Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

I recently read ‘Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents‘ by Lindsay C. Gibson and I think that it is an amazing book. It is both informative and relatable; giving you tips that you can incorporate into your life and interactions with others immediately. If you were raised in a toxic, enmeshed, abusive or narcissistic family, then the chances are that your parent was also emotionally immature. Without excusing any of the behaviour that you may have experienced growing up, Gibson enables you to have a more in depth understanding of your parents.

I have written a blog post explaining about emotional intelligence (click here to read) and how improving it can really help you on your healing journey. Gibson’s book will definitely raise your emotional intelligence, and help you to not only see the toxic patterns in your family of origin, but also invite you to analyse if you are passing these behaviours on to the next generation.

Below I have shared some quotes with you:

  • “No child can be good enough to evoke love from a highly self-involved parent. Nevertheless, these children come to believe that the price of making a connection is to put other people first and treat them as more important. They think they can keep relationships by being the giver. Children who try to be good enough to win their parents’ love have no way of knowing that unconditional love cannot be bought with conditional behavior.”
  • “They never assume that if you love them, you’ll want the same things they do. Instead, they take your feelings and boundaries into account in any interaction. This may sound like a lot of work, but it isn’t; emotionally mature people automatically tune in to how others are feeling. Real empathy makes consideration of other people second nature.”
  • “Knowing your true emotions and thoughts probably felt dangerous if it threatened to distance you from the people you depended on. You learned that your goodness or badness lay not only in your behavior, but in your mind as well. In this way, you may have learned the absurd idea that you can be a bad person for having certain thoughts and feelings, and you may still hold that belief.”
  • “Internalizers are highly perceptive and extremely sensitive to other people. Because of their strong need to connect, growing up with an emotionally immature parent is especially painful for them. Internalizers have strong emotions but shrink from bothering other people, making them easy for emotionally immature parents to neglect. They develop a role-self that’s overly focused on other people, along with a healing fantasy that they can change others’ feelings and behaviors toward them. They get by on very little support from others and end up doing too much emotional work in their relationships, which can lead to resentment and exhaustion.”
  • “Children stay in alignment with their true self if the important adults in their lives support doing so. However, when they’re criticized or shamed, they learn to feel embarrassed by their true desires. By pretending to be what their parents want, children think they’ve found the way to win their parents’ love. They silence their true selves and instead follow the guidance of their role-selves and fantasies. In the process, they lose touch with both their inner and outer reality.”
  • “When you’re going through a breakdown, a good question to ask is what is actually breaking down. We usually think it’s our self. But what’s typically happening is that our struggle to deny our emotional truth is breaking down. Emotional distress is a signal that it’s getting harder to remain emotionally unconscious. It means we’re about to discover our true selves underneath all that story business.”
  • “Emotionally immature people often have difficulty engaging in humor in ways that strengthen bonds with others. Instead, they push humor on others, even when others aren’t amused. They also tend to enjoy humor at someone else’s expense, using it to boost their self-esteem. For example, they may enjoy humor that involves tricking people or making them look foolish or inept. This trait is a good indicator of how they will eventually treat you.”

Have you read this book before? If yes, what were your take aways? What were yhou able to incorporate into your life?


Published by C J Anonymous

I have started this blog to share my journey through narcissistic abuse and beyond, and to help others who may have been through similar experiences. I also wanted to share the things that have helped me to heal from codependency. As a mother it became of paramount importance to me to ensure that unconscious generational patterns were not passed down to my children. Narcissism and codependency runs through my family of origin, and whilst I have learned that I cannot change the behaviour of others, I know that I can learn and improve myself daily and show up as an example to my children. There is a wealth of information about narcissism and codependency and yet everyone has a unique story to tell. Other's that shared their stories, helped me to see that I was not alone in a toxic family, or an abusive relationship and I did not have to be the victim, I could reclaim my power and change my life around. My hope is to help others who may feel as though they are the victim, suffer from low self-esteem, or believe that someone else has power over them. It can sometimes be a small quote, or one blog post that resonates with someone and starts their healing journey.

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