People who were raised by really strict and overprotective parents often have these 9 personality traits

I was raised by really strict parents.

Since you clicked on this article, chances are that you were, too.

Discipline. Academic success. Rules, rules, rules. Daily curfew. A few more rules.

Sounds familiar? 

If so, I bring some news. You may have developed specific traits as a result of your upbringing – some of them great, others not so much. 

(Thanks, Dad.)

Let’s dive in!

People who were raised by really strict and overprotective parents often have these 9 personality traits.

1) They constantly doubt themselves

Growing up, I never trusted myself to make the right decision. All my thought processes were based on one question: “Would this make my parents angry?”

This unhealthy habit continued into early adulthood. Long after I’d moved out of my parents’ house, I was still riddled with doubt. 

Was my academic essay good enough? Did I do the laundry right? Were my eating habits healthy?

At every step, I had to ask my friends for help. Now that my parents were no longer there to tell me what to do, I was left to my own devices – and I didn’t feel self-sufficient enough to do it all on my own.

Mind you, this wasn’t because I was inherently incapable. I wasn’t. The issue had everything to do with my self-esteem. 

I simply didn’t believe in myself.

2) They strive to “earn” love through external accomplishments

If you struggle to feel confident and self-assured, what can you do to get that nice little ego boost?

Well, growing up with strict parents teaches you one thing for sure: academic accomplishment is of the utmost importance. 

It’s what makes your parents proud. It’s what ensures that they take you out for dessert or reward you with a pair of nice shoes. 

Most importantly, it’s what helps you “earn” their love and affection.

As a consequence, you may go your whole life thinking that external accomplishments are the most effective way to receive love and validation. 

Over time, that idea gets so ingrained in your mind that you no longer need your parents to feel good about yourself when you get an A or win a prize – the accomplishment itself is enough to make you feel worthy. 

Like you matter after all.

If this strikes home, I want you to remember that once all the grades and promotions and prizes are stripped off, once you are bare in your human ordinariness… you are just as worthy of love.

You shouldn’t have to do anything special to deserve attention and kindness. You already are special. Because you exist. And that is enough.

you probably had a pretty tough childhood People who were raised by really strict and overprotective parents often have these 9 personality traits

3) They’re very susceptible to anxiety and stress

It probably comes as no surprise that overprotective parenting has been linked to anxiety and emotional dysregulation in children.

Personally, I’ve always been an incredibly anxious person. 

Since I feared that every misstep on my part would give rise to an argument at home or some kind of punishment (I would get grounded for the smallest of things, such as coming home a few minutes late), I was always riddled with worry and stress.

Living my life felt like tiptoeing around a ticking bomb. 

The good news is that I am now nowhere near as anxious as I used to be. 

A few years after moving out of my parents’ house, I realized my anxiety was a huge issue – it prevented me from making friends, speaking out in class, and sometimes even ordering a cup of coffee – and began to actively work on myself.

If you’re in the same boat, I recommend you read Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast by Barry McDonagh. It’s helped me a great deal.

4) They feel responsible for everyone’s feelings

The emotional boundaries between overprotective parents and their children are… well, blurred, to say the least.

Since you don’t have much autonomy over your actions and are under what feels like a constant state of surveillance, you might start to link your behavior to your parents’ emotions.

Of course, we all do this – to a point. When it becomes too much, however, you may feel like your parents’ feelings are your responsibility to carry. 

During the process of navigating and managing their emotions as well as yours, it becomes almost impossible for you to establish healthy emotional boundaries and gain some sense of independence as an individual.

I carried this mindset with me into adulthood and had a couple of friendships fall apart due to my people-pleasing tendencies and my inability to stand up for myself. 

Only then did I learn to establish some ground rules for myself and began to work on my people-pleasing behavior.

5) They are either overly reliant on others or hyper-independent

As you can tell from what I’ve shared so far, my upbringing has led me to doubt myself and lack self-sufficiency. 

However, that isn’t the only way people cope with having strict parents. In fact, some of us decide to go down a completely different path – that of rebellion and hyper-independence.

The moment you escape the chains of teenagehood, you feel free as a bird. And you decide to never depend on anyone ever again because you associate that feeling with restriction and limited control.

This is completely understandable. 

If you take it too far, though… well, too much independence can give rise to isolation, which leads to loneliness, which has an incredibly negative impact on your well-being.

It’s okay to rely on other people for help. The great news is that now that you’re an adult, you are free to choose who it is you put your trust in.

6) They are very self-disciplined

Alright, let’s move on to something a little bit more positive!

Not every trait you’ve gained through overprotective and strict parenting is a bad one.

I, for one, absolutely cherish my strong willpower. If there’s one thing my friends always praise me for, it’s my determination and hard-working nature wrapped up in a nice and neat package of self-discipline. 

But I didn’t just stumble upon this trait by accident. 

No. Since my parents raised me to strive for academic success and work hard to make something of myself, I learned from an early age just how important self-discipline was in order to get stuff done.

While my friends played video games, I did my homework. While they were enjoying each day as it came, I was already brainstorming future career possibilities. 

This isn’t to say their way of life was worse or less valuable in any way, of course. It was just different. 

What I will say, however, is that my self-discipline makes my adult life much easier. 

Whilst my friends struggle to manage their time and always feel busy and overwhelmed, my days are generally structured, productive, and enjoyable.

signs your friend may be a narcissist People who were raised by really strict and overprotective parents often have these 9 personality traits

7) They struggle to stand their ground and end toxic relationships

There’s a quote by Richard Kadrey that I really like: “When you’re born in a burning house, you think the whole world is on fire. But it’s not.”

I couldn’t agree more. 

Being raised by strict and overprotective parents lays down the foundation for how you approach all relationships in your life, and unfortunately, it’s far from healthy. 

I’ve always struggled to stand up for myself in my friendships, for instance. I spent many long years surrounding myself with friends who put me down, made me feel emotionally drained, and always had the last word. 

For the longest time, I was completely blind to it. Looking back, I realize that these friendships mimicked the dynamic I had set up with my parents, and since I didn’t know any better, I thought it was the standard.

It was only when I left the burning house that I realized the rest of the neighborhood was perfectly fine. Slowly but surely, it dawned on me that I deserved better.

8) They have a knack for lying

When you let your children have a sense of autonomy and freedom, they are less likely to lie to you than if you set strict rules and hold them to impossibly high standards.

Isn’t that ironic?

Well, it kind of makes sense when you think about it. I always knew that if I came clean about some of the things I’d done, there’d be punishment and shouting, so I just… lied.

And it worked.

I also promised myself that I’d try my best to have a healthy and accepting relationship with my future kids so that they didn’t have to lie to me, too.

9) They are hard workers

It’s a tough job to keep strict parents happy and make them proud. Their expectations are so high that exceeding them is nearly impossible.

This doesn’t make their children work any less, however. 

While I consider my hard-working nature as one of my strengths, it did take me some time to learn how to stop working myself into exhaustion.

So, if you’re a hard worker, too… I want you to know that your worth isn’t linked to your output. It’s an inherent part of your personhood.

Stop for a second. Take a break.

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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