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Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

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If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavio If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and you can move forward in your life. In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhood. By freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life. Discover the four types of difficult parents: The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory  


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If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavio If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and you can move forward in your life. In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhood. By freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life. Discover the four types of difficult parents: The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory  

30 review for Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Agh! I want to give this book five stars soooo badly, but there is one thing holding me back. The book talks in detail about emotionally immature parents, and how to recognize the behaviors. It also talks at length about internalizing and externalizing as responses to those behaviors. What it doesn't talk about is recognizing those same emotionally immature behaviors in yourself, and what you can do to mature in those areas. Of course, we'll have reactions to the behaviors of our parents, but ma Agh! I want to give this book five stars soooo badly, but there is one thing holding me back. The book talks in detail about emotionally immature parents, and how to recognize the behaviors. It also talks at length about internalizing and externalizing as responses to those behaviors. What it doesn't talk about is recognizing those same emotionally immature behaviors in yourself, and what you can do to mature in those areas. Of course, we'll have reactions to the behaviors of our parents, but many of us adopted those same behaviors, and would like to avoid making those same mistakes in our relationships now. I would've loved a section just before the end summary of each section that had 2-3 concrete exercises to help not behave in those emotionally immature ways. Why does this seemingly small criticism knock it down a full star? Maybe I'm an extreme internalizer ;-) but I found it sometimes hard to focus on the sections about why I deserved more while I was too busy worrying, "but I do that. And that! Oh no..." But, that being said, it's absolutely worth reading, I loved it. It was so helpful and has a really good balance of non-emotionally identifying immature behaviors and offering new attitudes and behaviors. I am so hoping that there's a sequel about not falling into emotionally immature behaviors ourselves.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Hands down one of the best Psychology books I have ever read. I love this book so, so much. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I grew up with pretty awful (i.e., abusive) parents, so this book validated my experiences in such a profound way. I appreciate how Lindsey Gibson honors the emotional experience of growing up with an emotionally immature parent through her immense empathy and compassion. She makes space for the suffering and the painful yet necessary transformation of a helpless chil Hands down one of the best Psychology books I have ever read. I love this book so, so much. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I grew up with pretty awful (i.e., abusive) parents, so this book validated my experiences in such a profound way. I appreciate how Lindsey Gibson honors the emotional experience of growing up with an emotionally immature parent through her immense empathy and compassion. She makes space for the suffering and the painful yet necessary transformation of a helpless child to a self-aware adult. She writes like a warm therapist or friend who stands by your side, as opposed to a cold or detached professional. Throughout the book, she provides a ton of important research-based information too, like the four types of emotionally immature parents and various findings about attachment patterns. I most loved how Gibson provides specific, tangible strategies for improving your ability to handle difficult emotions as well as techniques to develop healthy, reciprocal relationships. I believe that everyone could benefit from reading these sections - and this book as a whole - as Gibson's insights apply to handling all emotionally immature people, not just parents. For example, she provides a thorough list of traits and behaviors of emotionally mature people at the end of the book that amazed me with its accuracy and understanding of humans. Ten out of five stars to this gem. I know I will come back to it both for my personal life and for my work as a mental health professional.

  3. 4 out of 5

    September

    Two words: Life altering. It's hard to review such a book without getting personal. I'm not interested in sharing my dirty laundry or my family's, but this book has completely changed my life. I learned I wasn't alone, and I learned many "whys." More importantly, beyond explaining the "hows" and "whys," the author gave tools for interacting with family, finding and making new emotionally mature relationships, inner change, and more. I would pick up more of Gibson's work in a heartbeat. I'm etern Two words: Life altering. It's hard to review such a book without getting personal. I'm not interested in sharing my dirty laundry or my family's, but this book has completely changed my life. I learned I wasn't alone, and I learned many "whys." More importantly, beyond explaining the "hows" and "whys," the author gave tools for interacting with family, finding and making new emotionally mature relationships, inner change, and more. I would pick up more of Gibson's work in a heartbeat. I'm eternally grateful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a book you pick out for a very specific reason, and it is hardly possible to review it in a neutral way. So I won't. I hope that I don't have to recommend it to anyone, as it means opening up a Pandora's box of unresolved issues with major impact on who you are and how you deal with life. Let's just say this: if you have the feeling that something was missing in your life, and that you were distinctly different from other people with regards to your family relationships, this book may help This is a book you pick out for a very specific reason, and it is hardly possible to review it in a neutral way. So I won't. I hope that I don't have to recommend it to anyone, as it means opening up a Pandora's box of unresolved issues with major impact on who you are and how you deal with life. Let's just say this: if you have the feeling that something was missing in your life, and that you were distinctly different from other people with regards to your family relationships, this book may help you to understand your defence mechanisms, your responses and guilt trap feelings. It may show you a way forward to realise your own potential, and a way to accept the limitations of relationships with emotionally immature people in your environment. It may help you develop a stronger sense of self and new confidence in your right to live your life according to your own wishes and dreams. It may cause pain. And it does contain nuts :-) But no worries - if you are a classic internaliser (externalisers usually don't read self-help books), you will have developed a strong sense of humour as a vital survival skill. This book is the apple Eve ate to gain knowledge of her all-consuming, emotionally immature parent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    I avoided this one for a good minute. For some reason I just ‘wasn’t in the mood’ for it. But I’ll be ding danged if it didn’t hit the bullseye 🎯 Sometimes we (I) avoid the the best stuff, and go for the close but not quite thing, or even the wrong thing altogether. Funny how that works. And that’s kind of what this book is about. It’s about how being emotionally neglected in childhood, by an emotionally immature or self absorbed parent, can get you in the habit of ‘putting out fire with gasoline’ I avoided this one for a good minute. For some reason I just ‘wasn’t in the mood’ for it. But I’ll be ding danged if it didn’t hit the bullseye 🎯 Sometimes we (I) avoid the the best stuff, and go for the close but not quite thing, or even the wrong thing altogether. Funny how that works. And that’s kind of what this book is about. It’s about how being emotionally neglected in childhood, by an emotionally immature or self absorbed parent, can get you in the habit of ‘putting out fire with gasoline’, and can keep you ‘lookin for love in all the wrong places’ (as an 80’s pop song can attest). How so you ask? Well you have to read the book to find out. But it ‘goes a little something like this, hit it’. Author Lindsay Gibson defines emotionally immature parenting as a typified by a pervasive inability to be present and attentive to the child’s emotional experiences. According to Gibson, emotionally immature, or self absorbed parents are blind to their children’s emotional word for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to their own abuse and neglect in childhood, as well as trauma, addiction, mental illness etc. Anyway, for what ever reason, the emotionally immature parent(s) can’t sooth or validate their children’s emotions. Left to fend for themselves, these emotionally neglected children may adopt an internalizing or externalizing coping style. Internalizing: refers to the tendency to seek emotional soothing by becoming self-reliant, and retreating inwardly e.g. utilizing psychological defenses and traits such as dissociation and/or creative fantasy for emotional comfort. Internalizers are vulnerable to trauma depression and anxiety, but are also prone to self awareness, insight and empathy. Externalizing: refers to the tendency to seek emotional soothing externally in relationships, objects and behaviors. Externalizers are vulnerable to substance use, emotional outbursts, vandalism, crime etc. but are also prone to hard driving high achievement. The author reports that internalizers are the ones that typically seek therapy voluntarily, often in their 30’s after a divorce or other relationship problems. But externalizers end up in therapy too, usually due to legal troubles or substance abuse etc. In both cases, children of emotionally immature parents ‘grow up quickly’ out of sheer necessity to take care of them selves, or to take care of their parents. In such cases, childhood offers little advantages and too many restrictions. These ‘little grownups’ speed towards adulthood and independence, but at a very high price that they only become aware of later in life. Growing up fast if exciting, but you miss out on important developmentally appropriate milestones and often find yourself behind your peers in someway or another. Children of emotionally immature parents frequently want to change the way their parents feel. But the author emphatically warns against this claiming “you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change”. The author observers that children of emotionally immature parents often harbor a fantasy that if they can just engage emotionally with their parent, in just the right way, then they will finally be seen and understood, and the parent will change their emotionally neglectful, self absorbed ways. No!!! That’s never going to happen. Take that fantasy and draw a big barsinister through it 🚫. This fantasy may take the form of endless emotional demonstrations, conversations and confrontations that leave the emotionally immature parents feeing uncomfortable and defensive and leave the adult child feeling wounded and unsupported all over again. This dynamic often gets reenacted in adult relationships with partners, whereby the adult child of emotionally immature parents seeks out partners who are emotionally similar to their problematic parental relationship. You know. That ‘same relationship different person’ cycle. #Nightmare The author posits that if theses dynamics go unidentified, unprocessed and unresolved, than they can dominate and ruin your love, friendship and work relationships, and (perhaps most disturbingly) may be transmitted to your children trans-generationally. The author has TONS of good advice about what can be done. But perhaps most immediately effective are the following. Boundaries: identify how long you can be in contact with your emotionally immature parent, without loosing your objectivity and without becoming emotionally reactive, and limit your contact with the parent, not to exceed that amount. Limit your conversations to non contentious topics. And (warning) be prepared for the subject to almost always come back to them. Accept and Manage: rather than endlessly emotionally engaging with the parent, the author recommends accepting that you can’t change someone else’s emotional reality with yours. In other words, let go of your fantasy that they will finally see understand your perspective and drop the rope on the emotional tug of war that’s exhausting both of you. Surrender. You’ll win by loosing. Trust me on this one. The author instead recommends remaining observational and outcome driven. Observe the parents current level of capacity. Identify achievable, realistic goals you can accomplish together, and stick to those. This book is LOADED to the gills with wisdom, intelligence and excellent advice (a rarity to be sure). If you’re curious. Get it. If this book is your jam, you will know within the first chapter. If it is. Than this book might help you finally find your way home to the sanity and serenity you have been seeking. Awesome Read 😍

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    I wish I had read this book sooner! Finally validation that my family's repeated claim that I am "too sensitive" is more a reflection of their own emotional deficiencies than my own! Even though I knew my parental relations were not entirely healthy, they were still my primary model for relationships and, consequently, I had unwittingly come to see some dysfunctional behaviors as normal. This book made me realize that much of what I thought was just my personality were really defense mechanisms I wish I had read this book sooner! Finally validation that my family's repeated claim that I am "too sensitive" is more a reflection of their own emotional deficiencies than my own! Even though I knew my parental relations were not entirely healthy, they were still my primary model for relationships and, consequently, I had unwittingly come to see some dysfunctional behaviors as normal. This book made me realize that much of what I thought was just my personality were really defense mechanisms that commonly develop in response to emotionally immature caregivers. The descriptions were so on point that I teared up a bit reading it, but that's a sensitive internalizer for you! This book filled the much-needed role of clearly and compassionately showing what healthy behaviors I should expect in relationships and what healthy behaviors I need to work on adopting. Some of this I had discovered through life experience. I could have recognized and avoided some emotionally abusive situations if I had read this book earlier.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rhea (Rufus Reads)

    Here is how my reading experience was: - 50% vigorous head nodding and delight to have the right language for my lived experiences - 20% gasping due to incisive and hyper-specific instances that I could relate to clearly - 20% itch to share snippets with certain people in my life who would benefit from this 'enlightenment', and - 10% desire to go back in time, print this out, and chant it like a mantra every year of my adolescent life. Written by a clinical psychologist, this was surprisingly neith Here is how my reading experience was: - 50% vigorous head nodding and delight to have the right language for my lived experiences - 20% gasping due to incisive and hyper-specific instances that I could relate to clearly - 20% itch to share snippets with certain people in my life who would benefit from this 'enlightenment', and - 10% desire to go back in time, print this out, and chant it like a mantra every year of my adolescent life. Written by a clinical psychologist, this was surprisingly neither too academic nor too 'self-helpy'. A friend on finding out that I am reading this book said to me, "this is what i have spent the last 2 years in therapy trying to process/unpack, and i am so glad to have found this book." There is power in this book, and it could be a terrific read - but only if you're the right audience for it. I know I am.

  8. 4 out of 5

    lov2laf

    This book has a long enough title as it is but it could also tack on..."How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, Self-Involved Parents, or Parents Who Never Parented You But You've Always Parented Them and They Expect You To Do So Until the Day They Die...and Is It Me or Are They Getting Even More Infantile in Their Old Age?" I'm guessing anyone that reads this book could slap a picture of one, both, or all of their parents into the book as the very definition of an Emotionally Immature Parent. I cou This book has a long enough title as it is but it could also tack on..."How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, Self-Involved Parents, or Parents Who Never Parented You But You've Always Parented Them and They Expect You To Do So Until the Day They Die...and Is It Me or Are They Getting Even More Infantile in Their Old Age?" I'm guessing anyone that reads this book could slap a picture of one, both, or all of their parents into the book as the very definition of an Emotionally Immature Parent. I could, at least, because this book breaks down that there are actually four types of emotionally immature parents and just nails it: Emotional, Driven, Passive, Rejecting. The book does a great job of distinguishing the difference between what it's like growing up with an emotionally mature vs immature parent (because if we haven't grown up with a mature parent it's hard to know what it's *supposed* to be like), the affect that has on the child and their development, the struggles and hard-wired characteristics that now grown up adult deals with, how to shake up and out of it (as best you can), how to deal with your parents in present day, and how to recognize healthy mature people, in general, so you can have healthier connections in your adult life. It basically reads like a definition and how-to guide and I feel like I'd need to walk around with the book as a reference for the next few years. What I took away from the book was validation of the f'ed-upness of my upbringing, clarity about *how* my parents are emotionally immature, the fact that they have absolutely no ability to be introspective and understand their behavior's impact (that's super enlightening), that your emotionally immature parents will NEVER change so it's important to give up the fantasy of having the parent you want from them, strategies for dealing with parents/emotionally immature people in present day and an understanding of "Oh crap, I have some of these characteristics myself." ::face palm:: There's a wealth of information here delivered in a well-written, broken into clear sections kind of way that allows for easier digestibility and reference. Very good book. Recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Campos

    Truly amazing. There's no shortage of self-help books in my house, all of which I've purchased in a feeble attempt to pinpoint that *thing* that's not quite right. I've suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life. I've also found it very difficult to connect with anyone on more than a superficial level, and most interactions left me drained. I couldn't be myself when I interacted with anyone. I was always preoccupied with being judged than establishing a friendship based on intimate comm Truly amazing. There's no shortage of self-help books in my house, all of which I've purchased in a feeble attempt to pinpoint that *thing* that's not quite right. I've suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life. I've also found it very difficult to connect with anyone on more than a superficial level, and most interactions left me drained. I couldn't be myself when I interacted with anyone. I was always preoccupied with being judged than establishing a friendship based on intimate communication. That requires a level of vulnerability that, until now, has remained elusive. I was truly surprised at how well the author was able to capture the many nuances of relationships with emotionally immature parents, and the myriad impacts that they have on their children. I know that change is going to be a process, but this book has made me feel adequately equipped to at least start the journey toward healing. And finally, FINALLY, I realize that it wasn't me after all. I'm not fundamentally flawed and unloveable. I thank the author from the bottom of my heart for her dedication to writing this book. I hope that countless others find strength and healing in its pages.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Poppy

    I’ve read dozens of research-based psychology books, and a large handful of self-help books (way more if you count spiritual texts), and only three stand out as hugely meaningful to my life: Mind Over Mood, Driven to Distraction, and this one. If you were sidelined, neglected, or constantly criticized as a child, this book is for you. My copy is so marked-up, it could be a diary. I’m a little skeptical (perhaps too much) of clinical psychologists. Unfortunately I think it’s a field that has far to I’ve read dozens of research-based psychology books, and a large handful of self-help books (way more if you count spiritual texts), and only three stand out as hugely meaningful to my life: Mind Over Mood, Driven to Distraction, and this one. If you were sidelined, neglected, or constantly criticized as a child, this book is for you. My copy is so marked-up, it could be a diary. I’m a little skeptical (perhaps too much) of clinical psychologists. Unfortunately I think it’s a field that has far too much pseudoscience swept up in its mainstream, and I’m far more willing to listen to research psychologists. But Gibson (a PsyD clinical psychologist) is a strong exception. She is clear, nuanced, refers to the research, and doesn’t make sweeping statements or treat the brain as a mystical space hiding trauma in its dark corners. Highly recommend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kenzie Swanson

    Good introduction to the concept, helps you see your parents clearly. Not much there, though, on how to overcome the defenses you built in response and change your own thought process/behavior. It's discussed, but it's very high level and not very helpful. "Do this," not "Here's how you can do this." This isn't necessarily a book for people who recognize their parents as emotionally immature already and want to know how to overcome that influence in their own lives. If you're already on board wi Good introduction to the concept, helps you see your parents clearly. Not much there, though, on how to overcome the defenses you built in response and change your own thought process/behavior. It's discussed, but it's very high level and not very helpful. "Do this," not "Here's how you can do this." This isn't necessarily a book for people who recognize their parents as emotionally immature already and want to know how to overcome that influence in their own lives. If you're already on board with that, this won't be very helpful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I found this incredibly helpful. I especially liked that she detailed both the different kinds of emotionally immature types you could encounter in parents and the the content of the two broad responses to experiencing this parenting (internalizing and externalizing). The first part really helped me because I was definitely one someone who internalized and so I had the “but maybe my parent wasn’t immature enough for me to complain about” thought and resisted reading this at first. It made me fee I found this incredibly helpful. I especially liked that she detailed both the different kinds of emotionally immature types you could encounter in parents and the the content of the two broad responses to experiencing this parenting (internalizing and externalizing). The first part really helped me because I was definitely one someone who internalized and so I had the “but maybe my parent wasn’t immature enough for me to complain about” thought and resisted reading this at first. It made me feel bad- until I read the categories. Hearing about the different ways internalizing and externalizing can manifest also helped me make sense of some of their behaviors- as we know, parents inherit a lot of how they raise their kids from their own parents and pass on a lot of their own unresolved traumas. If you’re pretty sure your emotionally immature parent(s) also had emotionally immature parents you’ll find a ton that makes sense here. I also saw a lot of behaviors that I, unfortunately, also act out. That emotional immaturity was passed down to me in a whole new way as I struggled to find coping mechanisms to deal with it. The book is great about giving you strategies to deal with your emotionally immature parent that I totally intend to use, but I wish it also have resources for those of us who have realized we also have some of those marks of emotional immaturity because of what was modeled for us or how we coped with it. How do we ensure we don’t pass it down again? How do we change? I wish she had added that. I also feel like she set REALLY high expectations for what emotionally mature people are like in that last chapter. I guess she was just covering all her bases but it did kind of make it seem like no one could possibly be 1000% emotionally mature. But I guess it’s one of those if you’re batting 8 out of 10 you’re still ok type things? I hope? I feel like that’s something I could do- even if my parent never will. But other than that I found this book had a clear, kind, firm voice that used advice, research and anecdotes you could recognize yourself in to explain its points. It does not allow you delusions, which I super needed (see the part about “healing fantasies”) but also doesn’t berate you with them or make you feel stupid for not seeing it before. Some things will never change. The focus is how to deal with it in a sustainable way that doesn’t damage you further.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    This book hit close to home and certainly had a lot that I could identify with, having been raised in a home with two very emotionally immature parents trying to do their best. I give them a lot of credit for what they did right, but the truth is a lot of the immaturity persists to this day. Fortunately, books like this can be of aid in my quest to break the cycle. The problem I had with this book is that the author speaks authoritatively but without much citation to research. Her primary sources This book hit close to home and certainly had a lot that I could identify with, having been raised in a home with two very emotionally immature parents trying to do their best. I give them a lot of credit for what they did right, but the truth is a lot of the immaturity persists to this day. Fortunately, books like this can be of aid in my quest to break the cycle. The problem I had with this book is that the author speaks authoritatively but without much citation to research. Her primary sources are her own clients from her own practice and her own experiences. Sure, life experience counts for a lot, but it was apparent that the author's own bias often came into play. And I felt like the author had a tendency to victimize her clients even though obviously the therapist was typically getting one side of the story during counseling sessions. My wish for myself and for others is that adults take primary responsibility for their own emotional health and well being, and own up to the fact when they fall short. But this assumes a certain level of emotional maturity and therein lies the problem. This book provides a few tools for handling key relationships with people who are simply incapable or unwilling to manage their own emotional health. And for that it is useful.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexa White

    This book had a lot of good information wrapped up in a lot of biases and harmful statements. The basic framework of the book and the language of emotional maturity vs emotional immaturity is something genuinely freeing, and genuinely really good to be aware of. I'm able to evaluate my relationships in new light and generally feel like I have a whole new toolbox available. The problem is this book is highly biased against those with low empathy (empathy =/= the ability to express compassion), thos This book had a lot of good information wrapped up in a lot of biases and harmful statements. The basic framework of the book and the language of emotional maturity vs emotional immaturity is something genuinely freeing, and genuinely really good to be aware of. I'm able to evaluate my relationships in new light and generally feel like I have a whole new toolbox available. The problem is this book is highly biased against those with low empathy (empathy =/= the ability to express compassion), those who are prone to bouts of all-consuming emotional reactivity (like traumatized people), and it has a few negative things to say about how "problematic" externalizers are, without acknowledging how an externalizer can still be a good person (in fact, many a time, "externalizer" is used in place of "abuser"). It generally ignores how externalization can still have the ability to place their externalization elsewhere instead of the person or situation that caused it, and instead assumes externalizers always explode on others the minute they become emotional. Many, many, many of my friends are the kinds of people this book treats as abusers (and, using the book's own rubrics, they are not abusers despite their diagnoses making the author treat them like they are). It lacks a necessary neutrality in describing neurotypes that are outside the realm of typical, and instead very obviously places some people as "better" for how they process emotions. According to the author, those who can figure things out completely on their own are wonderful angels who will psychologically grow in leaps and bounds, while those who have to talk out their feelings with others are doomed to never making any progress unless they learn to figure things out completely on their own. Also, empathy in the form of feeling the emotions another person is feeling as they describe them to you is the only way to form connection, with everything else being the mark of a sociopath. I find the concept absolutely preposterous, with many a life story reflecting otherwise. The worst part is, a lot of the traits that the author describes as "internalizer" traits can indeed be found in externalizers who were invalidated as externalizers, therefore forced to internalize all of their pain instead of expressing it— and in turn, it fails to acknowledge the wounds of not being allowed to express another person hurt you that hits externalizers doubly hard. Not only were they denied the ability to be hurt (the same as internalizers), but they were forced to perform a role that is not themselves... something that the book acknowledges as a problem. But thanks to the author's own biases, the book doesn't extend an ounce of compassion towards those people, instead assuming all externalizers were validated in their immediate outbursts and were, in turn, nurtured into an abuser role. It's good information. I'm glad I read the book. But I cannot in good faith recommend it unless I give all of the above as a disclaimer, because it *will* be a very hurtful book to read depending on your neurotype, emotional processing style, and empathy levels.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Raven Rose

    I found this book to be extremely helpful for my life. Currently, I'm in a position where I'm re-evaluating relationships that have failed and identifying why. As the books says, it's common to find parents that fulfill your physical and financial needs without fulfilling your emotional needs. From a child's perspective, there can be tendency to envision your parents almost as Gods and infallible or that their loving qualities are being intentionally withheld from you. There can also be a belief I found this book to be extremely helpful for my life. Currently, I'm in a position where I'm re-evaluating relationships that have failed and identifying why. As the books says, it's common to find parents that fulfill your physical and financial needs without fulfilling your emotional needs. From a child's perspective, there can be tendency to envision your parents almost as Gods and infallible or that their loving qualities are being intentionally withheld from you. There can also be a belief that your own behavior will make them change. Whether it's through trying to help, listen, console, or beg for attention, there was a part of you that believed that you would eventually be shown the attention you were providing them or have your needs met. This book gives the hard truth that a lot of people struggle with: it's likely that your parents are people who haven't healed their own emotional issues, can't offer you closeness or even show genuine emotional interest for who you are as a person. Their relationship with you is defined by their emotional scars. Whether this comes in the form of temper tantrums, rejecting you / showing you distance, letting someone else control them, losing track of time and consistency in their relationships -- they cannot and maybe even will not ever show you that close parent-child relationship. I liked that this book was written in an objective way. This book isn't intended to teach you that you are right and they are bad people. It isn't intended for pointing fingers. This book tells you the truth: sometimes your parents haven't healed and they take it out on their kids and everyone else around them. This book will help you comes to terms with this. A lot of times with people like this, if you are close, it's more an enmeshment (you feeling as though you have to take care of your parent rather than the other way around). Every time you approach the relationship functioning from your inner child and with the expectation that if you did something differently, they will become the parent you want - you're going to feel disappointed every time. Basically every time you change yourself to fit your parent's expectations by helping out with their kids, walking on eggshells, becoming more of what they want rather than who you are -- all these behaviors are self-defeating. You're setting yourself up to fail in other relationships in the long-run because you're accustomed to overvaluing someone else's perceptions rather than your own. Eventually, you will feel your inner voice creeping on you and telling you that something feels wrong with these learned behaviors that you have picked up. This book basically provides long explanations of how a parent is an emotionally immature person, how you should let go of the dream of finally changing them, and how to stay objective and keep a relationship with them without expecting an emotionally fulfilling relationship back. It provides a good outline for other emotionally immature people, being mindful of people's maturity level before you get engaged about what you can expect from them, and suggests being objective as possible with people like this. This book helped me understand friendships and relationships overall. It taught me where I learned to value other people more than myself, why I was doing this behavior, and how to make better decisions about who to have relationships with. It teaches you how to identify emotionally immature people and to keep your perception open for emotionally mature people that can reciprocate. By choosing emotionally immature people as friends or partners, it's likely that you're setting yourself up for failure because they tend to externalize themselves and their problems. People like this aren't likely to learn from mistakes and are more likely to repeat mistakes rather than learn from them. They tend not to self-reflect because they think that answers / circumstances to heal are outside of themselves. You will know if you are dealing with an emotionally immature person if: 1. They are narrow-minded (once they have an opinion, they've made up their mind) 2. Doesn't deal with stress well 3. Have problems admitting mistakes, discount facts, blame other people 4. Expect other people to soothe them by doing what they want 5. Make decisions based on what feels good in the moment 6. Subjectively analyze things (based on how they feel rather than what is actually happening) 7. Egocentric without joy or openness (more from the perspective of insecurity and pain) 8. Likes to be the center of attention 9. Have intense but shallow emotions 10. Have low empathy / are emotionally insensitive (have a good ability to read other people's intentions and feelings but are superficially sentimental at most) I've had both friendships and partners that resemble these traits and I understand why they were drawn to me. As more of an internalizer personality, I gave them a way to calm their stress down and make them feel like the center of attention. However when people are like this, they don't learn to self-reflect or consider how their actions / lifestyle contributed to their problems. Unfortunately being accommodating to people like this can be learned behavior from managing your parents with these same types of behaviors. The point of this book is to let go of the dream that your parents or anyone in your life will change because you want them to. Be discerning of people and keep an eye out for people that can provide emotionally happy and reciprocal relationships rather than repeating learned behavior.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rishab Katoch

    Now many of us can trace the root cause of issues we struggle with as adults to our childhood. Often times we have our physical needs fulfilled while our emotional needs as children left a lot to be desired for especially if the parent is himself/herself emotionally immature. In this book, author Lindsay Gibson explains through various types of emotionally immature parents and the different ways children react to such parents i.e. internalisers and externalisers. This is followed by how one can Now many of us can trace the root cause of issues we struggle with as adults to our childhood. Often times we have our physical needs fulfilled while our emotional needs as children left a lot to be desired for especially if the parent is himself/herself emotionally immature. In this book, author Lindsay Gibson explains through various types of emotionally immature parents and the different ways children react to such parents i.e. internalisers and externalisers. This is followed by how one can work to break old role selfs we develop as children to fit in with our parents and which might not serve the purpose anymore or might simply be toxic. Full of practical advices this book should greatly help anyone who wishes to work on issues they struggle with and can trace it's origins in their childhood experiences.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Russelle

    Wow! Very insightful to the point that I think the author followed my mom around and took notes for the book. In all seriousness, very eye opening.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dorotea

    I’m not sure that the knowledge that their hurtful behaviour is unintentional helps. However, this book was helpful in accepting the reality of the relationship with my parents. I now notice and understand their behaviour more clearly. It also sheds some light on why I loved some stories as a child, stories that at the core were about how children must fend for themselves after their parents have neglected or abandoned them. I was already familiar with many of the effects of EIP on children beca I’m not sure that the knowledge that their hurtful behaviour is unintentional helps. However, this book was helpful in accepting the reality of the relationship with my parents. I now notice and understand their behaviour more clearly. It also sheds some light on why I loved some stories as a child, stories that at the core were about how children must fend for themselves after their parents have neglected or abandoned them. I was already familiar with many of the effects of EIP on children because there’s an overlap with type 9s in enneagram theory, who often feel unseen by self-preoccupied parents and end up assuming role-selves and neglecting their own needs. So, my journey towards free self-expression began earlier and I can now say that I am better (but with big room for improvement) at being myself, expressing and taking care of my needs, asking for help, and sustaining emotional connections. Yet, I still cling to the healing fantasy that they will change. I still hope my dad will prosper without my mom’s influence (there’s evidence of partial, but not sufficient, improvement). I still hope my mom will eventually embark on a journey of self-reflection. I know I should suspend contact, set limits and move towards a relationship of relatedness. But I’m not sure of what I want. If I can’t have emotional intimacy from them, then what purpose could there be for having a working rapport? I don’t know what level of relationship might be possible. There’s decent prospects with my dad, while with my mother sometimes the situation seems hopeless, especially since it’s not just emotional immaturity, but it’s full-on narcissism. I only know that I want to be okay.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    During this pandemic, I am reading books that fall under the category Problems I Don't Have. (Other books I've read recently feature problems such as marrying someone and finding out you can't stand them, piracy, and being beheaded.) This book made me so happy that I grew up with parents who were interested in me and cared about my inner life, even though I was sometimes exasperating. Anyway, this book is full of practical advice on how to respond (or not respond) to the emotionally immature peop During this pandemic, I am reading books that fall under the category Problems I Don't Have. (Other books I've read recently feature problems such as marrying someone and finding out you can't stand them, piracy, and being beheaded.) This book made me so happy that I grew up with parents who were interested in me and cared about my inner life, even though I was sometimes exasperating. Anyway, this book is full of practical advice on how to respond (or not respond) to the emotionally immature people in our lives. I especially enjoyed learning about emotional contagion—the idea that instead of self-reflecting or self-soothing, emotionally immature people act like small children, radiating anger or sadness until somebody does something about the problem, infecting everyone around them with their bad mood.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natsu

    Give this book a try if 1. you have unresolved issues from childhood that you carry to this day 2. the title of this book rings a bell 3. you think you have done everything imaginable to fight long-term depression, anxiety, or any other mental conditions, but they do not seem to go away 4. you blame yourself for the predicament you are in 5. you come from a dysfunctional family, and now you are a parent This book can be a life-saver. It was for me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Robins

    This is an EXCELLENT book if you deal with emotionally immature people. The emphasis is obviously on adult children recovering from poor parenting but it was applicable in so many areas of my life. Just.Wow.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megha Bhargava

    “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 behaviour, 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.” It took me a lot to realise this on my own, with help, of course. Lord, Oh Lord! If only I had landed this book “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 behaviour, 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.” It took me a lot to realise this on my own, with help, of course. Lord, Oh Lord! If only I had landed this book a few years earlier. Guilt is a very strong underlying force that makes you say and behave in ways you might not actually want to. It is often difficult to comprehend the inner workings of your mind that are fuelled by emotions and unmet needs that you consciously or subconsciously kept on repressing. Many years ago, a friend said to me "People do not really change, they just become more of who they are. If they behave in an unpredictable manner, it may be because they have not been in that situation before." A lot of things that he said to me at different times have stayed with me over the years; this one tops the list. It made me believe that there is a likely possibility I may never be able to overcome some personal challenges for they were what I am and people don't change, really. But they grow, and they come out of their 'role self', identifying their 'true self' only to break out of the shackles of the past. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents talks about how your parents [and it indeed is difficult to observe them objectively] may have had a much greater role to play in your adult lives than you might think. One may have heard phrases like "We accept the love we think we deserve" which is derived from the theory that people tend to choose partners who are eerily similar to their parents or people who may have had a significant role to play in their formative years, people they depended on emotionally while growing up. Lindsay C. Gibson corroborates such statements and more, in a very simplistic and a matter-of-factly manner without being too preachy. The book simply states, informs and provokes you to think about incidences where you may have felt emotionally drained because someone [you can analyse what the book says with respect to any emotional conflict in your life, not just the ones with your parents] took a lot more from you than you were ready to sacrifice; or emotionally needy. This is one aspect of the book where I think the author could have shed a little more light- on how to identify these behaviours in your own self and not just others. A chapter or two dedicated on how to unpack the baggage you carry because of your wrongdoings so as to speak would have made this book perfect, if there is something as a perfect book. People spend a lot of well invested time in therapy- weeks, months, years to unload and process things they have been through, to tide over a current crisis or to understand why they find themselves in conflicts so often. It takes time, a lot of time to identify patterns in your behaviours and those of your loved ones which may lead you to behave in a certain way. I would not say that a reading of this book is equivalent to all that but it is close. And it will definitely take more than one read to perhaps understand the nuances of it all. I will surely come back to it a few weeks later when I'd have processed some of the things written in it, only to understand things I may have misconstrued or missed during this reading. When you are going through a breakdown, you may want to realise that there is a lot happening underneath the surface. You need to ask yourself what is actually breaking down and what exactly are you grieving about [taken from Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, another gem of a creation]. Only when your vision is cleared of your pre conceived/pre formed notions about yourself and others, will you be able to see your true self. Do not take emotional distress just as an end, it may mean a beginning of a greater realisation. Personal Growth is a lot of work. It is. Books like these might make the process a little easier if not more. Remember, your goodness as a person isn’t based on how much you give in relationships, and it isn’t selfish to set limits on people, even if you love them. *** A word of caution- you may think that the book implies you are right in thinking something is wrong with others and that is causing you to struggle. It might seem as if you are being told that you are right and your behaviour is dependent on how others have treated you. If you have a habit of believing so, you might not be the right audience for it, but of course, you're the best judge.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Travel Writing

    Just.Wow. I may have lifted that from another reviewer, but it is appropriate to say it a couple more times in reference to this work. Gibson writes a book so practical and clear that anyone who has dealt with an emotionally immature person will repeatedly say, "Oh yep. Yeah. That's happened. Oh, and that. I always felt that way and couldn't pin it down, but there it is." I am going to give it a few days and read it again. It truly is that useful and practical. Just.Wow. I may have lifted that from another reviewer, but it is appropriate to say it a couple more times in reference to this work. Gibson writes a book so practical and clear that anyone who has dealt with an emotionally immature person will repeatedly say, "Oh yep. Yeah. That's happened. Oh, and that. I always felt that way and couldn't pin it down, but there it is." I am going to give it a few days and read it again. It truly is that useful and practical.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abantika Bhattacharjee

    This book has answered many questions I always had. You need to read this if you have/had parents who think providing physical safety & taking care of a child's physical needs are the only thing that matters. This book have explained why my sibling and I have two opposite personalities despite of having the same emotionally immature parent, why I give more than I receive etc. Firstly it explains the signs of emotionally immature people, then it gives brief description of types of immature parent This book has answered many questions I always had. You need to read this if you have/had parents who think providing physical safety & taking care of a child's physical needs are the only thing that matters. This book have explained why my sibling and I have two opposite personalities despite of having the same emotionally immature parent, why I give more than I receive etc. Firstly it explains the signs of emotionally immature people, then it gives brief description of types of immature parents, how they affect their children and as a consequence what kind of personality they develop as they become adult. It also explains how to deal with your immature parents,how can you break free from the patterns you have carried into adulthood as a consequence of being subjected to emotional neglect. Felt a lot more emotionally aware after finishing this. "Understanding your past and embarking on a new future can be a bittersweet process. Shining a light on what happened to you and how it affected your choices can stir up sadness about what you’ve lost or never had. That’s the way light is. It shines on everything, not just the things we want to see. When you decide to uncover the truth about yourself and your family relationships, you may be surprised by what’s revealed, especially when you see how these patterns have been passed down through the generations. Sometimes you may wonder whether all this knowledge is for the best. It may even seem as though it would be better not to know. Ultimately, it depends on what you value about life. Is seeking the truth and self-knowledge an important and meaningful pursuit for you?" If you answered "yes" then definitely recommended :)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn

    Excellent book. Totally on with everything, at least as far as my life is concerned. It's a little thin on coping advice, I would say, which is the only reason why I would give it 4 stars. The DBT-style emotional observation technique is useful, but if you are required to have frequent contact with your parent for whatever reason, it might be useful to have more than one tool in your toolbox. I understand that the same author has a new book coming out and I would be interested in reading it as w Excellent book. Totally on with everything, at least as far as my life is concerned. It's a little thin on coping advice, I would say, which is the only reason why I would give it 4 stars. The DBT-style emotional observation technique is useful, but if you are required to have frequent contact with your parent for whatever reason, it might be useful to have more than one tool in your toolbox. I understand that the same author has a new book coming out and I would be interested in reading it as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    S.

    This is such an important book for people who grew up with psychological abuse/neglect. It's okay to read it after your parents are deceased, though it addresses interacting with living parents. And... this app is insane. Why didn't it indicate that I read this book? And why is there only a rating choice of one star?!? This is such an important book for people who grew up with psychological abuse/neglect. It's okay to read it after your parents are deceased, though it addresses interacting with living parents. And... this app is insane. Why didn't it indicate that I read this book? And why is there only a rating choice of one star?!?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arwa

    It took me forever to finish but it was so worth it I feel validated!! Imo everyone should read this book because even if I couldn’t relate to certain parts they were still beneficial to learn

  28. 4 out of 5

    Siobhain

    Additional thoughts from second reading March 2020 I got so much from this book the first time that I did not wait to reread it but started it up immediately. I was getting so many great insights again so I slowed down my second reading to just a couple of pages a day, taking extensive notes as I read. Upon completion, I reread all the notes prior to writing this review. Once again this was a painful read. At times I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach as I had to admit to myself my own im Additional thoughts from second reading March 2020 I got so much from this book the first time that I did not wait to reread it but started it up immediately. I was getting so many great insights again so I slowed down my second reading to just a couple of pages a day, taking extensive notes as I read. Upon completion, I reread all the notes prior to writing this review. Once again this was a painful read. At times I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach as I had to admit to myself my own immature tendencies. I would sometimes have to take a break from the book for a few days as I went through a short time of mourning the person I thought I was and accepting the more accurate vision of myself revealed in the book. Being a member of Al-Anon was a hugely helpful at these times as one of the 12 steps is to humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. I don't have to make myself into an emotionally mature person on my own. In God's timing and with God's help, I will make progress. Without this I think the book would have overwhelmed me in sorrow. I accepted in the first reading that I couldn't make the emotionally immature people in my life mature. This reading helped me to grow in sympathy for those people. Before reading this book, I had read online that no one chooses to be emotionally immature. This was a comfort and explanation of sorts that was helpful. However, this time I felt like I got them better and was sorry for the life experiences that limited their ability to mature. Some great aspects of the book not mentioned before include that most of the concepts are illustrated with personal stories from the clients of Dr. Gibson. The book has a link to online resources so that the surveys and questionnaires in the book can be printed, especially helpful if multiple copies are needed to assess more than one person. The last chapter "How to Identify Emotionally Mature People" is a goldmine in itself. Dr, Gibson even gives recommendations related to people one meets online. I can't recommend this book too highly. I may not reread Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents from cover to cover again, but I am sure that I will refer back to it often. Review of first reading July 2019: I found this to be very insightful, and it explained to me a lot about the choices I have made in my life. It was a very humbling read as I fit both sides of the coin: adult child of emotionally immature parents and, in many more ways than I wanted to see, an emotionally immature parent. I will definitely reread this as I am sure that a lot didn't soak in the first time through the book. The only drawback of the book for me was its lack of a Christian perspective. Leaving relationships, both spousal and parental, because of the emotional immaturity of the other person was too much encouraged. For this reason, I considered lowering the rating to 4 stars but decided not to. The author in no way described herself as Christian or pretended to give any advice influenced by Christianity or any religious persuasion. This is one of those books where the author knows her field well and presents the "logical" conclusions of what might happen in relationships where someone comes to an understanding of this background in their life. A dedicated Christian can easily adapt the information into their life scheme and commitments with more hope than the author would think to suggest.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    A good co-worker of mine bounced up to me excited, shoving this book in my hand, and said,"Gurrrrl, if your Filipino mom is anything like my Filipino mom, then you should read this. It's amazing and so true." So I read it and really liked it! I appreciate the discussion it created between my husband and me, as the book breaks down emotionally immature parents into four categories. His mother was clearly two strong categories and my mother was of the other two, and as a result we both were shaped A good co-worker of mine bounced up to me excited, shoving this book in my hand, and said,"Gurrrrl, if your Filipino mom is anything like my Filipino mom, then you should read this. It's amazing and so true." So I read it and really liked it! I appreciate the discussion it created between my husband and me, as the book breaks down emotionally immature parents into four categories. His mother was clearly two strong categories and my mother was of the other two, and as a result we both were shaped completely differently, amongst other cross cultural reasons. What I took away was appreciation for my younger self recognizing a lot of this early on, and identifying how I work with my emotionally immature parent as an adult child, and how I separate myself. I appreciated the details of how children mature in different ways at young ages, in order to cope with these parents. I for sure will read this again if ever I become a parent. The one thing I skimmed over were the little exercises peppered throughout the book, as I'm not a fan of those, and I was able to easily identify the conclusion the writer was trying to guide readers to. Overall, it's a heavy but really easy read! I even told my therapist about it and she wrote down a little note to check it out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aron Strong

    Helpful for individuals who grew up without the love and affection every child needs, Gibson does a great job describing how emotionally wounded and stunted people behave toward their children. The book is full of compassion for children of emotionally distant and/or emotionally abusive parents. However, in her desire to empathize with adult children, Gibson stigmatizes broken parents by minimizing them to purely their maladaptive attachment strategies. It's as though her compassion for adult ch Helpful for individuals who grew up without the love and affection every child needs, Gibson does a great job describing how emotionally wounded and stunted people behave toward their children. The book is full of compassion for children of emotionally distant and/or emotionally abusive parents. However, in her desire to empathize with adult children, Gibson stigmatizes broken parents by minimizing them to purely their maladaptive attachment strategies. It's as though her compassion for adult children created a prejudice against these parents. Gibson's work would be well served with a subsequent edition or follow up book that includes current research on ACE's (adverse childhood experiences) and its effect on adulthood, then linking these outcomes to her research on how these effects can be expressed in parenting. Understanding the source of the attachment strategies of broken parents, discovering how to draw appropriate boundaries that allows adult children to continue to engage their parents without remaining enmeshed with them or cutting them off, and how to approach forgiving broken parents are areas this book lacks.

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