People who grew up with judgmental parents often develop these 8 traits as adults

Growing up with judgmental parents can have a lasting impact on a person’s adult life. This experience often manifests itself through certain traits that may seem normal to the individual, but are actually rooted in their childhood experiences.

Such parents may have set unrealistically high expectations, criticized more than they praised, or perhaps did not provide the emotional support that a child needed. This can lead to a lifelong struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, and other challenges.

However, understanding these traits can offer a pathway towards self-improvement and healing. In this article, we will delve into the 8 common traits often developed by adults who grew up with judgmental parents.

Each of these traits offers an insight into how your upbringing has shaped you. But more importantly, acknowledging them is the first step towards overcoming any negative impacts they may have on your life.

1) Hyper-critical of themselves and others

When you’re raised by judgmental parents, you often develop a hyper-critical perspective towards yourself and others. This trait is a byproduct of constantly striving to meet high expectations or avoid criticism during your upbringing.

You may find yourself being overly critical of your own achievements, never feeling like you’re doing enough or that your efforts are sufficient. You might also have high standards for others, which can strain relationships and create unrealistic expectations.

This self-critical nature can be debilitating, leading to anxiety or depression. You can kickstart your healing journey by practicing self-compassion, understanding that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s okay not to be perfect.

2) Tendency to be overly apologetic

Growing up in a judgmental household often results in adults who are excessively apologetic. This trait arises from a fear of doing something wrong or not meeting the high standards set by their parents.

You may find yourself saying “sorry” more often than necessary, even when it’s not your fault. This can be an automatic response to avoid confrontation or disapproval and can make you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells.

Recognizing this tendency is crucial for self-improvement. You can work on this by setting personal boundaries and understanding that it’s okay to say no without feeling guilty or needing to apologize.

3) Difficulty accepting compliments or praise

Another trait commonly developed by those who grew up with judgmental parents is difficulty in accepting compliments or praise. This stems from the constant criticism they faced as children, which made them more accustomed to negative feedback than positive reinforcement.

You may find it hard to believe when someone compliments you, or you may feel awkward and not know how to respond. This can make it challenging to build self-esteem and confidence, as you may struggle to see your own worth or achievements.

Overcoming this trait means allowing yourself to accept and believe in the positive feedback you receive. Keep in mind that everyone has a quality that’s deserving of praise, and that your worth is not defined by the judgment of others.

4) Constant need for approval

Individuals raised by judgmental parents often develop a constant need for approval in their adult lives. This is typically a result of their childhood experiences, where approval and love were conditional on meeting certain standards or expectations.

You may find yourself constantly seeking validation from others, whether in your personal relationships or professional life. This constant need for affirmation can lead to an unhealthy reliance on others for self-worth.

Acknowledging this need for approval is the first step towards overcoming it. It’s essential to remember that your worth is intrinsic and should not be dependent on the validation of others.

5) Fear of intimacy

A fear of intimacy is another trait often developed by adults who grew up with judgmental parents. This fear can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty trusting others, avoiding closeness, or sabotaging relationships.

This behavior is usually a defense mechanism against the fear of rejection or criticism, which was a common theme in their childhood. Unfortunately, this fear can prevent you from forming meaningful and fulfilling relationships in your adult life.

With self-awareness and perhaps professional help, you can work towards forming healthier relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

6) Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a common trait in adults who were raised by judgmental parents. This characteristic often develops as a response to the high standards and criticism experienced during their formative years.

As a perfectionist, you may have an all-or-nothing mentality, setting unrealistically high standards for yourself and feeling dissatisfied with anything less. This can lead to stress, burnout, and even mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Facing your perfectionism means understanding that making mistakes is part of being human and that you can learn and grow from them. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and to appreciate your efforts, not just the final outcome.

7) People-pleasing behavior

People-pleasing behavior is another common trait found in adults who grew up with judgmental parents. This behavior is often the result of a childhood spent trying to meet parental expectations and avoid criticism.

As a person who aims to please, you may find it hard to say no, often putting others’ needs before your own. This can lead to feelings of resentment and burnout, as you may neglect your own needs in the process.

Here’s a friendly reminder: You deserve more than to be everyone’s doormat—that’s not your purpose in life. Even revered figures like Jesus Christ or Buddha couldn’t please everyone. Saying no isn’t selfish or unkind—it’s acknowledging your own boundaries, which is a deeply human act.

8) Difficulty expressing emotions

The final trait we’ll explore is the difficulty in expressing emotions, often experienced by adults who grew up with judgmental parents. This can be due to a fear of criticism or rejection, leading to suppressing emotions in order to avoid confrontation.

You may find it challenging to articulate your feelings, especially negative ones, for fear of disapproval or conflict. This can result in emotional bottling, which is unhealthy and can lead to increased stress and anxiety.

Learn to cultivate open communication with trusted confidants. Practice self-expression through journaling, creative outlets, or therapy. Prioritize self-awareness, allowing yourself to feel and process emotions as they arise.

Overcoming the impact of judgmental parenting

While growing up with judgmental parents can leave lasting impacts, it’s important to remember that these traits are not definitive of who you are. Acknowledging these traits is the first step towards healing and self-improvement.

The journey to overcoming these challenges may be tough, but it’s also an opportunity for growth. It’s about unlearning harmful behaviors and thought patterns ingrained in you from childhood and replacing them with healthier ones.

You might consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling. A trained professional can help you navigate your feelings, provide strategies to address these traits, and guide you towards healing.

Remember, it’s never too late to start this journey of self-improvement and healing. You deserve to lead a life that isn’t ruled by the fear of judgment or criticism. The journey might not be easy, but the rewards – improved self-esteem, better relationships, and a healthier outlook on life – are well worth the effort.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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