Narcissism or Emotional Immaturity — 6 Ways to Tell

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

Shift Blame

Emotionally immature adults won’t go deep in a relationship. They resort to shifting blame instead. They may say things like “I don’t understand how you can feel this way” if you express any deeper level of anything. Instead of responding with “What makes you feel this way?”, they will find reasons to point the finger at you. Before the update, I named this separately as having immature defenses.


Yes, narcissists do this too. It is better labeled as “gaslighting”. Narcissists are calculating. When they do this it is less likely to be an off-the-cuff lie. Narcissists gaslight by planting seeds of doubt, then doubling down on that narrative. It is a manipulative tactic the narcissist will use for control. Designed to make you doubt your self-judgment.


Specifically with gifts or affection. One common tactic of narcissistic behavior is known as love-bombing. Grand gestures of affection at the beginning of a relationship or in situations they feel like they are losing control over.

Struggle to Commit

This can present as poor impulse control (this is what I called this previously). They don’t think about or plan for the future. Often resorting to impulsive actions. Much like a child, they may behave recklessly when they feel threatened, hurt, or mad. Often resorting to impulsive actions. Mature adults can pause and think things through.

Emotional Take-Overs

Emotionally immature adults engage in zero to sixty emotional escalations. This is a result of their inability to go deep into a relationship. Often this includes shift-blaming and lying (as detailed above). They have no gauge for the range of human emotions.

They Don’t Discard

Narcissists discard but emotionally immature adults usually don’t. Again, narcissists are calculating and use people as a means to an end. When they no longer have a use for you, they dump you. It’s as if you never existed to them at all. They hoover, in an attempt to suck you back into their orbit. But after that, they drop you.

Resident black sheep. Generational trauma explorer. Survivor. Advocate. Old enough to have a skincare routine.

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