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Unapologetically Sensitive

We explore how sensitivity weaves itself into our lives; the richness that it adds, and the strengths we have BECAUSE of our sensitivity--and some of the challenges it poses as well. You may learn to live a bolder, brighter life.

Mar 28, 2023

What is an Emotionally Immature Parent, and how to Identify a Healthy Relationship

Dr. Lindsay Gibson, author of Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, & Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents explains what an emotionally immature parent is, and how this impacts their adult children.  I talk about crying when I got overwhelmed when my kids were young, and Lindsay comments on this. We talk about how to establish good emotional ties with our children, and what constitutes good enough parenting, Lindsay provides nineteen qualities to identify what a healthy relationship looks like.


 Lindsay Gibson, PsyD.


·         What is emotionally immaturity?

·         Why is it important to understand it?

·         What are the main characteristics of an emotionally immature parent?

·         How do relationships with emotionally immature parents affect their children’s lives?

·         What are the main things to remember when dealing with emotionally immature parents?

·         If you’re dating, how do you pick a person who is emotionally mature?

·         How do you identify what a healthy relationship looks like?

·         What is our human Bill of Rights?

·         We talk about repair work when parenting

·         I share that I’d get really frustrated with my boys when they were young, and I’d cry because I didn’t know what else to do

·         Lindsay talks about how she views this

·         We talk about the pressures of parenting

·         Lindsay explains what good enough parenting is—which should be very reassuring to parents!

·         I share about having a tantrum when my son had a tantrum and how it felt lousy afterward

·         We’d do good repair work, but I eventually learned to stay calm

·         I would also let my boys know when I was edgy and close to losing it. I would let them know what they could do to help me.

·         They’ve told me as young adults how helpful this was to them

·         We talk about emotional intimacy with our children

·         How do we let ourselves be known by our children when we are having difficult feelings

·         How to establish good emotional ties with our kids in a good way

·         Winnicut talks about good enough parenting

·         Research shows that it just takes 30% of being a good enough parent in order to have a favorable outcome

·         Lindsay gives an example of how an adult child could set a limit with their emotionally immature parent if they decided not to spend Thanksgiving with the family

·         When adult children set limits with their emotionally immature parents, the parent feels rejected; unloved or they have a strong defensive reaction

·         When setting a boundary, you want to stay present to your own heart

·         You want to be able to have empathy and acknowledge what it is like for the other person

·         You want to remember what your goal is for the interaction, so your intention is clear for yourself

·         You also have an opportunity to observe how the other person is reacting, and the defenses that they use

·         Emotionally Healthy Relationships

·         Is the person generally realistic and reliable?

·         Do they work with reality rather than fighting it?

·         Are they finding ways to solve problems or are they complaining about how they’ve been victimized?

·         Do they have a consistent and reliable nature about them?

·         Do they take things personally?

·         When they get upset, can they still think? Do they lose the ability to be rational?

·         Signs of temper, impatience or impulsivity should be a red flag—those are cardinal signs of immaturity

·         Another red flag is when a person gets very upset, then tells you it’s just because they love you

·         You want your partner to be reciprocal; you do something for them and they do something for you

·         You set a boundary, and they say OK

·         If you set a boundary, and your partner tries to talk you out of it, or walk you out of it, that is two red flags

·         Boundaries at the beginning of the relationship will tell you almost everything you want to know about that person

·         Being flexible and able to compromise is a sign of maturity

·         You want someone who is basically truthful; that you can trust who they are

·         Does the person respond to you in a manner that you feel safe, and seen and heard?

·         Do they reflect on their mistakes and try and change, or do they make excuses?

·         Do they reflect when you tell them you’re mad at them, or do they say, “Why do you keep bringing that up? What’s wrong with you?”

·         If they can’t accept when you’re angry and they get defensive, that’s about having a major lack of empathy

·         Your partner is thin skinned meaning they do not allow other’s reactions to happen, because that person gets so reactive

·         Nobody is more intrinsically important as an adult than anybody else

·         They way that emotionally immature people react with guilt, shame, fear and self-doubt, can make the other person start to doubt their reality

·         This is where you have to remember that “There’s good stuff in me!”


 Lindsay Gibson, PsyD. has been a licensed clinical psychologist for over thirty years and specializes in individual adult psychotherapy with adult children of emotionally immature parents. She is the author of four books. Her book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents remains a #1 Amazon Best Seller. The follow up to this book is Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents, and the 2nd edition of her first book Who You Were Meant To Be has been recently released on Amazon. Her latest book, Self Care for Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, was just released in September 2021In the past Dr. Gibson has served as an adjunct assistant professor teaching doctoral psychology students.


Patricia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Coach.  She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller.  Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion.  She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other HSPs know that they aren’t alone, and that being an HSP has amazing gifts, and some challenges.  Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors us


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Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson