People who didn’t receive positive reinforcement as a child often share these 10 traits

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Not receiving positive reinforcement as a child can have significant impacts on adulthood. 

When you don’t hear that you’re doing great or that you’re awesome, it’s hard to feel good about yourself later on.

You also miss out on learning how to push yourself and stick with things because you never got that boost of encouragement.

Plus, getting positive vibes as a kid helps you figure out how to deal with people and handle your emotions. And without that, you might be lost later on. 

So, let’s see what traits people who didn’t receive positive reinforcement as children often share.

1) Self-sabotage

When you don’t get praised or encouraged as a kid, you start doubting yourself and feeling like you’re not good enough. 

So when good things come your way later in life, you unknowingly mess them up because deep down, you don’t think you deserve them, or you’re scared of failing.

That’s why sometimes when I’m on the brink of success, I catch myself pulling back. It’s like there’s this voice in my head telling me I don’t deserve it or that I’ll mess it up somehow. 

So I procrastinate, make silly mistakes, or find reasons to doubt myself, all because deep down, I’m afraid of what might happen if I actually succeed.

2) Chronic indecision

And because you doubt yourself all the time now, you have a tough time deciding things, and you keep going back and forth, afraid of making a wrong decision. 

Sure enough, choosing between two options can feel like a battle in my head. I analyze every possible outcome, afraid that I’ll make the wrong choice and mess everything up. I don’t trust my own judgment because I’m so used to second-guessing myself.

I never really learned to trust my own judgment, so I’m always looking for someone else to tell me what to do.

3) Imposter syndrome

Even when I achieve something great, there’s this nagging feeling that I’m just lucky or that people will soon realize I’m not as capable as they think. 

It’s like I’m constantly wearing a mask, afraid that if people see the real me, they’ll see all my flaws and weaknesses.

Frankly, it’s a heavy burden that makes me anxious all the time, and I still haven’t learned how to deal with it properly. 

I’m sick of having this constant feeling that I’m not good enough, even when I’ve achieved awesome things. 

It holds me back from going after my goals because I’m always worried that I’ll be exposed. 

4) Overworking

When you grow up without that encouragement and validation, you can develop this constant need to prove yourself to others. You’re always seeking that affirmation you never got as a kid.

I also find myself pushing harder and harder, sacrificing sleep, social life, and even my own well-being in pursuit of perfection. 

I’m on this never-ending treadmill, always striving to prove myself, even if it means burning out in the process.

But the thing is, that finish line keeps moving further away. And before I know it, I’m running on empty, sacrificing my health, relationships, and happiness along the way.

5) Difficulty in accepting help

Growing up without much positive reinforcement can make you feel like you have to do everything on your own to prove your worth.

Asking for help feels like admitting defeat like I’m not capable enough on my own. I have this stubbornness that won’t let me accept support, even when I really need it.

Yeah, it’s like there’s this pride that won’t let me swallow my ego and ask for help when I need it most. 

6) Chronic dissatisfaction

No matter how much I accomplish, it never feels like enough. I’m always comparing myself to others or setting impossible standards for myself. It feels like I’m chasing this elusive feeling of satisfaction that I can never quite reach.

And no matter how much you accomplish, it never feels like it’s enough because there’s always someone else doing better or something else to achieve. 

So, you set these impossibly high standards for yourself, thinking that if you just reach them, you’ll finally feel that satisfaction you’ve been chasing. 

But the truth is that feeling of fulfillment can’t come from external achievements; it has to come from within.

7) Avoidance of praise

When someone compliments me, I feel this discomfort, like I don’t deserve it or that they’re just being polite. So I deflect or downplay their words, hoping they don’t see through the facade.

So when someone compliments me, instead of just saying thank you and accepting it, I find myself squirming in discomfort. 

I don’t believe I deserve the praise or that I’m somehow fooling them into thinking I’m better than I am.

It’s tough to accept compliments gracefully when you’re constantly battling those inner doubts and insecurities.

8) Overcompensation

I find myself constantly trying to prove my worth, always seeking validation from others or striving for perfection in everything I do. But no matter how much I achieve, it never feels like it’s enough.

I keep thinking that if I just accomplish a little more, if I just reach that next milestone, then maybe I’ll finally feel like I’m enough. 

But the truth is, my worth isn’t defined by outer achievements or the opinions of others. 

It’s something I’m still learning to internalize, to find that sense of self-worth that doesn’t depend on constant validation from the outside world.

9) Hypersensitivity to criticism

Sometimes, even the smallest bit of criticism can feel like a personal attack. I’m terrified of making even the smallest mistake because I’m so afraid of what it might say about me. 

It’s this constant fear of being exposed as not good enough like every criticism confirms all those doubts I have about myself. 

So, I end up avoiding situations where I might face criticism, or I become hyper-sensitive to any feedback, taking it all personally, even when it’s meant to be constructive. 

It’s really exhausting, always feeling like you’re one wrong move away from confirming your deepest fears about yourself.

10) Difficulty celebrating achievements

When I accomplish something great, instead of feeling proud, I feel this sense of unease. It’s like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, afraid that if I acknowledge my success, it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m exposed as a fraud. 

So, I keep my achievements to myself, never fully allowing myself to celebrate. 

How to shake off these feelings

Challenge negative thoughts

When those self-doubting thoughts creep in, question their validity. Are they based on facts or just fears? 

For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I’ll never be good enough,” challenge that thought by asking yourself for evidence to support it. 

Often, you’ll realize there’s no real basis for these negative beliefs.

Practice self-compassion

Treat yourself with compassion and understanding when you’re struggling. Instead of scolding yourself for missteps or shortcomings, offer yourself the same compassion you’d give to a friend in a similar situation. 

Remind yourself that it’s okay to be imperfect and that everyone experiences setbacks.

Focus on progress, not perfection

Striving for perfection is both unrealistic and exhausting. Instead, aim for progress and growth. 

Embrace mistakes as opportunities for learning and development instead of evidence of failure. 

For instance, if you make a mistake at work, reflect on what you can learn from it and how you can improve moving forward.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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