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To think life can be really hard if you have emotionally immature parents

(30 Posts)
ChowBloomingMein Thu 22-Sep-16 01:36:31

From my experience, and in my opinion etc - I think if your parents are emotionally immature - you usually have a rigid, fairly miserable upbringing. Emotionally immature parents do not have the maturity to be flexible with their children. Also they tend to use tactics like emotional blackmail to manipulate their children. Parents like this may or may not be high achievers professionally. This can often damage a child's future relationships as the quality of their relationships is often low - and they often form friendships and romantic attachments to abusers.

ChowBloomingMein Thu 22-Sep-16 01:37:33

Oh last thing on the subject - parents like this are likely to not have grown up emotionally from their own parents.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 22-Sep-16 02:34:30

Well, I'm no psychologist, but as a generalisation I think that's probably right.

I have one close friend whose parents are what I (and she) would call very emotionally immature, and it has affected her the way you say. She also says she doesn't feel emotionally 'safe' around them, even as an adult.

IWouldLikeToSeeTheseMangoes Thu 22-Sep-16 02:51:56

Definitely true. Guess because it affects the whole foundations of your self esteem and you grow up doubting yourself due to all the mind games (emotional blackmail etc ). Then you tend to struggle with relationships as like you say are drawn to the same patterns of being in that toxic dynamic of abuse by partners and it's familiar (subconsciously or not) but unhealthy. Messes up your whole sense of security in life as it's like the people who were meant to look after you unconditionally sent very mixed messages about your own worth from a young age.

MrsMook Thu 22-Sep-16 09:48:04

I was brought up by my grandparents as my mother was young when I was born. For practical reasons, I stayed in the family home when she moved out a few years later.

She has huge amounts of emotional baggage over many things, some quite significant, and some very trivial in the grand scheme of life.

I've ended up distancing myself from her as she tends to a very hot/cold approach. Since using mumsnet, I've recognised many narcissistic traits in her.

I know the circumstances of my upbringing will have contributed to her baggage, but I think that if I had always lived with her, that would have been detrimental to my emotional development. I have very stable relationships with friends and family, and she's struggled with everyone at some point. She's astute enough to keep one bridge in tact at a time, but that bridge will change around.

I was recently amused by the general sharing of one of those mother/ daughter memes that bears no resemblance to the relationship that she has with either her daughter or mother!

I'd like to think I turned out alright smile

ChowBloomingMein Thu 22-Sep-16 11:18:56

Thanks for all your feedback. Mangoes - you make a good point about the mixed messaging thing and MrsMook - yes it sounds that it was better for you and your mother to live apart. Glad things turned out alright for you.

Yorkieheaven Thu 22-Sep-16 11:25:06

Interesting op.

I had a male friend at 16 whose mother would openly cry if he didn't tell her he loved her when she told him numerous times a day.

She also climbed onto the school bus to kiss him goodbye once.

Poor kid.

I think emotionally immature is basically it's all about them.

Meadows76 Thu 22-Sep-16 11:30:07

Yes. I have a freind like this. She went on to have 3ds and a dd all of which have not been encouraged to achieve anything. They were never shown emotion in the way that I do with my dcs. She is a very practical person but struggled with the emotional aspects of life in general. He dh is even worse, he has grown into a real bully of a man. Her dd has met a guy who beats her but hangs around, luckily no children yet. He 3 ds all claim Jobseeker's Allowance and have no aspirations, what's worse is that she doesn't see it as being a problem (before anyone says it I am not getting at people in Jobseeker's so don't take that out of context)

2014newme Thu 22-Sep-16 11:33:14

Very true.

Chikara Thu 22-Sep-16 11:34:55

No-one thinks that they are emotionally immature themselves though - it is a judgement made by others.

I know I don't handle things well but am I emotionally immature? Am I damaging my children? Did my parents damage me? V difficult to say.

FWIW - and probably not a popular view on MN - I find the labelling unhelpful. It makes more sense to look at specific behaviour in the specific circumstances and, I believe, makes it more likely that a better way of dealing with things will evolve.

r2d256 Thu 22-Sep-16 11:35:02

My DM and grandparents came over to the uk in 1960 and loving as they were to me. Back then they spent more time and attention integrating themselves into society, learning English etc. My DGM was very "domineering" for lack of a better word over my DM she would read her diaries and they'd fall out often. Saying this my mum was also mothered and looked after (her and my DF divorced when I was 18mo) and she had never distanced herself from them. My DGF takes her food shopping on a Saturday still and he's in his mid eightys! My DM plays the fool and acts like a child at times, she gets upset when I don't laugh at things or jokes we used to share when I was five ! She was a fab parent growing up, always there for me and time to play but hasn't coped with me as an adult as I have a job of high responsibly now a DD and run my life as she never has. She failed 5 driving tests in the past and honestly it's believed that why should she learn ? She'd always have her parents to get her where she needs to be. I fear for the time that my DGF passes as I feel she'll be lost and have even promised him that we'll look after her. She's a lovely person but lacks confidence and it's quite sad reallysad

FlyingElbows Thu 22-Sep-16 11:40:24

Op your post reads like a thinly veiled essay question. Go and find the Stately Homes threads in the relationships section, your answers are all there, and they're extensive!

TheVirginQueen Thu 22-Sep-16 11:42:05

my parents good people but no insight no growth no reflection. Nothing like that. Ever

twocultures Thu 22-Sep-16 11:44:51

Yes I think so. Don't want to TMI but I'm currently questioning a great load of things about my upbringing. In so many ways as I was loved and cared for I'm considering all the situations I think my parents handled/approached very wrong and longterm I think it has massively affected my self esteem and self worth.

Chikara Thu 22-Sep-16 11:52:31

FlyingElbows - I also thought "essay question"

TheVirginQueen Thu 22-Sep-16 12:05:18

Maybe. It's also the kind of thought/question that is genuinely going through my head now that I am 9 years post abusive relationship. I've gone through many other stages to reach that question. Abusive relationship, tick. fighting for the right to be free of it and his opinion of me, tick. Researching abuse. Surviving, recovering, saving, tick. Finally taking risks. Them not working out. Figuring out why not. Self esteem repaired, tick, but my attachment style is not helping me. So research that. And my self-efficacy is only beginning to emerge now, having felt my self-esteem was ok for a good five years now on the grounds that I wouldn't take shit again. Well no I wouldn't but I still wouldn't take a risk. I was still triggered by men's ambivalence towards me.

So I relate with the question. Yes it could be an essay question. But that's honestly where my own thoughts are right now. Everything boiled down, pared back, de-personalised. I'm interested in the mechanics of why I felt the powerlessness I felt.

Are you writing an essay OP, or are you like me just realising that your parents' poor parenting of you is the root of everything!?

ethelb Thu 22-Sep-16 12:10:30

The biggest problem really is that people who don't realise this are pretty unpleasant to people who don't get on with their families.

Look at all the MIL threads on here with 'but it's his mum!' Comments. You will get that criticising your own parents too.

ChowBloomingMein Thu 22-Sep-16 12:17:57

No - it's definitely not an essay question - but I was aware on writing it that it reads rather formally - no - just me trying to sort out my own family stuff and analyse things.

TheVirginQueen Thu 22-Sep-16 12:52:46

In recent years I've depersonalised my thoughts too. It's become less a list of who did what to me and more an overview of parenting styles and the result of that on me.

IWouldLikeToSeeTheseMangoes Thu 22-Sep-16 16:57:31

That's understandable chow and TheVirginQueen. It's interesting to examine these things in a detached kind of way when you take the feelings out of it. As much as is possible! I think with the emotional blackmail etc often there's a lack of boundaries also and almost like the "immature" parent saw you as just an extension of them but at the same time often switched roles so as a child you felt you had to be the adult/parent almost if that makes sense. Then criticised decisions you did make as an actual adult to the point that you often question yourself still. For me that's how the mixed messages came across. Again trying to just look at it in an analytical way rather than seeming like I'm still bitter about it. Is what it is but definitely impacts on your life coping skills!

TheVirginQueen Thu 22-Sep-16 17:04:04

Yes definitely. I cannot tell my parents how much I earn because if I do they'll have an opinion on every little thing I buy (or every big thing). And screw their opinion! people might reasonably advise, except, their opinion has the power to take the joy out of things.

My parents don't understand the difference between gratitude and obedience. They have done things for me for which I am grateful and I wasn't reticent making that crystal clear. I have verbalised my gratitude many times, and done little things for them too. But when I didn't take their advice they perceived that to be 'disobedience'. They didn't think ''oh well we gave our 40 something daughter some advice and she went her own way". No, they got upset at my lack of gratitude. It was exhausting for me to have to explain to two people in their early 70s the difference between gratitude and obedience. They officially 'heard' me out but I also got told I was a tantruming brat in the process of making this clear.

Neither of them had parents when they were my age though so the necessity to erect and maintain a few reasonable boundaries is not something they've ever experienced.

JellyBelli Thu 22-Sep-16 17:08:13

YANBU. I've seen that damage pass to the third generation. The parents were hell, the daughter was as bad, and the grandchild ended up scarred and in care.
Shes practically a sociopath. Ahe has never heard a word of praise. All she got was critisicm. So she decided not to care and no one can reach her.

flippinada Thu 22-Sep-16 17:39:01

Totally agree, emotionally immature parents can do an awful lot of damage to a child.

yorkshapudding Thu 22-Sep-16 18:05:03

My MIL has the emotional regulation skills of a small child. When she does not get her own way she attempts to control/manipulate the situation by crying hysterically and takes everything very, very personally. She is also extremely needy and will lean on others to do things she is perfectly capable of doing herself.
Consequently, my DH never really had much of a childhood. He had to grow up quickly because his DM was very much the child in their relationship. Someone had to be the calm and reasonable and it always, always had to be him. That's a huge amount of pressure to place on a child.

He also felt that he was not allowed to express any negative emotions as family life so revolved around managing MIL's feelings that there was no room left for anyone else's. I am convinced that this is why he still struggles to talk about his negative feelings and will simply become very quiet and withdrawn if he is angry or upset, although this has gotten better over the years.

When I worked for child and adolescent MH services I saw many kids who were stressed and anxious because they were living with a parent/parents who had poor coping skills and were completely unable to regulate their own emotions. This would often result them unburdening themselves to their DC about their own anxieties or problems, leaning on them for the kind of emotional support that a child/teenager is simply not in a position to give, at least not without it being detrimental to the child and to the relationship in the long run.

Of course I'm not suggesting that parents shouldn't show any negative emotions in front of their kids. It's perfectly fine to do so, as long as they then see you managing those difficult emotions in a healthy, effective way. That's how kids learn that feelings are nothing to be scared of.

Sorry for the essay blush I find this stuff fascinating and could waffle on about it forever!

IWouldLikeToSeeTheseMangoes Thu 22-Sep-16 18:13:54

Can totally identify with that TheVirginQueen about gratitude and obedience. My parents would always take a huff if I went against their advice instructions and disliked when i did things my own way. But then often in a contrary fashion have had little patience or understanding for times in the past when I was struggling to cope with certain life situations. It was like they couldn't understand that I hadn't been given very good tools to work with and was doing my best! I'd say am stronger as a person for it in the long run but that's despite going it alone a lot and just having to parent myself in a way. Which probably sounds really wanky grin

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