People who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents usually have these 8 personality traits

Having delved deep into the impact of childhood environments on adult personality traits, I can say this: growing up with parents who were emotionally distant can really leave a mark on who you are. It’s like a blueprint for certain personality traits that tend to show up in folks who’ve been through that.

A lot of times, these traits trace back to the ways we learned to cope and survive in those tough times as kids. And guess what? Sometimes, those survival skills stick around well into adulthood, even when the tough times are long gone.

Thing is, you might not even realize these traits have roots in your past. But once you spot them, it’s like unlocking a door to better understand yourself and grow as a person.

So, in this article, we’ll dive into 8 common personality traits that often pop up in people who had emotionally unavailable parents. It’s not about slapping labels on anyone, just about recognizing patterns that might shed some light on your own journey.

1) Difficulty trusting others

One of the most common personality traits among those who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents is a difficulty in trusting others. This stems from the unreliability they experienced in their early life, where they couldn’t count on their parents to consistently meet their emotional needs.

As a result, they often carry this mistrust into their adult relationships. They may struggle to open up to others, fearing vulnerability and the potential for rejection or disappointment.

This trait can manifest itself in various ways:

  • Reluctance to share personal feelings or experiences
  • A tendency to build emotional walls
  • Anxiety or discomfort in situations that require emotional intimacy

Recognizing this trait can be the first step towards working on trust-building in your relationships. In the next section, we’ll discuss another common personality trait that often accompanies a lack of trust.

2) Hyper-independence

Another trait commonly displayed by individuals who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents is a tendency towards hyper-independence. This can stem from the early realization that they could not rely on their parents for emotional support, leading to an internalized belief that they must handle all things on their own.

This hyper-independence can often be mistaken for strength or resilience. However, it can also lead to patterns of self-isolation and a reluctance to seek or accept help from others.

While independence is generally a positive trait, when taken to extremes it can prevent meaningful connections with others and create an unnecessary burden of self-reliance. Recognizing this trait can be a crucial step in learning to allow others in and share your burdens.

3) Perfectionism

Let’s talk about another trait often seen in those raised by emotionally distant parents: perfectionism.

This urge to be flawless usually comes from a deep-seated need for approval or validation they might’ve missed out on in their childhood. By chasing perfection, they hope to dodge any criticism or rejection.

Perfectionism can show up as a gnawing fear of messing up, leading to loads of stress and anxiety. They might also be really hard on themselves, always feeling like they’re not quite measuring up.

But here’s the thing: understanding this trait is the first step toward ditching self-criticism and embracing self-compassion. It’s about realizing that making mistakes is totally okay.

4) Difficulty in forming deep emotional connections

Let’s talk about another trait commonly found in folks who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents: the struggle to form deep emotional bonds. This often traces back to their early years when connecting with their folks was tough, if not impossible.

As adults, they might find it hard to get emotionally close to others. They could keep people at a distance, afraid of getting hurt by being vulnerable.

Spotting this trait is key. It sheds light on why forming meaningful connections can feel like an uphill battle. But understanding it is just the start – it’s about learning to tear down those emotional barriers and invite others in.

5) Fear of abandonment

Fear of abandonment People who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents usually have these 8 personality traits

A strong fear of abandonment is the fifth common trait that can be observed in those who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents. This fear often stems from the emotional neglect they experienced in their childhood, which can feel akin to a form of abandonment.

This fear can influence their behavior in relationships, leading to patterns such as clinginess, jealousy, and hypersensitivity to any signs of rejection. They may also avoid getting too close to others as a protective strategy to prevent potential abandonment.

It’s important to know that this fear is not an unchangeable part of you. With understanding and self-compassion, it’s possible to work through this fear and build healthier relationship dynamics.

Up next, we’ll delve into another significant trait that can stem from an upbringing with emotionally unavailable parents.

6) Emotional suppression

When you’re raised by parents who didn’t tune in to your emotional needs, you might’ve picked up the habit of bottling up those feelings as a survival tactic.

Fast forward to adulthood, and that habit can stick around, making it tough to open up or even recognize what you’re feeling. Keeping all those emotions locked away can take a toll on mental health and relationships.

But here’s the thing: acknowledging this tendency is a big step toward finding healthier ways to deal with emotions. It’s all about learning to express yourself in ways that feel right for you and building stronger connections with others.

7) Over-responsibility

The seventh common trait observed in those who had emotionally unavailable parents is a sense of over-responsibility.

This often arises from the feeling that they had to become ‘the adult’ in their family dynamic from a young age, taking care of not only themselves but also their parents.

In adulthood, this can translate into taking on excessive responsibilities, often shouldering others’ burdens even when it’s not appropriate or healthy. They may struggle to set boundaries and feel guilty when prioritizing their own needs.

Recognizing this trait is the first step towards learning to establish healthier boundaries and understand that it’s okay to put your own needs first.

8) Low self-esteem

The eighth and final trait often seen in individuals who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents is low self-esteem. The lack of emotional support and validation during their formative years can lead to a sense of unworthiness or feeling unlovable.

This low self-esteem can impact many areas of their lives, including their relationships, careers, and overall mental health. They may constantly seek approval from others or downplay their achievements due to feeling they’re never good enough.

Understanding this trait can be a vital step towards improving self-esteem and cultivating self-love. It’s essential to remember that your worth is not defined by your childhood experiences or the approval of others.

Moving forward: Healing and growth

Recognizing these traits within yourself is a significant step towards healing and personal growth. It’s important to remember that these traits were developed as coping mechanisms in an emotionally challenging environment, and they served a purpose at the time.

However, in adulthood, they may no longer serve you and could even be holding you back from forming healthy relationships and realizing your full potential. As such, it’s beneficial to work on addressing these traits.

Therapy can be an extremely helpful tool in this process, particularly trauma-focused therapies. Self-care practices, mindfulness, and self-compassion exercises can also be beneficial. It’s crucial to be patient with yourself during this journey.

Remember, you are not alone in this. Many people share similar experiences, and there are numerous resources available to support you along the way. The courage to face these challenges and grow from them is a testament to your strength and resilience.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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