Heart, Spirit & Mind

Relationships with emotionally immature people


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.


  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.

    • If you are close to an emotionally immature person–I know it gets frustrating -but like you would for a child you your self could try to set a good example.


    • 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.

    • Morgan,

      I am so there with you!, for me is my daughter, and it has come to the point where, if I hear she’s home, I just feel anxious because I know there will be something, whatever it is, that will set her off!, yet she thinks she’s absolutely right and we just “wrong-doing”

    • It sounds a bit like me- your child I mean- well, back in the day! I have matured ever so much now, thanks to my Asperger’s Therapist, who saw it as a necessary step for my parents to go on frequent holidays, in order that I learn to cope in the real world! I think this has helped- today they went to Cornwall and I found myself being more open with people since they left this morning! Literally!

      I even spoke to some men who turned up at the Homeless Concern place, where in the past I would never have spoken to someone I did not really know! I realised I am able to cope with conversation and maturity! Asking appropriate questions and that kind of thing!
      However, it has been a roller coaster of a ride- luckily I have befriended a lady who in some ways has more problems than me and for once I have had to help someone else out- I even bathed her in my house! She was incredibly emotional at the time and going through difficult times with her neighbours! I found myself counselling her, where before I would never have even deemed it possible…..I think my parents liked me acting the baby, perhaps because of their own immaturity (especially my dad). However, my philosophy is that if we change a little , those around us will have an incentive to do so also!

      The moodiness you describe- I know too well…..The Asperger’s diagnosis showed me that I have difficulty developing relationships because the empathising brain is at a loss with the analytical strengths of Asperger’s!

  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.

      • These statements is so powerful! I agree whole heartedly. What a blessing to have this type of understanding, and yes we can only work on ourselves. Harboring unforgiveness is detrimental to ones health, it’s so powerful when we can admit and identify our own faults, and have a desire to work on them in a positive way. I am learning more now about myself, now that I am older (over 50 years) then I did in my younger years. Thanks to God, and it’s better late than never. I learned it’s also important to love yourself and to not be so hard on yourself when you make mistakes, but to keep an open positive mind. By staying positive it can help others around you, and hopefully it can help any emotional immature person or people we have encountered in our lives. I have dealt with emotional immuture individuals, and all the comments and this article has really helped me now to appreciate and think how to make sue that I am not portraying any emotional immuture behaviors, that goes back to what you stated to work on one’s self. I sometimes get so overwhelmed, I found out the best way to handle confusion sometimes is to don’t say anything, so you won’t say the wrong things, by this I am so thankful.

  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.



    • 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:

  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!

    • 2+ years later but what you wrote about your wife having a submissive father is something I can identify with although on the flip side. My bf grew up with a submissive mother so has no idea respect for a strong independent woman like myself. It makes me question why these people chose someone who they would never be compatible with?
      The article even mentioned that these emotionally immature people are better off with someone who will go along with whatever they want so why chose us? Is hoping they can control and dominate part of the appeal?

  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.


  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…

  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.

  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,


    • 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.

  41. How would an emotionally immature person react if I linked them this article to read?

  42. I am from a family who will never discuss issues, you are verbally attacked sometimes even physically just when you dare to have a mature point of view. I have decided that I do not like my family because they are all unhealthy controllers and deny any accountability for their actions. You are screamed at or personally insulted and best of all the Bible is used to show you(according to them) the error of your ways.

    • JCH -At least you recognize there is a problem with them and not with you. It’s harder to just get up and leave when you are a child, for obvious reasons. Talk to someone you trust. There is NO excuse for emotional or physical abuse! If you are old enough to leave, I recommend you do so. Don’t ever compensate to conform to their unhealthy actions.

  43. Thank you so much for this article. Could you please suggest a book that can help provide tips to overcome this emotional immaturity.
    Much appreciated

  44. Like other readers, I am grateful for this article and found that it brought illumination and clarity to a situation from my own life. Unlike other commenters, my situation is in the workplace. A coworker, while valued and appreciated nonetheless, creates a difficult dynamic due to what is, I think, emotional immaturity. Would you have any advice for managing an emotionally immature employee?

  45. Thank you for this article, it does a great job explaining the signs and symptoms of Emotional Immaturity.

    The article could be more useful if it included what causes Emotional Immaturity, and what to do when someone close to you exhibits signs of Emotional Immaturity.

    Emotional Immaturity is often caused by parents splitting up, children finding fame, or some other major life-changing event a child may experience. The child will cope with the situation in the best way they know how, and how they cope is determined by the child’s age and experiences.

    In the case of a loss, there may be more suffering than the child can handle, the child dissociates that part of them self, the part that hurts, and remains “stuck” at that age. In many cases it is easier for the child to not revisit those painful memories and so this reinforces the dissociation, stunting further development. When the pain is revisited in adult hood, through a trigger of some kind, the person will react at the age-level when the pain was first experienced. In an effort to prevent such triggers, an adult may compensate by overly controlling the environment and people around them.

    In the case of child fame, a child receives allot of attention. It’s easy for the child to get their own way, and others enable and reinforce this behavior by feeding the selfish, narcissistic side of the child. The child feels good all the time because they always get their own way and they don’t learn what to do when things go wrong. As the person grows up they find out that bad things happen but they don’t know what to do about them. They react as if they were the age when they first experienced fame (take Britney Spears for example). This may lead to a temper tantrum (or head shaving). These reactive behaviors can be manageable when the child is 5 years old, however these behaviors can be quite upsetting or even dangerous in the case of a full grown adult.

    I’m not excusing the actions of an Emotionally Immature adult, however a positive environment will welcome room for change. The road to recovery starts when you first recognize and admit there is a problem. Understand why you are behaving and reacting the way you are. There is professional help for people who have suffered childhood trauma. Talk to someone you trust. Not everyone who is Emotionally Immature is a lost cause.

    • There is a huge difference between someone who is emotionally immature and a full-fledged personality disorder which is touched upon in Natalia’s post. This blog has not discussed Borderline Personality or Narcisssm, both is emotional immaturity taken to a new level. (also bandied around flippantly.)

      There are many factors that can contribute to a person growing up to be immature for their age. Sometimes it only manifests itself in certain limited situations, and with other people, it may be prevelent in all areas of their life. Traumatic experiences during childhood are only one issue. There is also attachment issues and temperment. Temperment makes the difference between one person having a serious disorder and another person in the circumstance being just fine.

  46. I need help!. I’ve been married for about almost 2 years. I think my wife is emotionally immature. Every time we have an argument, the first thing she does is walk away, meaning she doesn’t want to talk about the problem or talk about finding a solution. Personally i think that the best way is to talk about our differences, and try to find a solution for it. Whenever there is an argument, she rather be alone then trying to find a solution or says we will talk later about this. I give her the space she needs, but then i tried to talk to her again, she listens for 5 minutes and the same thing happens. She doesn’t want to listen or talk anymore. She gets upset, mad of almost everything. She says she’s not happy in the marriage because she has no money to buy clothes, or a new car, that everything she earns is to pay bills. We own a house, but she says she would rather live in an attic or basement, and have money to buy stuff. Whenever we have an argument, even if its something small, she would make a huge scene, and threatening me of getting a divorce. She is young, 23 years old and i’m 25 years old. She says shes not happy because, she wants to go party all the time, and she can’t because she’s married and has responsibilities. I dont know what can i do to make our marriage work.

  47. Wow and Wow I feel so bad about my life right now. I feel in love with an emotional man. He delivers unlimited storms seem like one after the other. Lord what am I missing in my own life. I have been faithful to this man. About three years ago he was sent to prison I grew emotionally drained and decided to move on with my life. I really love this man but all he does is drain me out. He recently was released and we talked things over. We decided to get married this month and I thought things was going to work out. Well he decides to play mind games and tell me the day he was released he was picked up by someone he met while in prison and that they had been intimate and she is now pregnant. I don’t know what to do about this immature man that I love so much that it is ripping me apart because he has this emotional monster that has and will continue to be a problem. This article help me see something’s about myself I need to run and don’t look back. I pray that I will overcome falling for emotional monsters. Be Safe Everyone.

  48. WOW, I feel this is the reason why I haven’t been having a stable relationship for so many years. I am 32!!!

    This article is well written. Is there any hope for me to change?

  49. Thank you for the great article. It brought me a peace of mind, and I realize that I should accept the very friend of mine who suits all the criteria above, and at the same time maintain caution as to not let myself be dragged into her negative, immature behavior. It is hard, I would want to leave, but since i’m a quiet person and I don’t have other close friends, i’ll have to stick with her and let time and nature of the relationship takes it flow. Perhaps, one day, i’d be free from her and meet other people. Perhaps it is my insecurity that i’m afraid to leave her now which means i’m somewhat immature too. But i’ll have to forgive myself, forgive her, and go on with it. Or do anyone have suggestions?

  50. Hi! Very nice article. After reading this article Could relate it to myself and realised that iam an emotional immature person. Was not able to digest but its fact.
    Its a good job by publishing an aticle on the behaviour of emotional immaturity. But would be great if you can help out by guiding ways how to come out of it . I want to correct myself

  51. Brilliant article and absolutely true! Thank you

  52. I can totally see my daughter here, she is so immature, she is 25 yet she expects me to cook, clean, have her at home rent-free, ..I mean everything as if she’s still 6 years old yet she feels entitle to do what she pleases, come and go, party all night, bring her BF overnight and I can’t say pip to her because she is an adult. I keep telling her, yes, ok then find your own place, which then turns to be a “bad mother” because I “kick her out”!!, told her there are rules, this is my house, and oh boy!, the drama…the drama.., I’m so feed up with the drama!!,
    II’m selling my house and moving into a one bedroom just so she cant live with me any longer, like I told her, if you dont move, then I will move!!,

    I’ve asked her several time to go get councelling but she thinks she’s right, (and that, of course, it is all my fault), so, any advise on how to help her?, I am so feed up I’m ready to keep my distance, but any ideas/comments would be welcomed.
    Thank you.

  53. Thank you so much for sharing this article. I have read it three times as I am currently trying to get over someone I recently let go for the very reasons in this article. It has been hard for me to let go because I noticed a lot of ambivalence in him. There were times when he would admit that he needed to grow up in relational matters and then he would always revert back to old ways and then when confronted, start blaming or out right denying the issue. He would make mature statements about what is required in a mature relationship but couldn’t consistently back it up in action. I felt torn because my love for him wanted to wait it out and stick with him but where do you draw the line? The personal comments on this site from people who say how hard it is to change this helps a bit. But we are over 30 years old. It just seems that waiting around for it would be futile.

    This article really helped me put things into perspective and although it doesn’t change the fact that I am disappointed and heartbroken that things couldn’t be different, it does help me logically recognize that there is nothing I could do. Thanks again.

  54. Thanks for this. Like all of the commenters I also truly had my eyes opened. For years I have been struggling with my wife and just couldn’t understand why she bah aves like she does. I honestly think god made me stumble upon this article. I know what I’m up against and why my wife behaves the way she does now. I am also scared by some of the comments that it’s sometimes not curable. We have two young kids who need both of us soo much right now. Hence I connot afford to sever this relationship now.I have sent this article to my wife and hope she gets herself to a councilor. Pls pray for me

  55. Just read this article now after writing a blog about my experience with an emotionally mature man. You nailed it! Thanks for writing it. So good I had to share it!

  56. Sorry correction emotionally immature…maybe he’ll grow up with me letting go so he can find his way and he’ll be emotionally mature one day 😃

  57. I have been in a relationship with an emotionally immature man for 4 years. It’s been hell to be frank. He bullies to get his own way, is completely selfish and blames everyone but himself. Most frustrating , lonely place to be. Time to reclaim my life.

  58. What an incredible article. Thank you for providing insight into this type of individual. When I got married I had no idea what I was getting into. (I was raised in a unstable family and didn’t know what a healthy relationship/balance was.) I am married to this type of person and all these years I thought there was something wrong with me but realized a couple years ago that it was not all me and that his mother and sister share this same trait at a toxic level. (Our children see this but I stay strong and consistently teach them to own up to their actions and to see things through.) At this point I’m at a crossroads, I think I’ll stay at the crossroads for a while until I figure things out. A thousand times thank you, I will consistently refer back to this article for strength.

  59. What a great and insightful article but sadly it made me me cry. It has made me come to the conclusion that my husband (and father of our 9 year old son) is very emotionally immature. I have wanted a separation for quite a while now but have no idea how to go about it since I will not be dealing with a mature, rational person.. I feel trapped and suffocated and my heart aches for my son.

  60. Hi, this is definitely me. Lol. I will try and begin to change myself starting now!

  61. Wow, that was very informative. I always knew this about some family members (that they had to be emotionally immature) , but I also learned some things that has shown new light on certain situations w/ other people. It’s nice to know this phenomenon has a name (emotional immaturity) , and I always wondered why some people were this way ( in their thinking).

  62. I have my children’s mother(J) who I jus reconciled with 2 yrs ago, I at first didn’t want to be w but having now 14,son & 10 daughter which at the time I missed so much Bt didn’t see for 3 yrs due to me moving to another city.i didn’t even attempt to visit since J was a liar cheating manipulative person n when I finally chose to go visit my children,J acted as if she missed me so much & mentioned that prayer was all she did. When I left my hometown &family I gave my all to following Gods word & when J told me bout reading Gods word, I felt God was guiding us or me to reconciliation w J bt for the past 2 years its been pure infidelity lies yet so convincing that I’ve caught her emailing guys fornicating talking a lot on the phone &keeps telling me its her sister mother or brother.I know J lies to me &has a violent behavior that I always end up getting strucked in the face. We just purchased a home together &has been great bcuz I work so much I see her a few hrs a day.im always trying to be work to pay for bills which I pay mostly & J helps me only bcuz I told J that its both our house & J need to help me pay the mortgage. j works very few hrs & goes out a few times biweekly &drinks &I can’t even go out w her to anyplace ourselves unless its w kids &us. J blames me for every negative action J does &I’m not allowed to do anything I need to for me bt spend time w kids bt kids do what they do,tv,games,play, I usually more w daughter &my son tells mama things that makes J get mad at me &belittles or talks w profanity &says that’s why she don’t have sex w me cuz she hates cuz I never spend time w her.i tell her I work &when I’m not im fixing something in our home or our cars.I’m overwhelmed by her ways.i don’t want to be w j anymore bt I feel w just began this roller coaster ride called marriage or living in sin. Before we got together J would tell me she wanted to get married& be a family & have more kids which hasn’t happened at all.i can’t go on living w someone as this bt I don’t want to leave my children again. I repeatedly tell J I love her which at times I don’t feel it bt I read Gods word &get uplifted &I act forgiving bt III m scared for something physically to happen &I feel cornered.boohoo.my children know when we argue J somehow thinks its ok to let children know of our discussion.J speaks to me &children w profanity which I act why she speaking w such words I never get a response.At first J said for us to get counseling bt always has an excuse.I get counseling from christian preachers daily.i get uplifted bt i feel i jus turn the next cheek.im confused &is it right to leave her w children when children want to go w her n not me bt tell me not to leave mama n I say i never will.i forgive J bt I’m human too n i feel lonely rejected deceived belittled mocked n laughed at n i ignore this thinking bt it creeps up on me.

  63. Very helpful article !

    Sadly many of us have been involved with emotionally immature, overly self-absorbed, narcissitic others.

    Myself included. From birth actually…

    I loved this response made to another poster (with 3 great questions to ask ourselves) :

    “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.

    To answer the 3 questions, in my own case, regarding the person who caused me the most trauma :

    1. She gave birth to me, so my options for escape were very limited. At least until I turned 18.

    2. I saw signs from a very early age (her spitting in my Dad`s face 3 times, goading him to hit her so she could call the police and play the role of victim).
    – I didn`t ignore the signs. Again, my options as a small child were very limited.

    3. I left at 18 by joining the military. But, out of a sense of obligation and with some hope that she would improve and grow as a person, I maintained a relationship with her (sent money home, phone calls, regular visits when I had vacation days, etc.)

    With hindsight being 20/20, I would have cut ties completely at age 18. If I had a time machine to go back and do it over again, that is the choice I would make. Too late now, the damage has already been done and I am still dealing with issues she helped create in my psyche.

    This article gave me a lot of insight though, and I thank the writer sincerely.

  64. I feel so much better after reading this article and the replies. My 26 year old adopted daughter is a poster child for this disorder. I truly wish when she was a child I had sought help in dealing with her issues, which I really never understood until I read a book called “Primal Wound” about abandonment. She has never really dealt with issues even though she has seen therapists since high school. Now she is back living with us in an apartment in the basement of our home after sabotaging a two year live in relationship with a really good guy. She has never been able to be alone. And is self absorbed, and always has been. I pray she makes some break through with present therapist. I am unable to help as she really doesn’t want my help. And she is now an adult. I need to detach from her drama and that is so difficult as a mom. I should probably seek out therapy myself. What a hard road for all.

  65. My heart goes out to everyone here. My father is an emotionally immature adult, and still at age 78, shows the tell tale signs. He also has OCD, and was abused as a child himself, having grown up during the depression, he was seen as a burden, along with his 4 siblings. Me and my brothers have learned how NOT to be a parent from him, and thankfully none of us share the emotional immaturity, except me being the only girl, took on the role of rescuer for such self-absorbed immature men. I guess I’m always trying to “fix” and heal these men, which requires a miracle, as I’ve never seen one change yet.

    My most recent man-child is 28, and i’ve known him for 4 years. I’m like a mother figure to him, but I see him as just a few years younger than me. He may also be bi-polar. Naturally since I am wired to fix my relationship with my father, I am always attracted to this kind of man, and now I have learned to recognize that whenever I am immediately attracted to someone and it is a supercharged spark, I must RUN.

    These people are recognized by most to be childish and selfish, so there’s an initial reaction of “eww,” but for me, no matter how consciously aware I am of my codependency, I still think THIS one will be different… This one I can heal. But you know what always ends up happening? I feel my life essence draining away as if they are sucking the blood out of my bones. I end up needing sedatives, I feel weak, can’t eat, exercise, and all because I want to heal a person who tortures me by being the ocean… Pulling me in and pushing me away… Over and over. Have you ever been blamed for giving a gift? Or sending it too late or to the wrong address? and God forbid they have to get up and walk to their mailbox instead of having it handed to them on a tray with breakfast in bed. I actually keep a blog of 120 reasons why I should leave. But here’s why I struggle… Leaving him won’t feel emancipation, it will feel like abandonment. But staying will invite more abuse. Which is worse? They’re both awful. So I almost wish I’d get early onset Alzheimer’s so I can forget him. Because it’s very hard to detach from these folks, they are good at manipulating us and knowing our triggers.

    I’ve said I’m done at least 20 times in 4 years. And yet I keep going back. I know I’m dysfunctional, and need to learn to self-protect. Why do I still love a man who hurts me? Because when he isn’t hurting, the love is beyond bliss… It feels like everything I’ve ever needed and wanted. But it’s short-lived… And always followed by emotional unavailability. I need help, I know. It’s an addiction I must conquer. Consciously I know I deserve better, but somewhere inside my head is a voice saying, “nope, this is as good as it gets.”

    • Did u ever leave? I feel your pain. The sensitive sweet side of my bf is all I can think about when I debate leaving him. How I don’t want to hurt him cuz he loves me so much. The good side is so sweet and I am stupid by telling myself “this time it will work, he finally has insight into his behavior and it will be different” but it’s not.

  66. I am actually an emotionally immature man, I want and need help, any books, articles or a place to start, where I can get started in a path to maturity?

  67. I was raised a roman catholic and suffered emotionally and physically at the hands of cruel clergy members. I was oppressed, depressed, anxiety ridden, and I felt tremendous resentment for being treated so unkindly.

    It wasn’t until young adulthood that I became acquainted with wonderful, kind, and caring people in the secular Humanist community. I learned how to take control of my inner self and accept life as it is, and to realize just how temporary and impermanent everything is.

    I’ve long since put those unhappy times of my childhood, in catholic school, to rest. I only look back at the happy times that I can remember with my family, friends, activities, etc. Those happier times will always put a grin on my old face:)

    As an atheist I live my life to the fullest and value all life, and the natural world as the greatest experience we’ll ever know. Most importantly we all must learn to coexist with others. There are tyrants in this world, but dropping bombs and killing people solves nothing.

    These atrocities occur due to misunderstandings and failure to discuss matters in a calm and rational manner. Just imagine if people would talk things out instead of lashing out. But for the limited time we all have on planet earth may we all live each day with love in our hearts, be productive, and help our fellow person. Peace.

  68. Thank you so much for this! So insightful and honest. I was in a relationship with an immature boy man for many years. When I think back, it actually makes me sick. Everything you say in this, is totally and sadly, true! They can’t take responsibility for anything! What was I thinking??? Thanks again.


  69. What if you have a partner who is emotionally immature and challenged :( . I am left with no choice now. What do i do. Please help someone

    • Rebecca,

      I am in the same situation although, they might be two different people I believe we might be going through the same thing. The hardest part is for you and me to accept the fact that you CANNOT help them unless they seek help themselves. they can only do that by finding themselves and just simply knowing they can do it.

      The hardest part for you will be to accept this within your heart and let him go. Not because you want to leave them but because they will realize at the end of the day that they need to change mentally.

  70. My girlfriend of 6 years does not have any control over her emotions. She tries so hard to be strong minded and to supress them but she always gives in. I support her and listen to her and I love her but she does have her moments where she is crazy in love with me or very happy and out of nowhere she finds a defect in me which leads her to break up. She has broken up with me many times in the past. I feel like she is no independent and always tries to be but she just can’t and this is something i CANNOT help her with. She wants to be independent and learn how to do things her way but has broken up with me again. I want to help her but I think the best thing to do is to do absolutely nothing. I do not know if I am doing the correct thing or if i am making amistake but in order for her to mentally grow and mature I think she needs to find herself and see the greatness within her and how she can accomplish many things with me not around. The independence should bring the best within her because she does not feel like she can do things alone. Thoughts?

  71. I read many of these and I am dumbfounded as to how so many mirror my relationship. I am 33 years old and my bf is 27. At 1st I thought it was an age issue that he’d grow out of. We have been together 2 years and it just keeps getting worse. We are “trying to work on things” once again but I feel like it’s look pointless. The biggest thing I have a problem with is that like many of you know, and have said yourself, they twist things around / create something awful out of something innocent and blame you for their anger… we’ve discussed this a few times now and I try to explain to him “but I didn’t mean it that way” or “stop being so hard on yourself, that’s not true” but he won’t believe me. He “knows what I meant, there’s no need to lie, just admit you’re wrong and I’ll quit yelling” or he’ll say once things are calm and I try to discuss the tantrum like “I can’t believe how self centered u are, you do not take blame for even the smallest things, i wouldn’t be so angry if u just admitted what u did.” I’ve even had to say back a couple times “sorry but I will not apologize for something that only happened in your head.” I really thought for long time that I was a condescending gf that couldn’t see my faults like he said I was. He was so adamant. ( i have also never been accused of the things he accuses me of like being cold, stuck up, manipulative or cruel by anyone. I have even talked to exes and asked their opinions and they all thought I was joking.) HaS anyone gone through similar to give me advice? Part of me wonders if I’m being gaslight ed and the other part feels like it could be true and I’m so self centered I cannot realize it. Do I just say “yes, I purposely made a loud noise setting the grocery bags down in order to passive aggressively wake u from a nap I didn’t know u were taking!” Just to avoid a tantrum? And yes, he doesn’t correct me when I call them tantrums. An adult boy throwing a tantruM.

    • Yes. A narcist has called me narcist while I am on the other end of empathy spectrum.
      And an abusive man talked to me about boundaries just when I knew it was about time I restricted his access into my affairs. Weird or gaslight was what I felt. I think.

  72. This article has confirmed for me that I am emotionally immature. I am a woman in my 40s and have had difficulty with relationships right from the beginning.
    While its possible that my family loved me, there was no evidence of this being fact. My parents were ‘victorian’ style, meaning all emphasis was on being clean, fed and heavily disciplined. There was never any warmth or any sense of sincere feeling.
    I spent my life running. Running from my family, from the coldness, from the unrelenting void of lovelessness. I ran towards people who seemed to have answers, then ran again when they told me the reason why our friendship/relationship is failing is because I’m f**ked up emotionally. Yes, I know…but thanks again for reminding me that I don’t deserve to be loved for new reasons.
    Of course, a trail of hurt friends and lovers is not what I want. Years later i still hear people complain about my emotional immaturity and how i hurt them. This just makes me run faster and lose even more control.
    So, Im sorry if someone like me has hurt you, but if it’s any consolation, you have the chance to move on. 40 plus years and many therapy sessions later, I only get to hear over and over that Im flawed.

    • Yes, everyone deserves to be loved, but when you are unloving and selfish and manipulative towards others then why should you expect them to love you back? You need to take responsibility for your behaviour is a serious way, because after all you are a grown woman!

      • I feel like the poster did take responsibility. It takes a lot of courage to admit you made mistakes. It takes a lot of courage to apologize for those mistakes, to go to therapy and try to fix yourself. I applaud her for trying.

    • I will say I only came upon this because I wanted to know how I ended up so emotionally immature and how to fix it… If I could blame it on a head injury, genetics, or emotional trauma growing up? Nothing here has given me any solution to being a broken person.. It actually just seems like a hatred manifesto towards people who may be good to the core and selfless but never developed proper coping mechanisms followed by judgemental commenters remarking on how some past relationship failing must have been the exes emotional immaturity, blame shifting. That’s immature in my book. I think it’s very honest to admit that you are that way. I am also.

  73. I’m so appreciative of this article. My mum who had me when she was 41 – she’s now 60 – has been a very destructive influence on my life and its only recently that I’ve realized she has very very poor emotional intelligence! I suppose part of me always thought that people were mature after a certain age, like 25 or so, but I now know that’s not the case. Also very disruptive as the only stable parental figure in my life has been her. At least a positive I’ve had from this experience has been to pick up on this sort of behaviour early on and deal with it quickly and also to understand when it cannot be dealt with. My mother is old now and too set in her ways. I doubt she’ll ever change – but at least I can.

  74. When I read this article it should have my daughter’s name as the heading.
    I have been blaming myself for so many years, and as I read it, a light went on
    In my head. I showed it to my two sons and they were gob smacked. We now know
    What the problem is. Unfortunately, we have lost our grandchildren as she has completely brain-washed them. She will never admit her problem, so we very reluctantly have to distance ourselves. Is there anything we can do to at least have some sort of a relationship.

  75. Thank you so much for this article.I am a victim of this emotional immaturity.I am poor in dealing to come out of it cos I knew wat it exactly was.Troubled all my frnds,family & partner.Need to start working on it.Got confidence that I can deal with it after reading ur article.

  76. Like everyone else I agree this is a wonderful article that puts everything I have been dealing with for 4 years into words. It is pure hell.

    I do wish the article had mentioned WHY an individual is emotionally immature. In the case of the man-child I have been with it is because he never had to mature while growing up. He was spoiled rotten and never had to be accountable. Disgusting.

  77. Good article! I began my “intentional journey towards maturity” at the age of 30. I say “intentional” because most people are under the illusion that maturity happens by default….it does not. This process requires an intentional process called “thinking”, of which most people think, no pun intended, is something they do all the time, which would be an inaccurate assumption. Most people “react” most of the time…there is a difference. Reacting, as most of us do on a daily basis, is a reflex response based on previous or similar experience with the issue at hand. The mature response is a critical thought process and analysis to issues…not a reactive process, of which most people I deal with, including family, are among those. I took counseling to take control of the self destructive, subconscious programming that had plagued my life and began to learn to how to reprogram that thought process. The downside to this is the overwhelming realization of just how immature and sick “normal” people really are and how heartbreaking to see that in your parents and siblings. Try as lovingly as you may, you cannot direct them to see they’re own self destructive habits. They have to decide to make those changes themselves. Maturing is a decision…not biological default.

  78. This is reminding me of my ex. We have a child. But I have to really hide away from her even when seeing the child.
    She is negative, dependent, clue less and believes in witchdoctors.

    Someone to stay away from. Wrong woman to have known at some point.

  79. This article gives words to many events I have passed through but could not make sense of.
    I now remember many customers telling me “your cheque has cleared”.
    Those words would bother and depress me.
    Now I see why.
    Because I was expecting them to guide me in life and be mature enough not to be intrusive on my financial matters while all along they were so so immature.

    Whatever the case this really has been useful

  80. I buried my emotions when I was a child of 11 because they were too painful to deal with and caused constant humiliation. It was the only way I could survive. By your definition, I can’t be emotionally mature until I uncover these emotions and learn how to actually handle them. I’m 56 now, so I think that train left the station decades ago. Any suggestions? Any hope?

    • The first step is the sincere desire to change; enough to take action.
      The second step is several fold; the practice of mindfulness. If you become more mindful of things, you will become more aware of your feelings, and also your actions and reactions.
      Therapy can help you with this. Learning to be non-reactive.

      It’s a long journey. You can do it if you want to. You have to be patient with yourself because transformation doesn’t happen over night. In fact, it takes time. Try to change one thing at a time.

  81. My partner of 11,years fits this description 90%. I love him but as a very emotionally mature, independent woman, the older I get the less I can take of his behavior when little things don’t go his way. I’m a mom of 3 (all adults now) & I swear he can act more immature than my children did when they were young. He pouts, whines, complains about nonsense & plays the victim, blames others, and gives off such negative energy at times. I’m very unhappy with this relationship and font know where to go from here. His negativity is also becoming worse as he gets older. We’re both on our 50s.

    • Life is too short and you deserve to smell beautiful roses. Everyone will easily say ‘leave the jerk’, but you would need to really evaluate whether he is willing to do the work to make a beautiful new life together in your 50’s. Example, my husband is 6 years younger, he is immature. Never had a successful relationship except for his parents and siblings. People have left him. Emotionally, he is hyper-sensitive. But, he has underlying issues of anxiety, ADD/ADHD, etc. He didn’t particularly care to go to the doctor. He did not like the discussion. But, he wants me to be happy and life to be better for our family. So off he went. The test was when he would need to go to an appointment by himself. He went by himself. If he is willing, then that’s a noble effort. If he goes and then just quits and refuses to continue, refuses to do the assigned ‘homework’, then you have some things to ponder. Individual life can be good as an individual surrounded by family and friends. So if he is willing in genuine behavior to do the work to make life better now and in the future, think about it. Being empty nesters, you’ve invested a long time together. Some people easily part after the children are grown, some divorce, some stay married, but live in separate abodes, and some remain married. Some remain friends and some do not. It is much harder after so many years together, so do what you feel is right for you. You have to ask yourself if I am very sick and my children cannot take care of me, will he do the duties such as cleaning me, feeding me, taking me to the doctor, calling the ambulance, etc.? Will he do the things that count? Some people are so self-centered, they will not do these things for others and could careless if they suffered.

  82. Very enlightening article. However, there needs to be a sequential article regarding ‘giving space’ in relationships and what is considered to be ‘immature’ or ‘mature’. Some immature individuals will inappropriately behave during an ‘adult relationship discussion’ and because they are ‘not getting their way’, automatically ‘flame up’ within a matter of seconds, and then leave the house or discussion with no regard for the other individual who is trying to have an ‘adult conversation.’ Included in that leaving is turning off any communication, not stating whereabouts, and complete disregard for the other individual’s health condition. This is a very on-point article when dealing with immature individuals. A sequential article would be a nice addition.

    • AMG, I was with two men who were abusive who would leave in the middle of arguments- walk out the door and drive away or turn around mid-sentence and slam the bedroom door. It’s a huge sign of disrespect and it really stings. Have you brought up how this makes you feel to that person? How do they react?

  83. This is a really nice article. After a long relationship, 12 years and 2 kids, I just got dumped…and I’m juste starting to realize I’m almost 100% responsible. I was not alway’s like this : manipulative, self-centered, dependant, angry, emotionnaly immmature. First 8 years were fantastic, not perfect for sure, but the last 2-3 years, I been emotionnaly childish and it cost me the love of my life. I need to work on myself , a day to day process that is excruciating. I’m right in the middle of it now, I would give everything to take back all the mess I created, but it’s too late for us. I can only get better, but it’s hard to let her go, hard to stop thinking about getting er back….anyway, I need to grow regardless of her in y life or not, it’s just nearly impossible at the moment to stop thinking about getting her back……I wonder if it’s possible…. She endured so much for such a long time…. she doesnt like confrontation and before me, she had been in a relation where her bf war very controling and manipulative. I have my pattern,,,seems like her pattern was falling in love with controlling individuals…

    • Part of attaining emotional maturity is to give up control and simply let things unfold how they would. If you are the attributes you said you were in the past 2-3 years of marriage, then you were likely, also controlling. Sometimes we behave in controlling ways and don’t recognize how we are being controlling. Empathic people tend to fall for controlling people because they each balance each others emotional wounds. This is something I really understand but have a great deal of difficult describing here. Look up terms like “Dance of the wounded.”

  84. I’ve just sent the link to this my ex partner. I hope he reads all the comments, from posters who have been in relationships with someone emotionally immature and also from those suffering from it themselves. Your amazing article describes our 4 year relationship perfectly (sadly) and some of the other posters comments have brought tears to my eyes. Someone described her partner as being like the ocean.. constantly pulling her in then pushing her away, back and forth, back and forth.. so sad. I had a constant 4 years of ALL the typical emotional immaturity described, with a special extra of portion of unpredictable and unprovoked jealous rages.. that combined with no desire at all to nurture any part of our relationship has left me broken. I was devoted to him, and he claimed to love me, but in the end, presented with the option of me leaving him forever or for him to simply agree to ‘try’ to help nurture our relationship he chose to throw it all away, rather than make the effort of trying. (All he had to do was say ‘yes I’m going to try’.. that would have been enough to give me hope a little longer. I want to help him. He wants to change, but will not wake up and take control and make changes, however small) Truly, he showed more care, concern and attention his peace lily on the windowsill. Watering it, turning it round, pruning it’s leaves, feeding it..

  85. Seems like something a woman would write.

  86. This article is just what I needed to read, thank you so much! I searched online for something like it…and am thankful that I found it. I not only read the article – I also read almost all of the responses. A lot of what I read was very helpful.

    I already knew a lot of it…but it had been awhile since I needed the tools in dealing with an emotionally immature person. So the many reminders of what to do will come in handy.

    My situation is a little different from all that I read here. I met someone who appears to be, for the most part, emotionally immature in his personal life but not so much in his job. It’s very crucial that he ‘keeps it together’ for his work and he seems to know how to do that, in some ways even admirably.

    It must be a unique challenge for him – knowing that he does have to come up to the plate for his job…but still doesn’t see how he needs to get his personal life in order. I honestly don’t know how someone could recognize the value of maturity at work but not in his heart. …I understand how it can be done – I just find it schizophrenic.

    I haven’t known him long. But I know a lot about his history (often damaged due to emotional immaturity) and I know a good deal about how he is now when he is not working (which is often an exhibition of emotional immaturity).

    I’ve seen red flags. Luckily, he has not really been all that terrible towards me, really. In fact, it seems there are things about me that he likes. But that’s not necessarily a good thing…to be liked by someone who is emotionally immature. I haven’t heard from him in about a month – and I don’t expect to. (~although at least two friends have told me I haven’t seen the last of him.)

    I think all of my handling of him has been kind and I’ve treated him with respect and understanding. Maybe he has no way of knowing how to deal with any of that. I have no idea at this point.

    At any rate…I’m glad that I read all of this. I needed these reminders and am grateful that I happened upon the right place to find them .

    Thank you, hsm – and to others here who shared their very valuable thoughts.

  87. When I read this article today, I saw my wife right there. That is the exact description of her: self denial and getting aggravated when the undesirable things she says at me are echoed back at her. Thank you very much for the article.

  88. This article is amazing!
    I fell in love with my now current wife in high school after dating her for years we decided to get married. And because I loved her so much I failed to see how emotionally immature she was and is. I would do anything for her and bend over backwards to make her happy. Now we have been married for 4 months and we have had a lot of problems. She can’t seem to understand that she has a problem. The advesarialism eats at me and I am now almost about to give up. I have made the mistake to always running to her side whenever the smallest thing goes wrong. And if I stop I know she will take it out on me. I want to stay with her, but I don’t know how to help her change. And I don’t want to be her punching bag anymore. Any suggestions?

  89. I know that it is frustrating when a 50 year old is acting like a 15 year old emotionally–but what I do is try to set a good example–like you would for a child!

  90. Oh my goodness! I have just read this and realised it is me word-for-word! I was actually searching ‘how to cope with an immature partner’ (in relation to my boyfriend’s behaviour) but after reading this, I think I have bigger, personal problems of my own to deal with first!

    Thank you for this wake-up call! I truly feel enlightened and will try to change my ways for the better!!

  91. What if that person is your young adult child?
    That spins lies within every relationship they’ve had?
    Whether it be jobs, friendships, significant others or family members?
    Then loses it when called out.
    Other than family their relationships are like revolving doors
    It’s exhausting

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