People who grew up with overbearing parents often display these 10 behaviors

In the environment I was raised in, parental guidance was a double-edged sword. It could either mold you or it could break you.

We’re in an era where we’ve waved goodbye to distant parents and dank boarding schools, and overbearing parenting is often deemed necessary.

Yet, it’s critical to recognize how this can shape individuals into who they become.

The following 10 behaviors are often exhibited by individuals who grew up with overbearing parents.

What’s even more vital than your upbringing is how you respond and carry forward the behaviors instilled by it.

This suggests that growing up with overbearing parents does matter, but only if it leads to behaviors that either enhance or impair your life and your relationships.

1) They exhibit perfectionism

If you’ve grown up with overbearing parents, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you might be a perfectionist.

You’re operating on an ingrained desire to meet high, often unrealistic expectations, and might find yourself exhibiting a little more perfectionism that you would like to admit…

You might’ve grown up with parents who told you at times that you were a genius, yet were harsh and scolded you hugely if you ever took a step wrong…

And whilst striving for your best can do you good, it’s vital to let go of the illusion of control that comes with perfectionism – the belief that if you do everything perfectly, you’ll avoid criticism or disapproval.

Because newsflash: you won’t.

Your actions do matter, but they are most powerful when they happen without the constant scrutiny of perfectionism. 

Perfect doesn’t exist, and if you can stop relying on your fear of failure and start accepting that mistakes are a part of growth, your authentic self will become apparent in what happens in your life.

2) They often struggle with self-acceptance

Advice on how to build self-esteem often suggests “positive affirmations” or “self-love practices”.

While these are popular in today’s self-improvement culture, they might not entirely address the root of the problem.

In fact, true self-acceptance stems from becoming an observer of your own thought patterns. It emerges from noticing and understanding your thoughts.

And when you constantly strive for self-improvement and the perfectionism mentioned above, you give too much power to your insecurities and perceived flaws.

(Check out our self-acceptance guide).

3) They carry a fear of failure

Perhaps, you’re given an opportunity to try something new, something that intrigues you.

But the thought of not being good at it, of failing, stops you dead inn your tracks.

If you’ve been raised by overbearing parents, it’s crucial to understand that you may carry an inherent fear of failure.

You’re functioning out of an ingrained dread of disappointing others or not meeting expectations, and this prevents you from actually getting further than you thought…

It’s necessary to release the illusion of control that comes with the fear of failure – the belief that if you avoid making mistakes, you’ll avoid criticism or disappointment.

The unfortunate truth is that you actually won’t escape the looming fear of failure.

So, if you can stop fearing it and instead embrace the present and all the lessons it teaches you, your true courage will blossom.

4) They may struggle with setting boundaries

The influence of overbearing parents also determines how we set boundaries in our relationships, as those raised by controlling parents often struggle with setting boundaries.

They are consumed by the desire to please others (or people-pleasing), and conflict avoidance as they’d far prefer to suffer and in turn keep the peace.

But when someone is so focused on pleasing others, they might overlook their own needs and wants. They can lose touch with their personal space. They become overly accommodating and probably end up feeling exploited or used.

Instead, because they don’t focus solely on their intentions, they are more able to reflect on their actions and change how they behave. They are learning to assert their needs and establish healthy boundaries.

How you set boundaries is what matters, not just the intentions that drive your behavior.

5) They tend to overthink situations

Growing up with overbearing parents, I was often second-guessing myself. The constant scrutiny during my formative years led me to internalize a habit of overthinking every situation. I felt as if I was always under a microscope, always needing to make the “right” decision.

This pattern didn’t change overnight. It took me years to realize that this was a byproduct of my upbringing, not a character flaw.

Because we can’t control every outcome. We can spend hours poring over every decision, but life works in mysterious ways. The more you try and force it one way, the more it surprises you by pulling you in another.

And escaping overthinking – as difficult as it is to overcome – is a big first step towards freeing up a huge amount of space in your mind.

This space can be used for other things.

For kindness, for learning, for peace, for spontaneity.

This process, although far from easy, involves learning to trust your instincts more and realizing that it’s okay not to have all the answers all the time.

6) They often struggle with decision-making

People raised by overbearing parents frequently find it difficult to make decisions. They were often not allowed the autonomy to make their own choices growing up, leading to a lack of confidence in their decision-making abilities as adults.

Here’s the crux of the matter:

This observation prompts us to examine the dynamics of parental control and its effects on a child’s ability to develop self-assured decision-making skills.

For those feeling stuck in indecisiveness, understanding this correlation can provide a sense of clarity. It’s a realization that their struggle isn’t a personal failing, but a response to their upbringing.

Accepting this struggle with decision-making as a response to overbearing parenting can foster self-compassion and can pave the way for improvement and growth. It reminds us that our behaviors are often shaped by our past, but they don’t have to dictate our future.

7) They are often highly successful

Many individuals raised by overbearing parents tend to excel in their chosen fields. The constant pressure and high expectations they experienced growing up can translate into a relentless drive for success in adulthood.

This might seem surprising. After all, we’ve been discussing the challenges associated with overbearing parenting. Yet, it’s important to understand that not all outcomes are negative.

In fact, the very traits that can be problematic – the perfectionism, the fear of failure, the overthinking – can also propel individuals to great heights in their careers and pursuits.

They strive to do their best because that’s what was expected of them, and this can lead to considerable achievements.

However, this success often comes at a cost. It’s crucial for these individuals to learn to balance their drive for achievement with self-care and emotional well-being, to truly thrive rather than just succeed. The journey is not just about reaching the destination, but also about enjoying the ride along the way.

Final thoughts

The environment in which we are raised, and the dynamics of our childhood home, play a pivotal role in shaping who we become.

For those who grew up with overbearing parents, understanding these ten behaviors provides a lens through which they can view their own actions and responses. It’s not about blaming or pointing fingers, but about acknowledging how your past has shaped your present.

It’s important to remember that these behaviors, while potentially challenging, are also a testament to resilience. They represent your ability to adapt and survive in difficult conditions.

Whether it’s working towards self-acceptance, learning to set boundaries, or balancing a drive for success with self-care, the underlying experiences from your past can guide your journey towards healing and growth.

10 signs you’re in a relationship with an overly critical partner

9 subtle behaviors that show somebody is trustworthy and honest