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Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  9,564 ratings  ·  1,046 reviews
In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable.
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published May 10th 2016 by Tantor Media, Inc. (first published June 1st 2015)
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Kirsten Em Absolutely - very easy to read. Clearly set out in logical chapters with exercises and case studies interspersed to help illustrate practical applicat…moreAbsolutely - very easy to read. Clearly set out in logical chapters with exercises and case studies interspersed to help illustrate practical application of the advice given. Fantastic book. (less)
Gryffin One thing this book tries to tell is that people can not heal their parents. To keep yourself mentally healthy, you should detach from your parents or…moreOne thing this book tries to tell is that people can not heal their parents. To keep yourself mentally healthy, you should detach from your parents or make the border clear. So maybe this book cannot help heal the entire family.
Some sentences in this book do seem to assume the adult child is 100 percent mature. It's not always true (not true with me). But in my experience I agree with this idea. As an adult child, I am still easily emotionally affected by my parents, because they are my parents. Some kind of detaching from them helped me get more influences from other people, think independently and differently, and hopefully become a more emotionally mature person.
Whether it's about emotional maturity or not, it's hard to heal people if they don't think they have anything wrong.(less)
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Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
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
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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’
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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
Rhea (Rufus Reads)
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, nonfiction
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
Rosie Campos
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carrie Poppy
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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 ...more
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 ...more
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
Raven Rose
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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’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
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 ...more
Alexa White
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
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
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
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rachel Robins
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Travel Writing
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone

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.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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?!?
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aron Strong
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
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
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been hesitant to add all the self help/psychology books I've been reading lately since some of them feel a bit too revealing, but I decided to just say fuck it and put them up. This book was fantastic and I recommend it to anyone who has ever or will ever deal with emotionally immature people (i.e. literally everyone). It's laid out well, is easy to understand, and is very widely applicable since it doesn't focus on any specific clinical diagnoses. You should give it a shot if you're intere ...more
Laszlo Mag
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic piece of work. I've been stacking up on psychology books lately but this one gave me perspectives I haven't come across anywhere else. If you've been dealing with anxiety or any type of emotional distress for most of your adult life you might find some clues to the origins of your pain in this book. Some sections felt a bit thin and I would have loved to see the exercises dig a little bit deeper to facilitate further emotional awakening, but this book provided so many revelations and a ...more
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105 likes · 14 comments
“Because they’re so attuned to feelings, internalizers are extremely sensitive to the quality of emotional intimacy in their relationships. Their entire personality longs for emotional spontaneity and intimacy, and they can’t be satisfied with less. Therefore, when they’re raised by immature and emotionally phobic parents, they feel painfully lonely. If there’s anything internalizers have in common, it’s their need to share their inner experience. As children, their need for genuine emotional connection is the central fact of their existence. Nothing hurts their spirit more than being around someone who won’t engage with them emotionally. A blank face kills something in them. They read people closely, looking for signs that they’ve made a connection. This isn’t a social urge, like wanting people to chat with; it’s a powerful hunger to connect heart to heart with a like-minded person who can understand them. They find nothing more exhilarating than clicking with someone who gets them. When they can’t make that kind of connection, they feel emotional loneliness. From” 26 likes
“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 who keep on taking.” 22 likes
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