People who grew up with controlling parents tend to exhibit these 8 traits as adults

Growing up, we’re all shaped by our parents, for better or worse. If your folks were on the controlling side, you might carry certain traits into adulthood.

The impact isn’t always negative, but it can be tough to shake off those childhood influences.

In this article, we’ll explore the 8 common traits seen in adults who grew up with controlling parents. This isn’t about blaming or finger-pointing, but understanding how our past can shape our present.

So let’s dive in and uncover what these traits are, and how they might be showing up in your life today.

1) Hyper-responsibility

One trait that often pops up in adults who had controlling parents is a sense of hyper-responsibility.

Growing up with controlling parents can make you feel like you have to be perfect – that every decision you make has high stakes and could potentially lead to consequences.

This can lead to an overbearing sense of responsibility in adulthood. It’s like carrying a heavy load where you feel like you’re always accountable, even for things that aren’t your fault or are out of your control.

This hyper-responsibility isn’t necessarily a negative trait. It can make you a dependable, reliable person. But it can also lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety if not managed properly.

The key here is understanding where this sense of responsibility comes from and finding healthy ways to manage it.

2) Difficulty with decision-making

I’ll never forget the first time I had to pick a major in college. It felt like the world was resting on my shoulders. You see, as a child of controlling parents, making decisions wasn’t my forte.

Growing up, most of my choices were made for me – from the clothes I wore to the activities I participated in. This left me with a sense of uncertainty when it came to making my own decisions.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I found myself grappling with even the most basic decisions. Picking a restaurant, choosing between job offers, even deciding on weekend plans could leave me in a state of paralysis.

If you’ve grown up with controlling parents, you might relate to this. You might find decision-making stressful or overwhelming due to that lack of early experience.

But remember, it’s okay to make mistakes. They’re part of the learning process and help us grow as individuals. And each decision we make, whether right or wrong, is a step towards becoming more independent and confident in our choices.

3) Tendency towards perfectionism

Growing up with controlling parents can often lead to a drive for perfection. This can be seen in the high proportion of perfectionists who report having had controlling parents.

Perfectionism isn’t just about striving for excellence. It’s a compulsive behavior where anything less than perfect feels unacceptable. This can manifest in different areas of life, from work to personal relationships.

While striving for perfection can lead to high achievements, it can also result in self-criticism and stress when the unreachable goal of absolute perfection isn’t met.

Understanding the root of this drive for perfection can help in finding ways to manage it and promoting a healthier approach to personal and professional endeavors.

4) Strong need for control

Ironically, growing up with controlling parents can lead to a strong need for control in adulthood. It’s almost as if the control exerted over you as a child has somehow imprinted itself into your adult behavior.

You might find yourself trying to exert control over different aspects of your life, from relationships to work situations. This is usually a way to compensate for the lack of control experienced during childhood.

However, this need for control can sometimes interfere with personal relationships and prevent you from enjoying spontaneous experiences.

Recognizing this tendency is the first step towards finding a balance between control and flexibility in your life. It’s about understanding that while you can influence situations, absolute control is not always possible or healthy.

5) Fear of confrontation

If your parents were controlling, confrontation probably didn’t end well for you as a child. You may have learned to avoid it at all costs, and this can carry into adulthood.

This fear of confrontation can make you shy away from expressing your needs or standing up for yourself. You may find yourself frequently agreeing with others, even when you don’t feel the same way, just to avoid conflict.

But remember, your feelings and opinions are valid. It’s okay to express them, and healthy confrontation is a part of life. It’s not about winning or losing, but about being heard and understanding others.

Overcoming this fear takes time and practice, but it’s an important step towards building healthier relationships and asserting yourself in a respectful way.

6) Struggles with self-esteem

I have to admit, my journey with self-esteem hasn’t always been smooth. As a child, I was constantly second-guessing myself, thanks to the controlling environment I grew up in.

In adulthood, this translated into a constant need for validation. I found myself seeking approval from others, and when I didn’t get it, my self-worth would take a hit.

This is something that’s common amongst adults who grew up with controlling parents. The constant judgment during childhood can lead to low self-esteem and struggles with self-worth later in life.

The good news is, it’s never too late to work on building your self-esteem. Recognizing your worth and valuing yourself for who you are is a journey, but it’s one worth taking.

7) Difficulty trusting others

Trust is fundamental to any relationship, but if you grew up with controlling parents, you might find it challenging to trust others.

This stems from the unpredictability you may have experienced in your childhood home. If your parents were controlling, they may have broken your trust on numerous occasions, leading to a protective instinct to guard yourself against potential hurt.

This difficulty trusting can impact your relationships as an adult, causing you to be overly cautious or suspicious.

However, remember that not everyone will betray your trust like your parents might have. It’s about taking baby steps to slowly open yourself up to others and understand that vulnerability is a part of forming deep and meaningful connections.

8) Resilience

Despite all the challenges I’ve mentioned, there’s one trait that many adults who grew up with controlling parents often develop: resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to keep going despite the odds. And if you’ve grown up with controlling parents, chances are, you’ve had plenty of practice at this.

You’ve learned to adapt, to navigate difficult situations and to pick yourself up after setbacks. This resilience is your superpower. It’s what allows you to face life’s challenges head-on and come out stronger on the other side.

So while growing up with controlling parents can be tough, remember that it’s also shaped you into the resilient individual you are today. And that’s something to be proud of.

Final thoughts: Embracing the journey

The impact of our upbringing is undeniable. It shapes us in ways we often don’t fully comprehend until later in life.

For those who grew up with controlling parents, these eight traits might resonate. You might see them as challenges you’ve faced or hurdles you’re still trying to overcome.

But remember, you are not alone. And more importantly, you are not defined by your past.

Each trait, each struggle, is a part of your story. They are the threads that weave the fabric of who you are. And there’s a certain strength and beauty in that.

Whether it’s a tendency towards perfectionism, a fear of confrontation, or your resilience, these traits have shaped you into the person you are today.

And yes, while some might pose challenges, they also offer opportunities for growth and self-understanding.

So, as we close this exploration of traits shaped by controlling parents, let’s not forget that our past influences us, but it doesn’t constrain us.

We have the power to understand ourselves better, to learn from our experiences and to shape our own destiny.

After all, life is less about where we come from and more about the journey we choose to embark on.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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