If a man displays these 6 subtle behaviors, he probably lacked affection growing up

Generally speaking, our formative years are a big deal. 

They represent the time in our lives when our core traits and identities are mostly determined. 

So if you lacked affection in your formative years, this will naturally have an effect later in life. 

Men who were never hugged or praised growing up, for instance, may end up subconsciously acting out in ways that confuse those around them. 

Maybe they’ll overcompensate, or maybe they’ll act excessively cold and aloof. 

When it comes to deciphering male behaviors, there’s always an explanation… a sentiment that is often rooted in childhood. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the behaviors of men who lacked affection growing up. 

Hopefully, these insights provide you with some clarity. 

Let’s get to it! 

1) He has difficulty expressing raw emotions

My dad was raised by an emotionally frigid woman. 

Now don’t get me wrong, my grandmother was an incredibly kind woman… but there is no debating that she was emotionally distant

Hence, growing up, while my old man was friendly, when it came to discussing emotions and feelings, he would shy away, often appearing physically uncomfortable by it. 

We always had a good relationship, but we rarely got to discuss and share our feelings intimately; interactions were often kept surface-level, which, while not ideal, is something I learned to live with. 

As humans, we sort of tend to fear what we don’t know. 

So if you lacked affection growing up, this will likely persist far into adulthood. 

Usually, you’ll end up emotionally guarded, struggling to communicate feelings, or appearing emotionally distant and detached, which can restrict the quality of your relationships. 

2) He has a frequent need for validation 

Good, responsible parents make their children feel special; they make them feel validated

A lot of my friends have kids now… and I notice them sometimes setting those kids aside to provide them with reassurance and validation. 

This is healthy. 

If you lacked affection and validation as a child, you’ll tend to subconsciously look for it later in life, in various ways. 

Maybe you’ll sleep around and be promiscuous, jumping from relationship to relationship without truly emotionally connecting. 

Maybe you’ll post excessively and overshare on social media and get hooked on likes and positive feedback, however fleeting. 

Maybe you’ll get needy in your relationships, your appetite and insatiable quest for validation invariably turning the other person off.

3) He’s a bit of a people-pleaser 

In other cases, a lack of validation can result in people-pleasing tendencies

Your need for approval overwhelms everything else… and thus, you feel a strong desire to please others and be in their good graces–a way to compensate for affection missed as a child.

When others inevitably catch on (and they do), they can take advantage, trampling over any personal boundaries you may (or may not) have. 

And you sit back and allow it to happen… anything to satisfy your never-ending thirst for approval and validation is permitted.  

4) He has low self-esteem

The main reason you should be affectionate to your kid is to build their confidence. 

You want them to feel loved and special, which will naturally make them feel wanted… and confidence will naturally follow. 

In principle, the opposite is true: when you grow up with minimal affection, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth later in life. 

Your foundations are thin because you rarely got that positive reinforcement during your formative years. 

Not good. 

These feelings of low self-esteem can manifest as a heightened sensitivity to criticism. 

Maybe you’ll react strongly to criticism or negative feedback, taking it as a personal affront or attack rather than an opportunity for genuine change and improvement.  

5) He tends to avoid intimacy 

Like my father before me, I’ve had my struggles with emotion and intimacy throughout my life. 

The latter has mostly been true because I was raised by my dad, who as you know by now is a very unaffectionate person. 

When I was younger, I was quite literally incapable of forming close romantic bonds… perhaps to an extreme regard.

For example, I wouldn’t often be able to go out with the same person more than twice. 

As soon as things got remotely affectionate, I’d abruptly disappear, cowardly making excuses for my absence until the other person got the hint. 

In hindsight, the prospect of intimacy terrified me, so I subconsciously did what I could to avoid getting close to others, emotionally and physically. 

And though I’ve since made strides since those days, I still find myself occasionally struggling or feeling guarded when dealing with affection. 

Trust me, unlearning deeply ingrained behaviors is no walk in the park. It’s a day-to-day battle. 

6) He can be overly independent 

A lack of affection growing up can result in some extreme overcompensating. 

A man will sometimes fill the void left by an unaffectionate upbringing by acting overly self-reliant. 

He’ll use this dormant energy to become extremely independent, to prove to everyone, including himself, that he doesn’t need them to thrive in life, that he can do everything on his own. 

His convictions will often be so strong that he’ll consider things like asking for help as a sign of weakness. 

This disposition ultimately stems from a need to protect himself from potential hurt… the hurt and disappointment he periodically experienced as a child, whether consciously or not. 

Final words 

Though it’s hardly ideal, men who lacked affection growing up don’t generally turn out to be inherently bad people. 

They may just struggle in certain aspects of life, particularly relationships. 

But as avoidable as these things are, they’re just as fixable. 

I know from experience that while you are strongly influenced by your formative years, they don’t have to permanently define you. 

So if you have a man in your life who is emotionally unavailable or guarded, don’t fret. 

Change is always a distinct possibility… if he is open to it. 

So sit him down, air out your concerns, and guide him through the process. You got this. You both do. 

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