If you recognize these 8 behaviors, you’re dealing with an emotionally juvenile adult

An emotionally juvenile adult sticks out for all the wrong reasons.

They’re usually the ones being purposefully awkward, refusing to see others’ side of things, and sulking rather than using their words like a big boy or girl.

It can be exhausting and overwhelming to deal with. Especially when they seem to have very little awareness of how they are.

Yet the truth is that we can all slip into juvenile behavior every now and then. 

If you recognize the following behaviors, you’re most likely dealing with someone totally lacking in emotional maturity.

1) They engage in tit-for-tat

If you’re not familiar with this expression it’s essentially about childish retaliation.

Let’s say someone unintentionally hurts you. They may have left you feeling let down or frustrated you in some way.

But rather than be honest and open about how you feel and how it has affected you, you seek revenge.

You want to get back at them, to teach them a lesson. You want them to hurt like you are hurting.

Being spiteful may make you feel temporarily better, but it’s an immature way to solve a problem.

Particularly because it doesn’t actually solve anything at all. In fact, it escalates it.

2) They do or say things without giving them enough thought

When I was a teenager I often landed myself in hot water. The prime reason was that I had a habit of running my mouth.

Of course, the real culprit is actually impulsiveness. This juvenile trait means we often lack the wisdom to pause for thought.

So we say the first thing that comes into our head.

This hastiness doesn’t just apply to the things we say, it also goes for the things we do.

It accounts for the recklessness often associated with youth.

As we grow emotionally we recognize that we have to be more mindful of our words and actions.

But sadly, that’s not something emotionally immature people have yet to do.

3) They always try to pass the blame on

Emotionally immature adults tend to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

That means if something goes wrong they’ll quickly declare “It wasn’t my fault”.

Rather than hold their hands up to their own flaws and failings, they make excuses.

This can be infuriating if you are trying to get them to grasp the impact of their actions.

Much like those trapped in victimhood, they may frequently blame others or be dismissive of their behavior rather than acknowledging their mistakes.

Needless to say, they try to avoid facing consequences at all costs. That means wriggling out of things in whatever way they can.

4) They largely look out for number one (aka themselves!)

Part of maturity involves cooperation and being able to consider the needs and wants of others.

When we’re children we tend to hate it when we don’t get our own way. We may protest that “it’s not fair” or “I don’t want to share, it’s mine”.

Let’s face it, even as adults we’d prefer to have things our way, but emotional maturity teaches us that’s not always possible.

Emotionally juvenile adults persist with their selfish approach.

They consistently put themselves before everyone else, even the people they say they care about most.

They don’t seem capable of seeing your side of things, as they lack the skill of empathy to do so.

This can put a strain on relationships when you feel like they’re only ever thinking about themselves.

5) They expect others to take care of them

There’s this funny meme floating around online of a dog walking alone with its leash in its mouth.

The caption reads:

“What being an adult feels like”.

It nicely sums up the burden we can feel in knowing that our life is 100% our own responsibility.

Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes. And of course, we all need the support and guidance of others along the way.

But there’s no getting around the fact that as a grown-up your wellbeing and actions are down to you.

It takes plenty of emotional independence to be able to do this. Not everyone has developed the right skills of self-validation, self-motivation, and accountability required.

In these instances, these adults will show a heavy emotional (and sometimes practical) reliance on others.

So they may frequently seek external approval, and they might seem reliant on others to boost their self-esteem.

Emotionally speaking, they never learned to stand on their own two feet.

6) They can’t seem to keep a lid on their emotions

phrases narcissists use to manipulate their partner If you recognize these 8 behaviors, you’re dealing with an emotionally juvenile adult

That’s not to say we should bottle things up. We need to find healthy ways to let it out.

But there is a right way of doing it and a wrong way.

Rather than calmly letting others know how they’re feeling, emotionally immature types tend to:

In short: They aren’t effective at managing or regulating their emotions.

Part of the reason for that may be that they never developed the self-awareness or emotional intelligence to recognize and analyze their feelings.

Without this understanding, their feelings take over, seemingly out of nowhere.

So you probably notice things like intense mood swings in them. Or that even small setbacks and disappointments can trigger disproportionate emotional reactions.

7) “Nah, nah, nah, nah I’m not listening”

Did you ever do this when you were a kid?

Someone said something you didn’t like. So you would stick your fingers in your ears whilst you recited out loud:

“Nah, nah, nah, nah I’m not listening”.

Emotionally juvenile adults still aren’t prepared to hear the things they don’t want to hear.

Whilst they may not go quite this far, you are all too aware that what you have to say falls on deaf ears.

I admit, I hate getting negative feedback from people. It understandably doesn’t feel good.

Yet for the sake of both our personal growth and greater cooperation, we have to be prepared to stay open to it.

Often those who haven’t yet developed emotionally can’t handle even the slightest constructive criticism.

They will instantly get defensive or try to shut you down.

8) They seriously show off to try to get your attention

Far from being a sign of arrogance, many of the motives behind boasting and bragging are quite sad really.

  • They desperately want to be liked and to impress
  • They have an inferiority complex and are trying to make themselves feel good enough
  • They want to be the center of attention to boost their low self-esteem

If we’re honest, we’ve probably all been guilty of a little bit of showing off on occasion.

When we want someone to think positively of us, it’s tempting to try to cast ourselves in a more positive light.

But if someone often displays this sort of behavior they clearly don’t realize how cringeworthy or desperate it can seem from the outside.

The reason being, they don’t have the emotional maturity to see how they are behaving and how others perceive it.

It’s all about developing emotional skills

Whenever I’m watching a quiz show and get stumped on a question, I always remind myself:

It’s only easy if you know the answer.

Meaning, what seems obvious to one person, isn’t to another because they haven’t learned it yet.

In many ways, the same goes for emotional maturity. It’s easy to get annoyed and frustrated by someone who seems to behave in juvenile ways.

Yet chances are, they simply haven’t grasped the skillset needed to grow emotionally.

Whether that’s because they don’t know how, or simply don’t want to will depend on the person.

Of course, they are an adult so it’s their responsibility to do it. Nobody will do it for them.

But the good news is, there are plenty of ways for them to better embrace and manage their emotions.

And if you’re having to deal with an emotionally juvenile adult it’s bound to take some patience, but there are also strategies you can use to help.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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