15 signs your independent streak stems from a lonely childhood

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If you’re a highly independent person, the roots often go back to how you grew up. 

Formative experiences in childhood shape who we become and mold our values in powerful ways. 

But are you just a do-it-yourself kind of person or does this have deeper origins back to how you were raised?

Let’s take a look at the top indications that your independence traces back to your youngest years. 

1) You took on a lot of responsibility at a young age

From a young age, you had a lot of responsibility. 

You were expected to live up to a certain standard and keep track of yourself. 

Unlike children who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, you were always expected to handle your own responsibilities and even some of those around you. 

You didn’t get as much time to just “be a kid” and it was a lot of pressure right from the start.

This has contributed to your independent streak.

2) You were a key caregiver for your siblings

Another formative childhood experience that tends to make someone much more independent when they are older is caring for others as a kid. 

If you were expected to be a caregiver for one or more siblings, this has the effect of making you grow up quickly.

It can also be quite lonely, since you were expected to fill an adult and authority role early on, instead of playing around and enjoying your innocence. 

If you had this responsibility growing up, even part-time, it likely made you grow up much faster and gave you more desire to do your own thing and go your own way once you had the chance.

3) You had many chores and tasks as a kid

As a child, it was not all about you. 

In fact there were many chores and tasks that you were expected to do, from helping take out the trash to preparing meals, washing dishes and completing various other chores. 

You may have even had a schedule with your chores written down on it.

You envied kids who got to do what they wanted or have a lot of free time, because you never did. 

4) Your parents talked to you like an adult

Every parent raises their children differently. 

If you had parents who talked to you like an adult from a young age, that makes a big impression.

It’s also kind of lonely to want to do youthful things but be treated like you’re already an adult.

You end up forming a sense of yourself as a mature being much faster, and this propels you into a life of greater independence and self-assertion as you age into adolescence and your later years.

5) You were subject to strong discipline

Strong discipline can be helpful as a kid, but it’s rarely pleasant. 

If you were given firm boundaries at a young age, you likely had the feeling that your parents or caregivers were unnecessarily harsh on you. You may have felt very alone. 

This sense of being held to a stricter standard eventually led to you also holding yourself to a stricter standard as well. 

6) You cooked your own meals as a youngster

Another area where you were asked to step up to the plate early on was in making meals. 

Either by necessity or choice, you were asked to often take care of your own eating needs. 

As such, you missed out on many of the communal meal times and community feeling of meals. But at the same time, you became very independent about cooking for yourself and handling your dietary needs.

7) You had to clean up after yourself right from the start

Cleaning up after yourself was another thing you got used to very early on. 

Nobody cut you any slack even when you were a kid or a preteen, and that sense of cleaning up after yourself stuck with you. 

You’re now highly independent and make sure not to leave dirt around when you’re done.

8) You started work at a very young age

For many folks, work is something you do when you’re an adult.

But for you it started as a teen or even younger around home or helping a parent or relative. 

You didn’t get that “just fun” chapter of childhood that so many others seemed to. You were on the job. And you still have a very conscientious work-focused mindset now as an adult. 

9) You didn’t get to have a busy social life growing up 

Growing up you were disciplined a lot and expected to work and look after yourself. 

You didn’t have a busy social life and all sorts of social occasions going on and likely had few dating or romantic experiences in your younger years either. 

You felt left out, but it also made you able to handle life more on your own than many other kids who had greater social experiences. 

10) You learned to keep your feelings to yourself

You were raised in a way that told you to keep your feelings to yourself. 

You were expected to be like an adult from an early age and demonstrate emotional reservation and control. 

This lesson is something you learned early on and has presented a challenge to you in relationships and friendships. It makes it harder for you to form connections because you have trouble opening up emotionally.

11) You had to fight for your rights from a young age

From a young age you didn’t get anything handed to you. 

If you wanted anything you had to be very assertive and very clear. Nobody read your mind or went out of their way to please you or be nice to you. 

This was a difficult experience but it also made you stand up for yourself and become much more independent right away. 

12) But you got punished for complaining 

At the same time as you were expected to be assertive to get what you want, you weren’t permitted to complain. 

You had to stifle any feelings of being a victim because you knew it would get you nowhere. 

This may have hurt, but it also gave you a far greater degree of emotional control than many others, contributing to your large independent streak later in life. 

13) You learned to entertain yourself alone early on

From your earliest years you were often alone and expected to entertain yourself without other friends or people around. 

You ended up developing a great imagination and all sorts of fun games that you would play alone when there weren’t others around. 

It was lonely, but it also gave you a very independent streak that continues. You know how to keep yourself entertained without needing others. 

14) You spent a lot of time around people older than yourself growing up

Who you spend time with growing up has a huge impact. 

You spent a lot of time around older folks, including older kids, your parents, authority figures and various adults. 

You learned to talk more to adults than kids when you were young, which made you feel a bit alienated from your peers. 

However it also put you much more in the mindset of being an adult early on.

15) You were encouraged to be a highly independent thinker 

Learning to think for yourself is a deeply valuable skill. But it can also be lonely. 

You grew up from a young age questioning narratives, trends and resisting peer pressure. You were never one to just go along to get along.

This tends to be a lonely and alienating experience growing up, and forms the roots of becoming a highly independent person when you become an adult.

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