People who didn’t grow up with a supportive family usually display these 7 behaviors as adults

We all carry the imprints of our upbringing into our adult lives, don’t we? Especially those of us who didn’t have a supportive family growing up. It’s like carrying an invisible backpack of behaviors that often reveal themselves in our interactions with others.

Let me tell you, as a relationship expert and founder of Love Connection, I’ve seen these patterns more times than I can count. And it’s not about blaming or shaming, but about understanding.

Understanding these behaviors is important, not just for those who grew up without supportive families, but for everyone around them too. Because once we know better, we can do better.

In this article, we’ll delve into some common behaviors adults display when they didn’t have the support they needed growing up.

1) Difficulty in forming close relationships

Let’s face it, not having a supportive family growing up can be tough. And often, it affects our ability to form close relationships as adults.

You see, from a young age, our family serves as our first point of contact with the world, teaching us how to interact with others. Without that positive influence, it can be challenging to understand what healthy relationships should look like.

It’s like navigating through an unknown terrain without a map. You’re left to figure things out on your own, sometimes resulting in a few bumps and bruises along the way.

These individuals may struggle to establish deep connections or might even push people away out of fear of being hurt or rejected. It’s a protective mechanism, really.

Recognizing this behavior is key. Only then can we start to unpack it and pave the way for healthier relationships in the future.

2) Exceptional independence

Now, here’s a twist. People who grew up without a supportive family often exhibit an exceptional level of independence. Counterintuitive, right? But let me explain.

When you can’t rely on your family for support, you learn to rely on yourself. And this can lead to developing a strong sense of self-reliance and resourcefulness. You become your own cheerleader, your own support system.

These individuals can often tackle challenges head-on and are not afraid to take the road less traveled. They’re self-starters and can often thrive in situations where others may need a helping hand.

However, while independence is typically seen as a positive trait, when taken to the extreme, it can result in reluctance to accept help from others and missed opportunities for collaboration. It’s about finding that balance.

3) Tendency towards codependency

On the flip side, some people who didn’t grow up with a supportive family might swing the other way and develop a tendency towards codependency.

You see, when you’ve grown up without that essential emotional support, you might seek it out in your adult relationships. It’s like trying to fill a void, a longing for that familial love and acceptance you didn’t receive growing up.

This can lead to codependent behaviors where you might rely excessively on your partner for validation, happiness, and even your sense of self-worth. It’s a tricky situation that can lead to an imbalance in the relationship dynamics.

Now, I’ve explored this topic in greater depth in my book, Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. But for now, the gist is this: becoming aware of such behaviors is the first step towards change. It’s about understanding yourself better and learning healthier ways to cultivate love and support in your relationships.

4) Resilience in the face of adversity

Now, here’s something truly remarkable. Despite the challenges and hardships, individuals who didn’t have a supportive family growing up often develop an incredible resilience.

It’s like they’ve been through the storm and come out stronger on the other side. They’ve faced adversity early on, and this equips them with a unique ability to bounce back from difficulties in their adult life.

I remember a quote from the legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali, who said: “It’s not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” And I think this sentiment captures perfectly the resilience these individuals possess.

5) A heightened sense of empathy

Here’s something I’ve noticed in my years of working with people from unsupportive families. They often possess a heightened sense of empathy.

It’s almost as if having faced emotional neglect or lack of support has made them more attuned to the feelings and needs of others. They can sense when someone is going through a tough time, and they often jump in to offer comfort or support.

Perhaps it’s because they know what it feels like to be alone in a storm, and they wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. It’s like they’ve turned their own pain into a beacon of compassion for others.

And while this empathy can be a beautiful strength, it’s also important for these individuals to remember to take care of their own emotional health too. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup.

6) Fear of vulnerability

Now this is something I’ve seen quite often. Individuals who grew up without a supportive family tend to develop a fear of vulnerability. Let’s dive into it.

Growing up in an environment where emotional needs weren’t met can lead to a fear of opening up, a fear of being vulnerable. It’s like an armor they wear to protect themselves from getting hurt again.

Remember, as the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” But strength doesn’t mean always having your guard up. True strength lies in the ability to be vulnerable, to open up, and to trust.

It’s a journey, really. A journey of healing and learning to let others in. And it’s okay to take it one step at a time.

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7) Struggling with self-worth

Alright, let’s get real here. One of the hardest battles individuals who didn’t grow up with a supportive family often face is the struggle with self-worth.

When you’re not given the validation and emotional nourishment you need during your formative years, it can leave a dent on your sense of self-worth. You might constantly question your value, always feeling like you need to prove yourself to others.

And let me tell you, it’s a tough battle, one that’s fought in the quiet corners of your mind. But it’s also a battle that can be won.

Your worth is not determined by your past or by how others perceive you. It’s inherent. It’s as much a part of you as your heartbeat. And no lack of support or validation can take that away from you.

Understanding and moving forward

Navigating life without the anchorage of a supportive family can be challenging. It’s like paddling against the current in a turbulent sea. But it doesn’t have to define you.

The behaviors we’ve discussed are not definitive or all-encompassing, but they provide a starting point for understanding one’s experiences and reactions. They shed light on the invisible backpack of behaviors we carry into our adult lives.

But remember, recognizing these tendencies is not about attributing blame. It’s about gaining insight into our patterns, which can lead to healthier relationships, personal growth, and self-understanding.

In the words of Carl Jung, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Unpacking these behaviors, understanding them, is the first step towards change. It’s about breaking patterns, healing old wounds, and reclaiming your narrative.

And in this journey of self-discovery and healing, there’s a certain resilience and strength that emerges from such experiences. A testament to human adaptability and tenacity.

For those who find themselves relating to these behaviors, or anyone interested in exploring this topic further, I recommend Justin Brown’s video where he talks about singleness, the beauty of self-commitment, and how life’s fluidity allows us to embrace every phase with open arms:

Don’t forget, you’re not alone in this journey. We’re all navigating through this complex web of life together, learning and growing along the way.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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