How do you deal with emotionally immature people?

How do you deal with emotionally immature people?

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This is a discussion on How do you deal with emotionally immature people? within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; I'm frustrated. I try to stay away from the chronically immature whenever possible, but it's not always easy to do. ...

  1. #1

    How do you deal with emotionally immature people?

    I'm frustrated. I try to stay away from the chronically immature whenever possible, but it's not always easy to do. I'm talking about adults here, people who by their age, I would expect to be more mature. These people generally shun responsibility, resent being accountable, get defensive, passive-aggressive, etc., and often have a sense of entitlement or feel the world owes them something without requiring any (or much) effort on their part. They are often very sensitive as well and perceive slights or criticism where there is none.

    What if circumstances are such that you can't avoid these people . What if in other respects, they have a lot going for them and you really like them as people, just not some of their behavior? How do you deal with the antics?

    Anyone else have trouble with this, or better yet, experience dealing with it?
    isthatheidi, darksoul and Berdudget thanked this post.

  2. #2

    I guess you would have to wonder why they were emotionally immature or what made them that way. I'd point it out to them because there's no way I'd ever bypass this if it weren't someone I was really close with it. There's no harm in self improvement. I'd probably point out then fix or tolerate.

  3. #3

    How I deal with one? I talk to them. If they are willing to work with me, then cool. Otherwise, it's not my job to fix them, and I feel I am in no position to elicit feedback unasked for. At the same time, I know it's hard not to think about it, but really, why give so much energy to those who drain you? Why not focus all that time and effort on something more positive?

    I know. Easier said than done, right?

    My answer is to take care of myself. In the end, that's all we can do. A person will not change unless they really want to, which also goes to the person who is also dealing with the negative situation. It's tough, but yeah, I ask myself how I am feeding into the situation myself.

  4. #4

    I'm sarcastic, cynical and cruel until they go away.
    lirulin, strawberryLola, The Unseen and 2 others thanked this post.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbite View Post
    I'm sarcastic, cynical and cruel until they go away.
    That doesn't work so well with family.
    angularvelocity thanked this post.

  6. #6

    If people are emotionally immature I try to just ignore their more annoying qualities and appreciate what good they have to offer. I can be immature in certain ways myself.
    angularvelocity thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Good question. It seems like the more emotionally healthy I am, the easier it is to deal with other's immaturity. I'll be more inclined to choose the words I say carefully (in a less emotionally charged way), when I should leave the room to cool down, and get offended less often. Since we can't control other people's behavior, the only thing we can do is adjust how we react in the moment.

  8. #8

    I agree with Walkingtiptoed. As soon as you added that they were family, my mind started flipping through snapshots of experiences. When it's someone I care for deeply and can't write off (I wish I was capable of more writing-off, btw. I think I'd have have less muscle tension. lol), I try earnestly to prepare myself mentally before having to interact with them by releasing expectations and replacing them with positive intentions on my part such as 'I intend to remain at peace when I talk to this person today. I intend to let their reactions, whatever they are, be simply interesting - something to observe. I intend to let this person be at their own level of emotional maturity.' I am only capable of following through on this if my own mental and emotional stores are full, which isn't often right now since I am a little overwhelmed by my small children. It's liberating to have a certain level of maturity and also frustrating when not everyone can be there with you to return the favor. It can be lonely sometimes. I can only imagine what life is like for people with so much more wisdom and practiced patience than myself. I cringe to think what they see when they look at me.
    napoleon227 and WalkingTiptoed thanked this post.

  9. #9

    I thank you all for your comments, I appreciate them. I'm quite aware of the fact that I can't control anyone's behavior but my own and that I should always remain calm and collected and try to be classy, etc., no matter what the other person does. It's very easy to say that in theory but how exactly should one respond?

    Maybe an example will help: some friends (four or five) have an agreement to meet at one of the friends houses for dinner at 6pm. Your friend's house is a 30 minute drive, so you get ready at 5, drive out there and arrive on time but find no else there yet. You knock on the door, no answer. Doors open, so you go in, find the host was taking a nap, just woke up, the place is a mess and the dinner is not even started. You're really hungry so you look unimpressed. Your friend sees this asks if everything's OK (like, what would you be thinking?) - but you say nothing, to keep the peace. They insist, so you say, well look, I had to be ready a while ago and drive half an hour, and I'm really hungry, so how about we do this another time, I need to eat.

    If I were the host, I'd apologize... profusely. But this person can never admit to any wrongdoing, so starts getting very defensive, even though you haven't criticized, you're just hungry and unimpressed. Excuse this, excuse that, blah, blah... you say I'm gonna go get something to eat and even invite your friend with you. How nice.

    A week later your friend, now miffed that you prefer to make other dinner plans this week (?) blasts you via email and accuses you of "freaking out and making a scene" the week before "just because I was a little late, what's the big deal?!!" The "scene" they accuse you of making is almost entirely fictional.

    Now tell me, what's the appropriate reaction?

    You may be tempted to think, from my description, that this person is mentally unstable, but no, they are just immature. Instead of owning up to their part in the problem, they would rather defend their fragile ego (I'm assuming) by projecting onto you, to make you the bad guy, so they don't have to be.

    At the same time, this person is normally one of the coolest, most fun people to be around. Not evil, not psycho, just immature. It's not an easy answer.

  10. #10

    I have no doubt you know these things and likely practice them better than I do. It sounds very difficult. :(

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