People who received very little validation as a child usually develop these 9 traits later in life

Childhood experiences shape us in profound ways. If you grew up with very little validation, it’s likely to have impacted your adult life.

This can mean struggling with issues like self-esteem, trust, or communication. It’s not a life sentence, but it does shape who we are.

In this article, we’ll explore nine traits often found in those who lacked validation as children. And remember, understanding is the first step towards change.

So let’s dive in and learn more about how early experiences can echo into adulthood.

1) Struggle with self-esteem

It’s no secret that childhood validation plays a crucial role in the development of self-esteem.

And if you didn’t receive much validation as a child, it’s likely you grapple with your self-worth as an adult.

You see, validation is about more than just praise. It’s about acknowledging feelings, thoughts, and experiences. It tells a child they’re seen, heard, and that their perspective matters.

When this is missing, children often grow up to question their value. They may feel like they’re never good enough, regardless of achievements or accolades.

This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule—people are resilient and can overcome many adversities. But it’s a common trend seen in those who lacked validation in their early years.

2) Difficulty trusting others

Trust can be a daunting concept, especially for those who grew up without consistent validation. From personal experience, I can tell you it’s a tough barrier to overcome.

Growing up, I rarely felt validated by my parents. My achievements were often dismissed or overshadowed by criticism. This pattern left me questioning the intentions of others.

As an adult, I find myself constantly on guard, wary of the motives behind people’s actions. It feels like everyone has an ulterior motive or is waiting to criticize me–just as my parents did.

It’s not an easy hurdle to jump, and it takes time and conscious effort to learn to trust others. 

3) Overcompensating in relationships

Those who didn’t receive much validation during their childhood often carry an insatiable thirst for approval into their adult relationships.  

In a bid to feel seen and valued, they might go overboard in their efforts to please their partners, friends, or colleagues. They may constantly put others’ needs above their own, or agree with opinions they don’t actually share.

This overcompensation is a way of seeking the validation they missed out on as children. But it often leads to unhealthy dynamics and can be a significant strain on relationships.

4) A tendency towards perfectionism

Perfectionism is a bit of a two-sided coin. On one side, aiming for excellence can lead to some remarkable achievements. But flip it over, and you’ve got this relentless pursuit of perfection that breeds constant self-criticism and dissatisfaction.

For some, perfectionism can stem from a childhood lacking in validation. It’s like they’re on this mission to prove their worth, desperate for the approval they never quite got when they were young.

The thing is, this drive to be flawless can be downright draining. No matter how much they accomplish, it’s like there’s this void that can never be filled because, deep down, they’re still yearning for that internal validation they never received.

5) High levels of self-criticism

Children who don’t receive enough validation often grow into adults who are excessively hard on themselves. This is because they’ve internalized the lack of validation as a sign of their own inadequacy.

Hence, they might constantly berate themselves for their mistakes, big or small. This self-criticism can be relentless and significantly impact their mental and emotional wellbeing.

In fact, research shows that high levels of self-criticism can lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It’s a pattern that can be deeply ingrained, but with self-awareness and conscious effort, it’s possible to cultivate a more compassionate and forgiving inner voice.

6) Fear of rejection

It’s human nature to desire acceptance. But for those who lacked validation as children, fear of rejection can be a deeply ingrained and painful struggle.

Imagine always second-guessing your actions, words, and decisions out of fear they might lead to rejection. It’s like walking on eggshells in your own life.

This fear often stems from the repeated experience of not being validated as a child. Those feelings of being unseen or unappreciated can translate into a deep-seated fear of being dismissed or rejected by others.

But remember, you are not alone in this struggle. Many have walked this path before, and many have found ways to navigate it with grace and resilience. 

7) Difficulty expressing emotions

Emotions, they’re like this tricky maze, especially if you grew up in an environment where they weren’t given much attention or validation.

I can still recall the confusion and frustration I felt as a kid. My feelings were often brushed aside or ignored, leaving me to wrestle with them solo. It became a habit—bottling up emotions, struggling to put them into words even when I desperately wanted to.

And hey, I’m not alone in this struggle. Plenty of folks who didn’t get much validation in their younger years find themselves in the same boat. But you know what? Recognizing this pattern is the first step toward finding healthier ways to express and navigate those emotions.

8) Craving external validation

When kids don’t get enough validation from their caregivers, it’s like they grow up constantly chasing approval from others.

This need for validation can show up in all sorts of ways. Some folks might go all out, chasing achievements, awards, or just plain recognition, hoping it’ll make them feel validated. Others might turn to their partners, friends, or coworkers, constantly seeking reassurance.

But here’s the kicker: this hunger for outside validation is often covering up a much deeper need—to feel seen, valued, and accepted, something they might’ve missed out on when they were younger.

Thing is, while getting a pat on the back from others can feel nice in the moment, real, lasting peace and fulfillment come from within—from accepting and appreciating yourself for who you are.

9) Resilience and adaptability

Despite the hurdles and setbacks, there’s often one standout trait in adults who didn’t get much validation as kids: resilience.

Life didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for them, but they’ve managed to weather the storms nonetheless. They’ve had to bend, adapt, and grow in ways that many others might never fully grasp.

Sure, there might be some battle scars, but they also carry this incredible strength and determination that’s hard to overlook. It’s a testament to their ability to stare adversity in the face and not just survive but thrive despite the odds.

Your past may shape you, but it doesn’t define you

Childhood experiences, especially the absence of validation, leave deep imprints that can last a lifetime. But here’s the thing: while they certainly shape us, they don’t dictate our entire journey.

Exploring these traits isn’t about pointing fingers or getting stuck in the past. It’s about spotting patterns, embracing who you are, and kickstarting your personal evolution. It’s about smashing old cycles and blazing trails marked by self-awareness and kindness.

Keep this in mind: your past may have left its mark, but it’s not the whole story. With understanding comes this incredible power to change, to evolve, and to carve out the future you truly 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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