People who grew up with selfish parents often display these 8 behaviors later in life

Growing up with selfish parents can leave a lasting impact on our lives.

Sometimes, the behaviors we observe in our parents can sneak into our own actions and reactions later in life.

If you grew up with self-centered parents, you might see certain traits surfacing in your own behavior.

And recognizing these traits can be a powerful tool in breaking the cycle.

Here’s a look at some behaviors often displayed by those who grew up with selfish parents.

1) Difficulty forming attachments

Growing up with selfish parents can impact the way we form relationships as adults.

You see, our parents are our first role models. They shape our understanding of what a relationship looks like and how it functions.

When a child grows up in an environment where their needs are often overlooked, they can struggle to form secure attachments later in life.

They might find it hard to trust others, or they may constantly fear being overlooked or dismissed, just like they were in their childhood home.

It’s important for us to understand the impact our upbringing has on our adult behaviors, as recognizing these patterns is the first step towards breaking them.

But remember, it’s not a life sentence.

Just because you grew up with selfish parents doesn’t mean you’re destined to repeat their mistakes.

2) Struggling with self-worth

Selfish parents can unknowingly plant seeds of self-doubt that linger into adulthood.

Growing up, my needs were often pushed aside to accommodate my parents’ desires.

Whether it was missing my soccer games for their social events or being told to keep my problems to myself as they were too busy dealing with their own the message was clear: my needs were secondary.

This caused a real struggle with self-worth as I matured into adulthood. I found myself constantly questioning if what I wanted or needed was important.

It took years of self-reflection and therapy to understand that my feelings and needs are just as valid as anyone else’s.

3) Overcompensating through people-pleasing

Growing up with selfish parents can often lead to a pattern of people-pleasing in adulthood.

Why does this happen?

Well, when a child’s emotional needs are consistently not met, they may start to believe that they need to earn love and approval by meeting the needs of others.

This is a survival technique, helping them survive their challenging home environment.

Unfortunately, this behavior can persist into adulthood, leading to a pattern where they consistently put others’ needs before their own. They may become overly accommodating or agreeable, even at the expense of their own wellbeing.

This is not to say that being considerate or kind is a bad thing. However, it becomes problematic when it stems from a fear of rejection or a belief that one’s worth is tied to pleasing others.

4) Developing extreme independence

Interestingly, some people who grew up with selfish parents become extremely independent in adulthood.

When your needs aren’t met consistently as a child, you may learn to rely solely on yourself. This can lead to a strong sense of independence and self-reliance, which can be both a strength and a challenge.

On the positive side, these individuals are often resilient, resourceful, and capable. They’ve learned to live their lives on their own and usually excel at problem-solving.

However, this extreme independence can also create barriers in forming close relationships. It can lead to an unwillingness to ask for help when needed or a tendency to push others away, driven by the belief that they always have to take care of themselves.

5) Battling perfectionism

You see, kids with self-absorbed parents often feel like they need to be perfect to garner their parents’ attention or approval.

They might think that if they can just do everything right, they’ll finally get the love and attention they crave.

In adulthood, this can translate into a relentless pursuit of perfection. They may hold themselves to impossibly high standards, always striving for the best and feeling deeply disappointed when they fall short.

While striving for excellence isn’t inherently bad, perfectionism can lead to a constant feeling of failure and dissatisfaction. Not to mention, it can also contribute to stress, burnout, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

6) Craving for validation

This longing stems from the childhood experience of feeling unseen or unheard.

When a child’s thoughts, feelings, and achievements are consistently overlooked, they may grow up feeling invisible or unimportant.

As adults, they may constantly seek validation from others to fill this void. They need others to affirm their worth, their ideas, or their achievements, hoping to finally feel seen and valued.

But here’s the thing: everyone deserves to feel seen and heard.

If you recognize this craving for validation in yourself, know that it’s okay to seek help and learn to validate yourself. You’re more than enough – and you don’t need anyone else’s validation to prove it.

7) Difficulty expressing feelings

Expressing your feelings in a healthy way can be a real challenge if you grew up with selfish parents.

In my own life, I found it difficult to share my feelings because there was always this underlying fear of being dismissed or invalidated.

In my childhood home, these feelings were often brushed aside, deemed unimportant or insignificant compared to my parents’ feelings or problems.

As an adult, this translated into a struggle with opening up. I would bottle up my emotions, thinking that they were not worthy of attention.

It took me a lot of courage, time, and therapy to understand that my feelings are valid and it’s okay to express them.

8) Struggle with setting boundaries

Another common behavior among individuals who grew up with selfish parents is the struggle to set healthy boundaries.

Growing up, their personal boundaries may have been frequently violated or disregarded. This can lead to a belief that their feelings, needs, or personal space aren’t worth respecting.

As adults, they might struggle to assert their boundaries for fear of upsetting others or being rejected. They might endure uncomfortable situations or allow others to overstep their limits, not realizing that it’s okay to say no.

Final thought: The power of understanding

Perhaps the most significant thing to understand is that growing up with selfish parents doesn’t define you or your future.

Yes, it can shape certain behaviors and patterns, but it’s important to remember that we all have the capacity for change and growth.

We recognize these behaviors not to assign blame, but to understand where they come from and to take control of your own narrative.

With self-awareness, compassion, and sometimes professional help, it’s entirely possible to break these cycles and create healthier patterns.

You are not destined to repeat your parents’ mistakes. You have the power to forge your own path.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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