Much of our personality is shaped during childhood.
And if someone grew up with controlling parents, it will definitely show on how they think and act when they’re adults.
Want to know what makes them different?
Here are 10 personality traits of people who were raised by controlling parents.
1) They’re high-strung
Authoritarian parenting has shown to have negative effects on the emotional wellbeing of children later in life.
One of these negative effects is developing anxious behavior.
You would have thought that if one has been exposed to constant stress and pressure daily, they’d eventually learn to adapt.
But without proper guidance on how to handle stress well, that’s just impossible to do—especially for a young child.
They’ll just become more and more hyper vigilant and anxious until being constantly anxious becomes a part of their personality.
They’re the adults who just can’t relax—those who get easily overwhelmed and worried and scared about every little thing.
2) They’re highly dependent on others
But if the parent isn’t only strict, but also controlling, then it does the complete opposite: it leads to overdependence.
Well, how can they develop independence if their parents make decisions for them? If they’re constantly guided and reprimanded on how to do things?
As a result, they constantly need their parents’ advice and approval on almost everything that they do.
And if the parents aren’t around, they’d consult and ask for help from other people like their friends or spouse.
It’s sad, really, how people who were raised by controlling parents just find it so unnatural (and scary) to do things on their own.
3) They’re overly critical
Controlling parents are often overly critical.
And of course, if a child is always exposed to overly critical people, they’ll slowly become overly critical too!
You can tell that someone grew up with controlling parents when they always have something not-so-nice to say about everything.
They’re hard on the waiter, the driver, and their employees. And most of all, they’re hard on themselves.
And of course, it’s very rare for them to give praise because their eyes are trained to only see the bad parts.
4) They dilly-dally
People who were raised by controlling parents take a long time to make decisions. And that is mainly because they didn’t make a lot of them.
Their parents always influence them one way or another and so their decisions are not really their own.
Everytime they have to make a decision——whether that’s taking a job halfway across the globe or choosing between croissants or pain au chocolat—voices pop in their head.
“What if there’s a better option?”
Or “Are you sure you’re not going to make a huge mistake?”
These “voices” are actually the voices of their controlling parents. They carry it with them and they hear it all throughout their life.
Aside from that, they’ve also not developed the skills it takes to arrive at the wisest decision quickly.
5) They’re too competitive and ambitious
People who were raised by controlling parents believe that in order for them to be loved, they have to EARN it.
And so they’ll do whatever they can to always shine.
They’ll get the medal, get the likes, and get the applause of 1M people just to make their parents proud.
This kind of thinking stays with them and extends to their other relationships.
As adults, they want to be the best in everything so they’ll get “love” and “respect” from their wife, their children, their colleagues, and even their neighbors.
6) They’re either people-pleasers or rebels
People who grew up in the claws of their parents either become total conformists or rebels.
Those who don’t have confidence in themselves become the people-pleasers.
As adults, they’d do whatever it takes so people will like them—or at least, not hate them. They’d follow instructions, deliver what’s asked from them…they always strive to be nice and proper and agreeable.
While this might seem great, most of these people are quite repressed and sad.
Those who’ve gained self-confidence (or those who simply stopped giving a damn) are the ones who’ve liberated themselves. But they go to the other extreme.
They’re the ones who stopped caring about society’s norms and rules because they’re now allergic to any form of control.
7) It’s easy for them to lie
If you have controlling parents who monitor your every move—from the people you hang out with to the food you eat—you’ll learn to lie.
And you’ll be really good at it, too!
After all, you NEED to lie to survive—to find your own identity and build your own path.
As adults, they’re the people who see no problem in lying.
For them, lying is a way to get out of trouble and to survive. And as long as they’re not directly harming others, they’re fine with it.
8) They’re rigid
People who were raised by controlling parents tend to stick to their ways.
Years of “training” from their controlling parents have made them come up with strict routines and develop a rigid way of thinking.
If you suggest that you try left when they usually go right, they’ll panic.
If you tell them to put ice in their wine, they’d go “WTF, No way!”
They’re inflexible because they’re taught to always stick to what works or else…
9) They don’t believe in themself
They don’t think they’re awesome…and it’s not entirely their fault!
If you’ve been controlled even when you’re already in your teenage years, it will make you wonder if there’s something wrong with you.
People who were raised by controlling parents often ask themselves:
“Am I really stupid?”
“Why can’t my parents just trust me? There must be something wrong with me”
Because they think their parents don’t believe they’re capable of making wise decisions, they also lose their trust in themself.
That’s why they grow up to be the people who are always doubting themselves.
Even if they receive praise from others for what they do, they’ll never believe it. And even if they’ve done something several times, they still have panic attacks every time they do it.
10) They easily feel guilty
Children of controlling parents often say “sorry” because they’ve been criticized and reprimanded daily.
It’s as if they never do anything right!
Because of this, they feel guilty 24/7 that “Sorry” has become their reflex.
They automatically take the blame when something goes wrong.
And when someone is in a bad mood, they assume it’s because of them.
It can sometimes even make them want to say sorry for their existence because they think they’re just an inconvenience to everyone around them.
This is what having controlling parents can do to a person…and it’s actually quite sad.
What to do
There’s nothing we can do about the past.
But the good thing is that we can do something about the EFFECTS of the past.
So if there are some traits that you don’t like in yourself or in someone you know, don’t lose hope.
You probably think “Huh? Can personality really change?”, and I’m here to tell you it definitely can.
If this is you:
- Acknowledge and accept the past.
- Seek therapy. It’s the best form of intervention.
- Set boundaries—especially if your parents are still controlling.
- Realize that you don’t have to disclose everything to anyone.
- Find a support group.
- Heal your wounded inner child.
If this is someone you know:
- Be more compassionate and patient towards them.
- Try not to add more trauma. If you’re controlling, work on it.
- Find ways to be more gentle when giving them negative feedback.
- Encourage them to find their identity and create their own path.
- Remind them that they don’t have to impress you because you accept them for who they are.
- Provide them a safe space.
If you know someone who has these traits, then give them more compassion and understanding.
They’re probably raised by controlling parents and would need some guidance (and love) to slowly reshape the way they see the world and themselves.
And if this is you, don’t beat yourself up even more for having these traits.
Instead, work on healing and self-compassion.
Your childhood wasn’t the easiest but it’s time to let go of the past, and move forward to becoming the person you truly are, and having the life you truly want.
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