Resensi Buku: Adult Children from Emotionally Immature Parents

To be a better person keeps being my resolution or hope every year, I never skipped this hopes on New Year or in my birthday.

But first, before being a better person I have to understand myself and work on things that I am lacking. Later on when I reach older age I realise that I become who I am right now was shaped by a lot of things in my life. Including how I behave to other people, my social cluelessness, and my non-empathetic behaviour. One of the factor is that I have dealt with immature parents so that I also feel at some point of my life, I am also emotionally immature.

I finally found the answer to my curiosity when someone on the internet recommended this book. Why did my parents impose expectations to me? Why did my parents act as they were? And why I grew up with this kind of behaviour. I need to sort my own trauma and recognise what is the the sole reason I grew up being an annoying person to some people or become so thoughtless in taking action and decision.

Adult Children from Emotionally Immature parents is written by a psychologic named Lindsay C. Gibson. The book is written based on the story she compiled from her clients who underwent similar situation, the children that struggled with their daily lives and emotion when they’re already an adult. Reading this book, I felt I am not alone. Even in Western country and parenting culture, there are still people who acted immature in raising their children.

Then Lindsay defined on her book about immature parents, they are parents who avoid intimacy, rarely acknowledge the emotional needs of their children, and that they reverse the role of adulting to their children because they haven’t done working on their own behaviour. These immature parents are the product of trauma generated from the previous generation. Immature parents didn’t break the cycle of trauma and passing it down to the next generation. As I understand I grew up on traumatised parents which also left deep trauma for myself, this book has helped me identify my own trauma and work to resolve it. Therefore, I won’t pass it down to my children if I ever have one.

The book first describe the behaviours and actions the emotionally immature parents then it completes the narrative with real case study and supported by empirical evidence to support the arguments. This make this book feels convincing because it is also backed by science. And that cases of emotionally immature parents can appear in various cases and in various backgrounds.

After giving enough explanation of how emotionally immature behave and what reason may lie as the root cause, Lindsay asked us to identify ourself and explain that the result of emotionally immature parents will result in two types of children: the externaliser and the internaliser. The externalisers tend to seek validation and emotional support outside themselves, while the internalisers mostly described to posses low self-esteem, self-blaming, and people pleaser. When reading this book, I feel like I fell into both categories. At some point, I wanted somebody else to put me as their priority as a result of the absence of love and attention from my parents. I also want to be someone who keeps providing sense of protection even it is unwanted because I want to be loved.

When I reached my late twenties, I realise that my attachment style is chaotic/unorganised-avoidant. It means that I tend to push people away, avoid intimacy, and being unclear to speak what I really want to somebody else. My habit to give silent treatment or not communicating clearly on top of my social cluelessness are immature. Thanks to this book that I now know how to sort my immature behaviour as the results of my childhood trauma.

And to realise that this is not just me to blame for growing as this kind of person has assured me to fix myself. My homework is still a lot and I still have to keep learning until I reached older age. But I am glad that I happened to discover this self-guide to be a better person. The book gives us guide to be more mature by: teaching us to sort out and discover our own emotion before taking it out on others, emotionally mature person knows what they want and set a clear outcome of their respond for other people’s immature behaviour, and it is important to acknowledge other person’s emotion although we also need to draw boundaries and let go of something that doesn’t resonate with us.

In several cases, I have reached that emotional maturity but at some other cases I still need to work out the way I speak my intention to other people. I have sinned a lot. I have been annoying and made lots of mistake for these past years. Reading this book gave me sense of enlightenment, to maintain my own individuality yet to be considerate and manage my emotion so I won’t repeat the same mistakes my parents did to me. It is still a long way for me to be ready to be a decent parents but this book is a helpful guide which I can re-read again if I forgot how to be a better person. So I hope by reading this review, you who experience similar circumstances as me, can be enlightened too. We’re all the same page in this. But things will eventually work out as long as you keep your mind open and try to let go of things that doesn’t serve your way.

Thank you Lindsay, this book is really great and well-written.