15 Habits Of People Who Grew Up Unloved

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Had a not-so-great childhood where your parents missed the mark on showering you with love? You’re not the only one. Turns out, around 60 percent of Americans had some rough patches during their childhoods. And even if you’ve been putting in the work in therapy to deal with all that past stuff, it’s totally possible that feeling unloved back then is still leaving its mark on you today. That could mean you’ve picked up some not-so-great habits along the way. Curious? Here are the habits of people who grew up unloved.

Negative Self-Talk

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If your parents were like the captains of the negativity train during your upbringing, constantly dishing out criticism and belittling your wins, you’re not alone. Maybe it became such a routine that now, you’re basically your own not-so-great cheerleader, talking to yourself in a way that’s just plain mean. Let’s be real here – you deserve way better than that.

Trust Issues

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If your childhood wasn’t exactly a safe and cozy haven, you probably had to take some measures to shield yourself. Picture it: your young, tender spirit building walls like a fortress to keep out all the potential pain and heartache from others. It made you a pro at keeping that guard up and not fully trusting anyone. Those walls? They might still be standing tall, and it’s high time to give them a little makeover.


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Growing up without much love can make you hold on tight to any scrap of affection you get as an adult. So, when you finally find someone who gives you that warmth, you might go all in, wanting to be with them every minute of the day and flood their phone with texts. Deep down, you know they need their space, but giving it to them? That’s a toughie.

Fear of Abandonment

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Ever get that nagging feeling that everyone’s just waiting to ditch you when they’ve had enough? Well, point the finger at your caretakers. If they weren’t always there for you, slacking on the love and safety department, it’s no wonder you’re haunted by this fear that everyone you meet is gearing up to bail on you. But here’s the truth: if someone’s really in your corner, they’re not going anywhere, no matter what.

Being a Flatterer

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Ever feel like you’re on a perpetual quest for approval from others, especially when it comes to work? Blame it on the love deficit from your parents. When you don’t get the love you need early on, it can make you work overtime to earn those gold stars of approval later in life. You might find yourself saying “yes” to every request, even if it’s a major inconvenience, to prove you’re worthy of love.

Staying in Toxic Relationships

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Growing up in a toxic environment can mess with your compass for what’s normal in relationships. Maybe your folks were toxic to each other, or perhaps your main caregiver wasn’t exactly a beacon of positivity. However, it unfolded, and you got a firsthand look at what human connections are all about. It becomes your benchmark, shaping how you see things and expect them to roll. You go towards people who aren’t the best for you.

Feeling Alone

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Ever notice yourself keeping people at arm’s length, even when they seem like decent company? Blame it on the lack of love during your childhood. If people didn’t fill your love, safety, and support tanks, why bother with them, right? Toss in a sprinkle of trust issues, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for either flying solo or just keeping folks at bay. No wonder folks in this boat often feel like they’re all alone.

Struggling With Boundaries

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When your parents were pros at making you feel unloved, they basically gave you a crash course in not setting healthy boundaries. Maybe they were the control freaks of the century, stomping all over your need for a bit of freedom. The thing is, when you’ve never had someone who truly respects your needs, wants, and those oh-so-important deal breakers, you start to think they’re not worth voicing at all.

Fear Of Failure

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That constant chatter of negativity in your head and the lack of belief in yourself can brew up a real fear of falling flat on your face. It’s like success is this distant dream that you don’t even feel worthy of chasing. It’s a harsh feeling like you’re always battling against yourself.

Extreme Sensitivity

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Growing up without that warm, fuzzy feeling of being loved can leave you feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, ready to crack at the slightest hint of criticism. So, when your boss or buddy dishes out some feedback, it’s like someone flipped a switch, and suddenly, you’re riding the emotional rollercoaster. Handling it like a champ? That’s easier said than done when you’re so used to feeling like you’re under fire.


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Going through an unloving childhood can throw a real emotional curveball your way, often landing you in the pit of feeling down or downright depressed. The whole deal of craving your parents’ love and coming up empty-handed can hit you like a ton of bricks, leaving you with this heavy sense of loss. And guess what? Anxiety and other mental issues might be lurking in the shadows, too, just waiting to join the party.

Taking Advantage of Others

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Growing up without a clear picture of what healthy boundaries should look like can make spotting them a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You might inadvertently bulldoze right through other people’s boundaries without even realizing it. Instead of being the one who’s constantly on the receiving end, you might find yourself unintentionally taking advantage of others. It’s a two-way street, though—recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others is just as crucial.

Pushing Yourself To Be Successful

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Growing up feeling like you had to earn your worthiness might have lit a fire under you, pushing you to strive for success with all your might. You’ve got this fierce ambition driving you forward, but it also comes with a price tag – the risk of burning out. Just a friendly reminder: it’s totally okay to hit the brakes, take a deep breath, and cut yourself some slack.

Difficulty Understanding Emotions

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Growing up without love could have left your emotions in the shadows, never really acknowledged or given the respect they deserve. This might have turned you into a bit of an emotional ninja – skilled at hiding your true feelings and struggling to make sense of them yourself, let alone expressing them to others. But hey, stepping back and focusing on getting to know yourself better can be a game-changer.

Struggle with Intimacy

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For many, revealing their vulnerabilities and opening up to someone can feel like navigating a minefield. But for those who grew up feeling unloved, it can seem like an Everest-sized challenge. They’ve learned to equate trust and emotional openness with pain and letdowns, making the idea of intimacy downright terrifying. Yet, with patience, empathy, and sincere care, these formidable barriers can be dismantled brick by brick.