Lindsay C. Gibson’s Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

The ability to feel mixed emotions is a sign of maturity.

I’m sure that I’ve read Lindsay Gibson’s Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents twice now. Many of the trauma books explain very similar concepts. Gibson is particularly good at providing facts and details. Due to current personal reasons, I am finding it challenging to write a good review of this book. More than anything it has to do with taking the time to deal with recurring flare-ups of trauma. The everyday triggers can never fully be eliminated. Adults with trauma live in a context of reality; we have to pay bills, we have to work, we must interact with individuals day in and day out. We often don’t have the luxury of living, working, and being constantly in healthy isolation. We rarely have the luxury of (social) consideration, in the sense that we often exist as an invisible population, esp. when we’re rather well-adjusted. Many of us are not veterans; we don’t get holidays or discounts.

Because emotionally immature people have little awareness of feelings and a limited vocabulary for emotional experiences, they usually act out their emotional needs instead of talking about them.

Interestingly, self-sufficient children who don’t spur their parents to become enmeshed are often left alone to create a more independent and self-determined life (Bowen 1978).

I’m a huge advocate of using writing as a form of therapeutic outlet. Writing helps expel the toxic. It gives the opportunity for errors that can be corrected in a safe way. The editing process helps refine what we feel/felt, how we should feel/have felt, etc. We can write anything, and mean only 5% of it. Or, we can write hardly anything and mean every word. We can write it down then burn it, or store it away never to be seen again. There is something therapeutic in the silence of it, the lack of utterance. Anyway, this book review reminded me of those Dua Lipa lyrics: “I got new rules. I count them. I gotta tell them to myself.” I always took that as the speaker keeping track of who breaks her rules; she’s making a list and checking it twice. Kind of like Arya Stark, you know?

“So how to define a successful person?” Answering his own question, he said, “I guess first of all, you get rid of ‘success’ – and then see who you are as a person.”

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