Victims of developmental/childhood trauma often believe they “attract the wrong people”, as their family relationships do not make for good reference of well-being and emotional growth. If you identified with this vulnerability and would like to break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships, here are 8 signs of emotional immaturity:
1- Mental rigidity: emotionally immature individuals hold rigid beliefs about themselves, the world and others that do not evolve over time. Their black and white thinking does not allow them to see beyond right or wrong and good or bad. They have low tolerance for ambiguity, risk taking and making mistakes. Due to their inflexible mindset, they do not respect individuality and are weak at honouring boundaries.
2- Poor emotional regulation: emotionally immature people do poorly at self-soothing. Their neglectful attitude to their emotional health makes them suffer from depression, anxiety and or pent-up anger over a long period. Their low discomfort tolerance leads them to do what is best for them without considering the effects on others or the benefits of delaying gratification.
3- High subjectivity: the emotionally immature do not nurture the habit of distancing themselves from their own perception to allow for more neutral analyses and interpretations. They are driven by rigid beliefs and strong emotions.
4- Lack of accountability: Emotionally immature people are highly motivated by shame and have a victim mentality. They do not own their mistakes or apologise for them.
5- Egocentrism: emotionally immature people need to be the centre of attention. therefore, they spend excessive time absorbed in themselves and worrying about themselves. In addition, they have a habit of using themselves as a reference, displaying narcissistic traits.
6- Childish behaviour: Emotionally immature individuals expect others to act in mature ways for them. Their love partners feel pressured to do the hard work for them, such as confronting others and making decisions. Children of emotionally immature parents are forced to act like their parents# parent to feel safe (role reversal/parentification).
7- Fear of intimacy: vulnerability and emotional connection trigger insecurity in the emotionally immature. When “forced” to connect with their inner selves, as well as with others, they feel inadequate and overwhelmed. They deal with their discomfort by changing the subject (flight), shutting down/not engaging (freeze), and/or reacting aggressively (fight).
8- Low empathy: Due to their mental rigidity, poor emotional regulation, high subjectivity, lack of responsibility, self-centeredness and fear of intimacy, emotionally immature people are insensitive to others’ feelings.
Emotional immaturity is an effect of developmental trauma. If you experienced neglect or emotional abuse as a child and identified with the above, healing your trauma wounds can help you approach life and relationships with balance and maturity.