The High Price
of Emotional Immaturity

I don't think anything can make emotional immaturity clearer than an example. So here goes:

    Liz woke up at 7:30 and needed to get the kids ready and out the door by 8:15. That left her 45 minutes to shower and get herself ready, get the kids up and dressed, make breakfast and 3 lunches, feed the kids, make sure everyone had brushed their teeth and had everything they needed, get on coats, shoes, grab backpacks, and go.
    Gretchen, who was 7, refused to get up. Joey, her 5 year old, didn't have any clean pants or socks. And Ben, who was 10, just sat on the edge of his bed staring into space.

    Liz tried to be nice, but she ended up yelling at Ben to listen to her and do what he was told, grabbing Gretchen by the arm and pulling her out of bed, and scolding Joey for not having the clothes he needed.

    By the time the 4 of them were ready to head out the door, they were 10 minutes behind schedule, the kids had hardly touched their granola bars for breakfast, Joey was crying, and Ben and Gretchen were fighting. Everyone was miserable, including Liz.

    She was angry at her husband for not helping and being so clueless when it came to what she needed, angry at her kids for not doing what they were supposed to and fighting with each other, and angry that she had to do everything for everyone. She was even angry at God for giving her such a worthless husband and such frustrating kids.

    Worst of all, Liz felt unloved, her kids felt unloved, and her relationship with her husband was cold at best. And this was just the beginning of her day!

Interestingly, not once did Liz think to look in a mirror at herself and ask, "What part of this is my responsibility? What do I need to change?

Emotional immaturity is at the very least detrimental to yourself and those around you. At it's very worst, it is deadly - maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally and relationally.

Living life from a place of emotional immaturity is a result of a pattern of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse - from the least of offenses to the worst one can imagine. That is because as a child you simply DO NOT have the capability to deal with the negative patterns you are faced with day in and day out.

~Whether it is neglect,
verbal or emotional abuse,
physical or sexual abuse
or not feeling seen or loved -
a child does not know what to do with it.~

We survive, but we don't thrive! Most of us continue on into adulthood, maturing physically and mentally, but we are in many ways as emotionally immature as we were as a child. We are what is called an adult child, and most of us don't even realize it.

We think our relational skills are normal, when in reality they are very dysfunctional. Often, we do not know how to deal with our emotions. We over-react or under-react. We explode or we implode. We are irrational, untrusting, and needy.

We blame others for our problems and mistakes. We expect others to know what we need without us saying a word. We want to control others because our fear is so great that they might not do things the way we think they should be done. We are angry, frustrated, confused, sad, lonely, full of anxiety, and probably depressed.

And sadly, we are so afraid to be real with others, that we destroy any possiblity for true intimacy and receiving unconditional love.

Emotional immaturity is usually a family pattern handed down from one generation to another. It was passed on to your parents/caregivers and they passed it on to you. In all likelihood, you are passing it on to your children as Liz was in the example above.

It is a vicious cycle, but it can stop with you.

Continue to to read what I've learned about stepping away from emotional immaturity and toward emotional maturity.

Recommended Resources for Emotional Immaturity

  • Real Love and Post-Childhood Stress Disorder and other books by Greg Baer

  • The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren (I have reviewed this book on the page Moving Away from a Lack of Empathy.)

  • Managing Your Emotions: Instead of Your Emotions Managing You and Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer

  • Controlling Your Emotions Before They Control You by Bob Phillips

  • I Second That Emotion: Untangling Our Zany Feelings (Women of Faith -Thomas Nelson) by Patsy Clairmont (This book includes a DVD with a section for each chapter. Patsy is very funny, but also very deep. I learned a lot from this book!)

    Links to Other Pages About Emotional Health


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