It’s a strange world inside the emotionally immature parent, one that you yourself probably cannot imagine living in. What motivates the immature parent is fear and control. This is because they live life from the perspective of an unattached child who has never figured out how to have deep relationships with anyone. They are anxiety-ridden no matter how confident they seem, and will do whatever it takes to come out on top of any interaction. Forget about operating in good faith – they just want to keep safe by putting their walls up. The quieter, more passive ones are not so controlling, but if you look at their behavior you will see that they are careful about how close you can get to them in any interaction. They won’t open up to real connection any more than the more controlling ones do.
By diagnosing and understanding the traits of their immaturity, you can tease out what is your part and what are their own issues. This is hugely important because the immature parent is all about blaming others in order to keep their own self-esteem intact. If you misread them as mature and think their behaviors are well founded, you will end up feeling terrible about yourself. It’s much better to understand whom you are dealing with.
Diagnosing your parent’s level of maturity has nothing to do with your love or feelings for them. The purpose of diagnosis is to have things make a little more sense. As you get your head around this diagnosis of emotional immaturity, it will ultimately add to your peace of mind. Instead of thinking they could give you the kind of love and validation that you want if only they would try, you can evaluate what they do have to offer. You can shift from believing that they could if they wanted to, and start realizing that they won’t because they can’t. Accurate diagnosis enables you to enjoy what you have with them without expecting them to be more like you.