People who continuously make bad life decisions may have had these 7 experiences growing up

Ever notice how some people just seem to have a knack for making poor decisions? It’s like they’re magnetically drawn to bad choices, repeatedly falling into the same traps and pitfalls.

It might not be entirely their fault. In fact, some research suggests that our ability to make good life choices could be heavily influenced by our experiences growing up.

Here are 7 common childhood experiences that could be quietly sabotaging your decision-making skills in adulthood.

1) Growing up in a chaotic household

Picture this.

You’re a kid living in a home where unpredictability is the norm. Maybe there are constant arguments, or perhaps the family structure keeps changing.

Now imagine how this might impact your decision-making skills.

Uncertainty can breed anxiety and stress, which can seriously affect your ability to make sound choices. When you’re used to chaos, it can become your comfort zone, and you might unconsciously seek it out, even if it’s detrimental to your well-being.

2) Lack of positive role models

Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of love. But, I’ve got to admit – there weren’t many people in my life modeling wise decision-making.

My parents did their best, but they had their own struggles and didn’t always make the greatest choices. As a result, I didn’t have a solid example of what good decision-making looked like.

You see, role models play a huge part in shaping our behaviors and choices. They provide us with examples of how to navigate life’s challenges and make smart decisions.

Without this guidance, it’s easy to end up making poor decisions ourselves. We are, after all, products of our environment. And if that environment lacks positive influences, it can dramatically affect our ability to make good life decisions.

3) Emotional neglect

Here’s a personal story for you.

I was always the ‘strong’ one in my family. The one who never needed any help, who always had it together. But what people didn’t see was the emotional neglect I experienced growing up.

My parents, bless their hearts, were busy dealing with their own issues. They didn’t have the time, or maybe the emotional capacity, to give me the emotional support I needed. I had to figure things out on my own.

Now, being independent is a good thing, but not when it comes at the cost of emotional neglect.

Why does this matter?

Because emotional neglect can influence how we make decisions as adults. When we don’t have a strong emotional foundation, when we’re not taught how to manage our feelings and emotions effectively, it can lead to poor decision-making.

We might make bad choices because we’re trying to fill that emotional void, or because we simply haven’t learned how to handle complex emotions and situations.

4) Exposure to substance abuse

Growing up in a household where substance abuse is prevalent can severely impact a person’s life, including their decision-making abilities.

When children are exposed to such environments, they often experience a range of issues – from emotional trauma to the normalization of destructive behaviors. This can not only lead to them developing substance abuse issues themselves but can also impair their ability to make sound decisions in other areas of life.

Seeing substance abuse normalized can distort an individual’s understanding of what healthy coping mechanisms look like, steering them towards harmful choices.

5) Experiencing frequent criticism

Criticized woman People who continuously make bad life decisions may have had these 7 experiences growing up

Here’s an interesting perspective.

Did you know that children who experience frequent criticism tend to develop a negative inner voice? That’s right – the harsh words and excessive criticism they hear growing up can turn into a self-deprecating monologue that continues into adulthood.

This negative inner voice can be a major factor in making poor decisions. It can make you second-guess yourself, feel inadequate, and even lead to self-sabotage.

6) Absence of healthy boundaries

Let me paint a picture for you.

Growing up, my house was like Grand Central Station. Doors were always open, people came and went, and there was little to no privacy. It seemed fun at the time, but it also meant that I never really learned about healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are crucial in life. They teach us respect – for ourselves and others. They help us understand what’s acceptable and what’s not. But if you grow up without these clear lines, things can get messy.

For me, this resulted in a lot of poor decisions as an adult because I didn’t understand how to set healthy limits. I let people walk all over me, and I often found myself in situations I didn’t want to be in.

7) Exposure to constant financial instability

Being raised in a financially unstable environment can have a lasting impact on your decision-making abilities.

When you are constantly exposed to financial stress, it can lead to a scarcity mindset. This mindset often results in short-term decision-making and neglecting long-term consequences.

Growing up in such an environment might make you prone to making impulsive decisions, especially when it comes to money. This could explain why you might be continuously finding yourself in tricky financial situations.

Stepping into change

If you’ve seen your own childhood reflected in these experiences, know this – you are not alone, and your past does not have to dictate your future.

Recognizing these experiences in your past is a powerful first step. It’s a sign of self-awareness, a testament to your resilience, and a beacon guiding you towards change.

Reflect on the experiences that resonate with you. Understand how they might have influenced your choices, consciously or subconsciously.

Then, commit to learning healthier ways of decision-making. Seek professional help if needed. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Surround yourself with positive influences and role models.

Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey filled with self-discovery and personal growth. It may be challenging, but it’s certainly worth it.

At the end of the day, we’re all a product of our experiences, but we also have the power to shape our own destiny.

Picture of Lucas Graham

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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