People who grew up with poor role models at home often display these 8 characteristics

We all know the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” It’s a simple way of expressing how much our environment shapes us, especially in our formative years.

Growing up with poor role models at home can often set a rocky path. It’s not an absolute rule, but it can leave marks on your personality, behavior, and decisions.

These people tend to exhibit certain characteristics. And it’s not about blaming or judging them. Instead, it’s about understanding the impact of their upbringing.

In this article, we’re going to delve into the 8 common characteristics often displayed by people who had poor role models during their childhood. Strap in, it’s going to be an enlightening ride.

1) Difficulty in forming healthy relationships

Growing up, our parents or guardians are often our first examples of what relationships look like.

If those role models were inconsistent, unkind, or even abusive, it can create a warped understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship. This misunderstanding can carry over into adulthood.

People with poor role models at home may struggle to form and maintain healthy relationships. They might find themselves drawn to toxic patterns or people, simply because it’s what they’re familiar with.

Understand that this isn’t about placing blame on the individual. It’s about recognizing the impact of their upbringing and empathizing with their situation.

That said, it’s important to remember that change is possible. With awareness and effort, these patterns can be broken and healthier relationships can be formed.

2) Perfectionism to a fault

It’s no secret that our childhood experiences mold us.

Take me, for instance. Growing up, I was often subjected to high expectations and constant criticism. My role models at home were never quite satisfied with anything less than perfect.

The result? I developed an unhealthy relationship with perfectionism. I found myself striving for unattainable standards, constantly feeling as if I was falling short. It affected my self-esteem, my relationships, and even my mental health.

It took me years to realize that it was okay to make mistakes and that perfection isn’t realistic nor necessary.

People who grew up with poor role models might struggle with similar feelings of never being “good enough”. But like me, they too can learn to break the shackles of perfectionism and embrace their imperfections.

3) Tendency towards self-isolation

A child growing up in a tumultuous home environment may find solace in being alone. It becomes a survival strategy, a way to avoid the chaos.

As adults, these individuals might continue to prefer solitude, even when it’s not necessary. They may have a tendency to self-isolate, choosing to keep their own company rather than engage with others.

Interestingly, research from the University of Chicago has found that prolonged loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It highlights the importance of social connections for our wellbeing.

If you recognise this trait in yourself or someone else, it’s never too late to reach out and build meaningful relationships. It can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

4) Difficulty trusting others

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. But for those who grew up with unreliable or deceitful role models, trust can be a complex issue.

If the people who were supposed to protect and guide them were untrustworthy, it’s understandable that they might struggle to trust others in their adult life. They may be overly cautious, expecting others to let them down or take advantage of them.

This lack of trust can hinder their ability to form deep and meaningful connections with others. It can also lead to a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty.

However, it’s important to remember that trust can be built over time. With patience and understanding, individuals who struggle with trust can learn to let others in.

5) A strong desire to help others

Here’s something that might surprise you. Often, those who didn’t have the best role models growing up develop a deep-seated desire to help others.

Why? Because they know what it feels like to be let down, to be hurt, to feel lost. They don’t want others to go through the same experiences.

In fact, many of the world’s most compassionate and empathetic people are those who experienced pain and hardship early in life. They turn their pain into purpose, channeling their experiences into helping others.

While this is a beautiful characteristic, it’s also crucial for these individuals to remember to take care of themselves. Helping others should never come at the cost of one’s own wellbeing.

6) Struggle with self-worth

Growing up with poor role models can often lead to feelings of low self-worth. I’ve experienced this firsthand.

As a child, I was constantly made to feel like I wasn’t enough. Every achievement was downplayed, every mistake magnified. This left a lasting impact on my self-esteem.

Even as an adult, I found myself questioning my worth. Every failure felt like a confirmation of my inadequacy. It took years of self-reflection and therapy to realize that my worth isn’t defined by others’ perceptions or expectations.

Many people who grew up with poor role models at home share this struggle. But it’s important to remember that your worth is inherent and unchangeable, no matter what anyone says or does.

7) Fear of conflict

Conflict is a part of life. However, for those who grew up with poor role models, conflict might be associated with aggression, violence, or emotional turmoil.

As a result, these individuals often develop a deep-seated fear of conflict. They might go to great lengths to avoid disagreements or confrontations, even when it’s detrimental to their own interests.

This fear can hinder their ability to assert themselves, stand up for what they believe in, or simply express their feelings and opinions.

It’s a tough cycle to break, but with patience and practice, it’s possible to learn healthier ways to navigate conflict. This can lead to more balanced and fulfilling relationships.

8) Resilience

Despite all the challenges, there’s one characteristic that stands out in people who grew up with poor role models: resilience.

These individuals have faced adversity early in life and have emerged stronger. They’ve learned how to adapt, persevere, and keep moving forward, even when the odds are stacked against them.

Their resilience is a testament to their strength and tenacity. It’s a characteristic that often serves them well in adulthood, helping them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Remember, resilience isn’t just about surviving – it’s about thriving. And these individuals are living proof of that.

Final reflection: The power of understanding

The complexities of human behavior often trace back to our earliest experiences and influences. And for those who grew up with less than ideal role models, those influences can leave lasting marks.

But understanding these characteristics isn’t about judgment or blame. It’s about empathy and awareness. It’s about recognizing that our past shapes us, but it doesn’t have to define us.

These individuals have faced adversity and come out stronger on the other side. They’ve shown resilience, empathy, and a deep desire to help others. They’ve learned to adapt, persevere, and navigate life in their unique way.

No matter what your background is, remember this: Your experiences are part of your story, but they don’t dictate your future. Every day offers a chance for growth, change, and a fresh start.

As Carl Jung once said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” And these individuals are living proof of that resilience and determination.

So as we reflect on these characteristics, let’s do so with compassion and understanding, recognizing the strength in every person’s journey.

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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