People who never felt validated as a child usually develop these 7 traits as adults

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Growing up without feeling validated can leave a lasting imprint on an individual, often manifesting in certain traits during adulthood. If you’ve experienced this lack of validation in your childhood, it’s likely you’ve developed coping mechanisms and behaviors that are deeply ingrained.

In this article, we delve into the 7 most common traits that emerge in adults who did not feel validated as children. These traits are not necessarily negative; they’re simply responses to early life experiences and can provide insight into your own behaviors and reactions.

Understanding these traits is a crucial step towards self-awareness and personal growth. Recognizing their presence in your life can be a transformative experience, allowing you to better understand yourself and the underlying causes of your behaviors.

1) Hypersensitivity

Growing up without feeling validated often leads to hypersensitivity in adults. This trait is characterized by heightened emotional responses and a keen sense of awareness of one’s surroundings.

Hypersensitive individuals tend to be more tuned in to the feelings and needs of others, often to the detriment of their own well-being.

This sensitivity can manifest in various ways, such as taking criticism personally, becoming easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, or feeling intense emotions more deeply than others.

These individuals are often empathetic and intuitive, however, they may struggle with setting boundaries and may find it challenging to navigate social situations.

2) Perfectionism

Adults who missed out on validation during their upbringing often carry the weight of perfectionism into their lives. This drive stems from a deep-seated hunger for approval and belonging—a void they may have longed to fill since childhood.

Perfectionism seeps into every crevice of their existence, from work to relationships and self-expectations. They set impossibly high bars, perpetually chasing flawlessness and setting goals beyond reach.

Just a heads-up: There’s a blur line between healthy ambition and the toxic grip of perfectionism. The latter breeds stress, burnout, and relentless self-criticism—imperiling the very well-being it strives to enhance.

3) Overly responsible

The weight of excessive responsibility is a telltale sign in adults whose childhood validation was lacking. This burden often surpasses healthy levels, verging on self-sacrifice.

You’ll spot it in those who habitually shoulder more than they can bear or feel driven to solve every problem, even when it’s not theirs to fix. Their relentless need to care for others or fear of disappointment is palpable.

Although responsibility is commendable, it turns toxic when it tramples over personal needs and boundaries. 

4) People-pleasing

The urge to please others runs deep in those deprived of validation in childhood—a subconscious quest for the affirmation they craved early on.

People-pleasers struggle to utter the word “no,” even at the cost of their own well-being. Driven by a fear of conflict or rejection, they prioritize others’ needs over their own, often at the expense of their mental and physical health.

5) Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem plagues many adults who missed out on childhood validation—a silent epidemic corroding their sense of self-worth. Rooted in a haunting belief of unworthiness, this poison was often injected during their formative years.

These individuals scavenge for morsels of validation from others, shackled by relentless self-critique and a chronic inability to accept praise. They dwell in the shadows of comparison, eternally stacking themselves against unattainable standards.

6) Tendency towards isolation

Many adults who didn’t feel validated as children tend to isolate themselves from others. This trait often develops as a self-defense mechanism, acting as a shield to protect themselves from further emotional hurt.

This tendency towards isolation can manifest as preferring solitude, struggling to establish close relationships, or avoiding social gatherings. While solitude can be beneficial, excessive isolation can lead to loneliness and hinder the development of strong social connections.

7) Struggle with trust

The final trait we’ll discuss is the struggle with trust. Many adults who never felt validated as children find it difficult to trust others, often due to past experiences of rejection or criticism.

This distrust can permeate various aspects of their lives, affecting personal relationships, work interactions, and even their relationship with themselves. They may doubt others’ intentions, struggle with vulnerability, and have a fear of abandonment.

Healing and personal growth

If you’ve identified with any or all of these traits, it’s important to remember that they don’t define you. They are simply responses to your childhood experiences. The recognition of these traits is the first significant step towards healing and personal growth.

Begin by acknowledging your feelings and experiences. Accept that your past has shaped you but does not define your future. It’s okay to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to navigate through these complex emotions.

Practice self-care and self-love. Remember, you’re deserving of love and respect just as you are. Prioritize your needs, set healthy boundaries, and allow yourself to trust again at your own pace.

Consider joining support groups or online communities where you can share your experiences and learn from others who have walked a similar path. Knowing that you’re not alone can be incredibly comforting and empowering.

In the end, remember this: You are more than the sum of your past experiences. With understanding, patience, and kindness towards yourself, you can heal from past wounds and grow into the person you truly want to be.

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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