People who grew up with very little emotional support tend to develop these 8 traits later in life (according to psychology)

If you’ve grown up without much emotional support, you might find yourself developing certain behaviors or traits that can seem puzzling to you and the people around you.

Psychologists have identified eight common traits that tend to appear in people who didn’t receive enough emotional support during their formative years.

These traits can manifest in various ways and can influence your relationships, self-image, and overall mental health.

Developing these traits isn’t a conscious decision, but rather a form of adaptation.

And while it may be challenging, understanding these patterns can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth.

This article aims to shed some light on these eight traits and offer insights on how to manage them.

1) Self-sufficiency

If you grew up with limited emotional support, you may have had to learn how to cope on your own at a young age.

As a result, you might have developed an extraordinary level of self-sufficiency.

This can be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, it means that you’re resourceful and resilient, capable of handling challenges without relying on others.

But on the flip side, this self-reliance can make it hard for you to ask for help or open up to others, even when you need it.

This trait isn’t something you consciously chose.

It’s more like a survival mechanism that helped you navigate through your early years.

However, recognizing this pattern can be a significant first step towards understanding yourself better and creating healthier relationships moving forward.

Remember that everyone needs support sometimes, and it’s okay to reach out to others.

You’re not alone in your journey, and it’s more than acceptable to lean on others when the going gets tough.

2) Empathy

Despite a lack of emotional support growing up, you might find yourself being incredibly empathetic towards others.

You instinctively understand what it’s like to feel alone or misunderstood, and this can make you more sensitive to the feelings of those around you.

You could be the person who always listens, who offers comfort during hard times, and who understands without judgment.

This heightened empathy can make you an excellent friend, partner, or caregiver.

But while this trait is undoubtedly a strength, it can sometimes lead to emotional exhaustion if not managed properly.

It’s essential to remember that while your empathy is a gift, it’s also okay to set boundaries and take care of your own emotional needs first.

3) High achievement drive

You may find yourself having an intense drive to succeed.

This could be in your career, academics, or even personal goals.

This motivation often stems from a desire to prove your worth or gain approval that was lacking during childhood.

While this ambition can lead to impressive accomplishments, it’s vital to remember that your worth is not defined by success alone.

It’s equally important to seek fulfillment and happiness in other areas of life.

Enjoying the journey towards your goals is just as valuable as reaching the destination itself.

4) Perfectionism

If you grew up without much emotional support, perfectionism might have become your close companion.

You could feel a constant pressure to get everything right, perhaps hoping that being perfect would make you more deserving of love and support.

It’s important to understand though, that this is not your fault.

You’re just doing what you learned to do in order to cope with difficult circumstances.

And it’s okay. You are human, and it’s natural to want to be the best version of yourself.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology describes perfectionism as an adaptive strategy for individuals seeking to meet the high expectations placed upon them, often as a way to earn love and support.

But remember, it’s okay to make mistakes.

They are stepping stones for growth and learning.

You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love, respect, and support. You are enough just as you are.

5) Difficulty trusting others

You might find it challenging to trust others easily, especially if you’ve been let down in the past.

The thought of opening up and being vulnerable can seem daunting, almost like a risk not worth taking.

But guess what? This is something a lot of people struggle with, not just those who lacked emotional support growing up.

And while it’s certainly tough, it’s also okay.

It’s a part of your journey, and it doesn’t make you any less worthy of meaningful relationships.

Trust takes time to build, and it’s okay to take that time.

With each small step, you’re learning and growing, and that’s something to be proud of.

6) Overthinking

Overthinking might be a common occurrence for you.

You may find yourself replaying past experiences or worrying about future ones, analyzing every detail.

I remember a friend who used to lie awake at night, wondering if they said the right thing at a meeting, or if their boss was happy with their work.

Recognizing this pattern is the first step towards managing it.

It’s alright to take a step back and remind yourself that it’s okay not to have everything figured out.

Life is a series of learning experiences, and sometimes the best way to learn is to let go and live in the moment.

7) Fear of abandonment

You might face a nagging fear of abandonment, constantly worrying that people will leave you.

This fear can sometimes lead you to push people away before they have the chance to leave you first.

Let’s be honest here, life is unpredictable and people might leave. But guess what? That’s their loss. You are a person of worth, with or without them.

And more importantly, you have the strength to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

Don’t let your fear rob you of meaningful relationships.

It’s time to take charge and acknowledge that even if someone chooses to leave, it doesn’t define your worth or your ability to build lasting relationships.

8) Difficulty expressing emotions

You might find it difficult to express your emotions or even understand what you’re feeling at times.

Growing up without emotional support can sometimes leave you disconnected from your own feelings.

The Psychophysiology Journal found that difficulty in expressing emotions is often linked to early environments where emotional expression was neither modeled nor encouraged, leading to a disconnection from one’s own feelings.

But here’s the thing you should always remember: Your emotions are valid.

They are a part of who you are, and they deserve to be recognized and respected.

It may take time to understand them, and that’s perfectly fine.

Take small steps towards expressing your feelings.

Journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or seeking professional help can be beneficial.

Remember, it’s never too late to learn and grow.

Embrace your journey with patience and love for yourself.

Final thoughts

Living a life with little emotional support in your early years can be challenging and can leave its mark. But remember, it doesn’t define you.

It’s a part of your journey, a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to dictate your future.

This article aimed to help you recognize some of the traits you may have developed and understand them better.

But ultimately, the path of self-awareness and growth is yours to walk.

Remember, every step you take towards understanding yourself better is a step towards healing and growth.

And remember, it’s never too late to seek emotional support, to build meaningful relationships, and to learn how to care for your own emotional well-being.

Here’s to embracing ourselves in all our complexity and to living a life that feels true to us.

You’re more resilient than you think, and you have the strength within you to create the life you want.

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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