There are lots of myths surrounding the issues of maturity and immaturity. People don’t like being pigeonholed or labeled. Each and every one of us is such a unique mixture. We are both ignorant and wise, childish and conscientious, and all of it simultaneously. However, each characteristic stands out more than the others at different points in time.
We could define emotional immaturity as a condition where a person hasn’t given up the desires or fantasies of their childhoods. These desires and fantasies have to do with them being the center of the universe. They can also even involve “bending” reality to be what they want.
In the same line of thought, emotional maturity could be defined as a state of emotional strength and self-control which leads to realistic and balanced behavior.
“Maturity appears when we start to worry more about others than about ourselves.”
Maturity and immaturity are both seen in behavior better than an abstract definition. Below, we’ll go through a list of five traits characteristic of emotionally immature people.
1. Emotionally immature people are egocentric
A lot of growing up consists of understanding that the world does not revolve around you. A baby does not understand this fact. This is why he cries for food at 2am and doesn’t care if he wakes up his parents. As he grows up, he learns he is not always going to get everything he wants. He also learns other people exist, with their own needs.
Maturing involves setting ourselves free from the chains of our ego. It means losing that illusion a baby lives in. A baby thinks needs and desires are met just by crying. Little by little we gain understanding, and that is when a whole new, beautiful world opens up.
The adventure of exploring other people’s worlds. And if everything goes well, we learn how to preserve our ego while doing so.
2. Emotionally immature people have trouble with commitment
One unmistakable sign of immaturity is difficulty with commitment. Kids have a hard time going without what they want at a given moment in order to achieve a more important goal in the long term.
If we give a marshmallow to a little kid and promise him we will give him another one later if he doesn’t eat the first one, the desire to eat the one he has in his hand right now will win.
As we mature, we learn that sacrifices and restrictions are a necessary evil in order to achieve our goals. We also learn that committing to an objective or even to a person doesn’t limit our freedom. It’s simply a condition we agree to for our long-term goals.
3. Emotionally immature people have a tendency to blame others
Children see themselves as beings controlled by others. They think that they don’t act on their own free will. They’re right to a large extent, since they’re still growing up and becoming a part of society. When children are young, they think that mistakes should lead to blame. They don’t care about the damage they have done. Instead, they only care about the punishment.
Growing up means letting go of that sweet irresponsibly. Maturing means understanding that we are the sole person responsible for what we do and what we fail to do. It means learning to recognize our mistakes and learn from them. And knowing how to repair the damage we do. Knowing how to ask for forgiveness.
4. Emotionally immature people have dependent relationships
For immature people, others are means to an end and not the end in themselves. In other words, immature people need others, as the means that they are. They don’t need others because they love them, but because they need them. Therefore they have tendency to have highly dependent relationships.
Autonomy is necessary for relationships based on freedom. However, the concept of autonomy is not clear to immature people. They may think doing what they want is autonomous behavior. But when the time comes to take responsibility for their actions, they need others to share or lighten the responsibility.
5. Emotionally immature people are irresponsible with money
Impulsivity is one of the most noticeable emotional trait of immature people. Many times, that impulsivity is expressed in how they manage their resources, like money. So since they’re only concerned with satisfying their desires, and as fast as possible, they don’t hesitate to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have.
Sometimes they take on crazy financial risks. They don’t objectively evaluate investments and have a hard time making long-term projections. Because of this, it is common for this type of person to find themselves in debt. And all of this just to satisfy their whims.
None of these traits of immaturity are there because of a conscious decision. Most of the time, they are there because of the individual’s childhood. They can also be the consequence of going through unfortunate things in life that have prevented them from growing.
If this is you, or you if know someone like this, it’s not about pointing fingers. What is truly important is to be aware that growing as a person can mean a better life.