5 Signs of Low Emotional Maturity

#2: Gaslighting

Nick Wignall


Photo by Klaus Nielsen

As a psychologist, one of the biggest sources of chronic unhappiness I see in people’s lives is being married to someone with low emotional maturity.

I hear stories like this all the time:

  • At the slightest hint of criticism, he just clams up or gets defensive — he literally never admits to being wrong!
  • I just don’t understand how she can be so smart and successful but so oblivious when it comes to her feelings?
  • He was so funny and charming when we first met… I just wish I had realized then that he had the emotional intelligence of an 8-year old.

More and more, I’m convinced that one of the biggest “secrets” to happiness in life is to avoid partnering with someone who doesn’t have much emotional maturity.

Because here’s the thing:

No matter how intelligent, charming, or successful they are, it’s hard to live with emotionally immature people.

On the other hand, one of the best ways to improve your odds of being happy in life is to avoid partnering yourself with someone like this in the first place.

Learn to identify the signs of emotional immaturity early, and you’ll save yourself a lot of conflict and unhappiness.

1. They outsource emotional labor

Dealing with painful emotions is hard…

  • Volunteering to give that presentation even though your anxiety with public speaking is through the roof
  • Keeping your communication with your partner respectful even though you feel defensive and want to criticize back
  • Acknowledging and validating your grief after a breakup rather than numbing it out or distracting yourself from it

It’s not called emotional labor for nothing!

But like all hard things, our natural instinct is to avoid them…

  • Much easier to stay quiet, not volunteer for the presentation, and avoid all that anxiety.
  • Much easier to hit back at your partner with a zinger that boosts your own ego and…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com