lies, selfishness and ignorance. I pray for them and keep it pushing.
    #immaturityisignorance

  34. I’ve been stuck with someone for 13 years and it’s getting worse. Yesterday, she walk out on a job of 8 years because “everyone out to get her.” According to her, the coworkers are mostly to blame and I’m partly to blame since I’m not available enough to listen to her complain (and that’s all she ever does – doesn’t matter that I get up at 3:30 to go to work so I’m there for the kids after school). She has no desire to participate in any school events – she never met the teachers this year. Just shoots down everyone. NO desire to do any activity with the kids. Same excuses. “I work full time,” I have work around the house (honestly, she does laundry and nothing else – I do all the cooking, shopping and much of the cleaning).” When she does anything, all she does is complain how nobody else does anything except her.

    I like my job and love spending time with the kids, so a 16 hour day is pretty normal but my attitude is they’re only young once so you have to enjoy. Last week at a family vacation, with her father gravely ill, she had to argue with her sisters about who gives care. “It’s my turn.” She actually made it a point to make sure he knew she didn’t throw out the leftover soup he wanted for lunch. Everything that happens to her is always someones fault but never hers. She’s angry because she doesn’t live in a $800,000 house (we live in the “slums” in a $650,000 home). She doesn’t drive a Lexus to her admin assistant job (which isn’t an issue as of yesterday). She won’t get help. Instead, she self medicates with alcohol, which only makes it worse. I’ve learned to cope by being involved with the kids and hobbies and it’s been a blessing to spend so much time with them and be involved in their activities. When they leave for college, I leave. It’s not hard to deal with now because of so many other activities, but if it’s just her, there’s no point to letting her drag me down.

    If you’re not tied to one of these immature people, don’t think that it gets better. It doesn’t. If they don’t want to help themselves, it only gets worse. Look for signs. She has no friends. Everything is about her. You’re job is to please her (which I learned early on, is impossible). Her family is more important than yours. If she makes a sacrifice for you, like going to dinner with your friends, it’s not without a lot of complaining and whining.

    • A situation nearly identical to this took me into a tailspin and was the driving factor for creating this site. The only thing I want to say about this post is this:

      Think of your own mental health and stability. You compromise it every single day.

      Think of the example you set for your children. They will marry a spouse exactly like your wife. Do you want them to live like that, repeat the cycle over again.

      I would seek out personal therapy to help you regain a piece of yourself, which I’m sure has been taken from you. Once you are finally away from her, you will understand just how damaging this is to you. You need time away to really get a true perspective. It’s much worse than it feels to you today because you are living in it. When you are away, you will finally say to yourself, HOLY F#&k!

  35. Wow spot on! I just realised after one year together that this is why my partner is like this! I have some big decisions to make…

  36. This article is empowering for me! After reading it, I feel like the hell I lived in wasn’t me at all…. I married and lived with the person described in that article. The drama never ended…. the tears and emotional manipulation were constant. the expectations were unreasonable… and as stated in the article, I thought I could help him! There is no way in hell you can help someone who is emotionally immature, they are always steps in front of you. They make decisions that are irrational and then, you are in their emotional roller-coaster! I am so happy to be free of the ups and downs, the unstable life. I never felt safe with him, he always seemed to be just out of reach. His love in life was money, and he made damn sure that he took every cent or possession away from me that he could. He’s a fantastic liar, and actually had the police in the area convinced that I was harassing him and threatening him… they were calling me constantly! I had to file a complaint in order to stop being what I called “legally harassed through the police dept.”. He spun the most fantastic Web, told the most fantastic stories, and I suffered, suffered and suffered some more. While selling our house, he hired his lawyer’s sister as his real estate representative … and when we got an offer on the house… he tracked down the agent for the purchaser, and stated dating her!! Control is paramount to the emotionally immature! So, if you’re reading this, and you think you may be in a relationship with someone who is emotionally immature… take my advise… Get OUT while you still have your sanity… they will take every and anything they can from you.

  37. I will give an example of just how skewed their thinking is… this true life event still haunts me….
    My daughter was severely injured in a ATV accident on Mother’s day years ago. She and my husband’s son were driving together. The atv flipped over onto my daughter, crushing her face and chipping a vertebrae, fracturing her pelvis and so on and so on…. She was in the trauma unit and stayed there for a week. Due to seriousness of her injuries, she had a social worker come in and see her through rehabilitation. So, the insurance company is involved and my daughter was receiving money for physio therapy, prescription drugs etc…. I forgot to mention that his son actually picked the ATV up off of my daughter.. which I am forever grateful for…. But, when my ex found out that my daughter was receiving money for medical benefits, he said “Don’t you think she should shoot him some money? I mean if he didn’t pick that machine off of her, she wouldn’t be here to collect anyway”. ! That is how the emotionally immature person thinks!

  38. I feel so enlightened after reading this. This is written so clearly and it makes sense out of the craziness I lived with. I was married 20 years to a man that blamed everyone, was condescending to us, jealous of me/children’s small successes or achievements, selfish, irrational, etc. I did go to a counselor 3 yrs into the marriage, but I made the decision to stay as my first divorce had been so ugly and hard on me. I regret that decision, but I cannot change anything now. I have been divorced 6 years and still recovering from the effects of his behavior. Our daughters are too, they just have not fully realized it yet. However, they both know something is not right with him, we just did not have the words to put to it. Emotional immaturity and some NPD.

    I want to say how I ended up marrying this man so other will be more aware. My first husband hooked up with his older secretary and moved in with her. He actually wanted both of us, but I could not agree to that. I divorced him. The other woman and my ex husband then dragged me through the courts trying to destroy me and make me look bad. It ended up the other way and they looked very bad. Lots of emotional toll for me and money all because of their irrational behavior. I did counseling, and worked on me, building up my self esteem and self confidence, but I was still pretty weak. About 1.5 years go by and I met my soon to be 2nd husband. I did not want to get married, I did not need to, I had a job, a house, I was financially independent, and working on me. However, he was needy and kept working on me, wearing me down, eroding my new weak self confidence. I did not realize it, he was grooming me for his control. I often question if he knew what he was doing, or it was just his nature, I honestly do not know. He had me married to him in 7 months of meeting me (that is a red flag right there). He continued to wear me down, I kept trying harder and harder to do right, but it was never enough. He could not be pleased, he had to have his way or he through a tantrum. My mental health deteriorated. His behavior got uglier and more abusive. Both I and the girls got the mental abuse and physical abuse from his uncontrolled anger. When I finally left it was my youngest daughter saying she did not understand why I stayed and that I would never leave. I was afraid. Afraid to stay, afraid to leave. But I did leave, only regrets that I did not leave sooner.

    I’m still recovering emotionally from the damage he caused. I am wiser, learning so much more about life than ever dreamed i would. So thankful to have read this article as it pulls together so many fragments of what was wrong in the relationship and why it just could not work out. Thank you for writing this.

  39. thank you very much for this article – it is both illuminating and terrifying to read and recognise much of my own behaviour in your description of someone with AEI. I see how my behaviour upsets and hurts those closest to me like my mother and boyfriend but I genuinely struggle to reign in my actions and immature words. I’ve tried therapy and found it to actually indulge my self-centredness rather than reducing it. Are there any practical tips to overcoming emotional immaturity as I don’t want to irreparably damage the relationships I have now.

    Thank you in advance,

    LW

    • Laura, That’s an article to itself. Self-Discipline is one important aspect. Practice compassion and humility. Do things that build your own self-confidence so that you are less likely to be triggered by fear or insecurity. That’s a start.

  40. Thanks so much for this article. My wife has this problem and it is driving our marriage down the drain.
    I have always tried to be the sober one but I realize my patience is getting drained too. At times I think am the one on the wrong but sooner or later, it becomes clear. You can’t have a meaningful conversation with her. She’s too careless that she drops n breaks utensils, she doesn’t feed our son well, and when asked why, she gets mad n blames me for not loving her. To her am the one who should change and leave my friends so her insecurity can stop. I have tried to bring her along to most meetings with friends. She either would refuse to go or spoil the whole thing by staying away from the gathering or looking bored n wanting to leave. As we speak we just came from hospital n our one yr old has TB. The doctor said his immunity is very low which I know is from poor feeding. When she doesn’t want to do something, she’ll complain of backache which I’ve realized is a lie. This is because I took her to hospital to be checked n when she got booked for ex ray she refused to go after paying for it.
    She never wants me to go anywhere she’s not present. She can refuse to go to church just because am not around. I fear she’s passing this unreasonable behavior to our son. Am thinking of visiting a therapist but I think she needs a separate session. If anyone can suggest a a helpful way I’ll appreciate.
    Thanks

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