Internalizers and externalizers adult kids - dealing with emotionally immature parents

5 Jun 2023

Our upbringing plays a significant role in how we handle emotions and face challenges. Sometimes, we may not even realize that our parents exhibit emotional immaturity. However, growing up with emotionally immature parents can still shape our coping styles, making us internalizers or externalizers. Let's explore the key characteristics of these coping styles to help you understand which one resonates with you.

Internalizers: independent problem solvers

Internalizers tend to rely on themselves when dealing with emotions and difficulties.

[Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash]

Self-Reliant: Internalizers are used to depending on themselves to handle their emotions. They have learned to be independent because their parents may not have provided emotional support.
Holding Back: They may have learned to hide their emotions to protect themselves or avoid conflict. Internalizers find it challenging to express their feelings openly, even to people they trust.
Self-Reflection: Internalizers spend time thinking about their emotions and thoughts. They look inward for guidance and use self-analysis to navigate tough situations.

Externalizers: seeking validation and support

Externalizers, on the other hand, seek support and validation from others.

[Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash]

Seeking Validation: Externalizers look for validation and support outside themselves because they didn't receive enough emotional validation from their parents. They turn to friends, partners, or professionals for guidance and understanding.
Expressive: Externalizers are comfortable expressing their emotions openly. They value talking about their feelings as a way to process and connect with others.
Seeking Help: They actively seek external resources and support, such as therapy or support groups, to navigate their emotions and challenges.

Discovering your coping style: reflection is key

Understanding your coping style helps you develop self-awareness and healthy strategies. Consider these questions to determine your tendency:

💡Do you rely on yourself for emotional support and find solutions internally, or do you seek validation and guidance from others?
💡Are you more inclined to reflect on your emotions independently, or do you prefer talking about them with others?
💡Do you actively seek external help, such as therapy or support groups, or do you tend to manage your emotions on your own?

❗️Remember, these characteristics are general guidelines, and you might exhibit a mix of internalizing and externalizing tendencies. Reflecting on your experiences and seeking professional guidance can further your understanding of your coping style.

If you grew up with emotionally immature parents, know that your coping style was influenced by your environment, even if you didn't recognize it at the time. Prioritizing self-care, therapy, or support groups can help you heal and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Embrace your unique coping style, knowing that self-awareness empowers personal growth and resilience! ❤️

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1 Comment

We all were influenced by our parents because we've trusted them since we were born. As children, we are like sponges and we absorb everything. It's really important to analyze ourselves and understand what behaviours limit us and lead us to experience negative emotions. Thanks for sharing this reflection.