18 Common Habits Indicating You Weren’t Loved During Childhood

Children deserve the best in the world; but it’s not the toys, the holidays, or the material things that make children the happiest. It’s the unconditional love and care they receive from their parents. Sadly, whether intentionally or not, some parents do not express their feelings towards their children in a right or clear way so as to make them feel loved and appreciated. This can have serious consequences during childhood but also for their life as adults.

Read on to find out 18 common habits of people who weren’t shown love during their childhood.

Photos by DimaBerlin on Shutterstock

Habits displayed by people who weren’t loved as children:

Seeking approval from others

Children lacking their parents’ approval and validation are more likely to turn into adults who constantly need validation from their peers. If you have difficulties in making decisions and need to ask for other people’s opinions and advice, then it’s possible that your parents did not give you the kind of love that you needed.

Another trait of people who were not loved as children is the need to please everyone, most of the time neglecting their own feelings and desires.

Difficulty trusting other people

As explained by Word From the Bird, a common habit of people who were not shown love and care when they were children is not trusting other people. Adults who did not receive emotional support when they were younger create emotional barriers to help them cope with life and other people.

They have the habit of putting worst-case scenarios first and avoid opening up and talking about their vulnerabilities. They do this because they are afraid of getting hurt and want to prevent any potential betrayal from the people they partially trust.

Overanalyzing social interactions

When you don’t love who you are, you don’t take criticism and rejection lightly, no matter where it comes from. You constantly worry about what others think about you and what you can do to make them like you.

Another habit is to overanalyze every past dialogue or conversation and to regret not acting differently in certain situations. Normal events and interactions are perceived way more dramatically and seen in a more negative light than they actually were.

Suppressing emotions

Children who were denied love and care usually start suppressing their feelings to prevent getting hurt. Their adult life is full of challenges in terms of finding their own identity and sharing their true feelings for fear that they might be ignored or made fun of.

Fear of abandonment

Pysch Central also explains that kids who felt neglected during childhood develop a strong fear of commitment and abandonment as adults. They avoid relationships that would make them re-live the same feelings and fears, thus, trying to build emotional walls that keep them safe.

If you notice situations in which you feel extremely jealous or worried about your partner, friends or other people you love abandoning you, it could be a sign that you did not receive enough love and affection as a child.

Read about:10 Codependency Signs and the Smart Ways to Overcome It


Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a sign that someone’s childhood was devoid of parental love. However, in combination with other behaviors, like striving for perfection only to attract the attention of others and making them love us, it shows that one was missing an emotional connection with their parents in childhood.

Another habit, opposed to perfectionism, but also deriving from the absence of childhood love, is procrastination. Most procrastinators do this for fear of not living up to imposed standards.

Difficulty expressing needs

Unloving parents often neglect their children and their needs. This results in adults having difficulties in talking about their needs, for fear of being ignored or not taken seriously. Their needs and desires do not seem important enough to be spoken aloud, thus they accumulate frustrations and resentment which will further complicate their life and relationships.


According to Expert Editor, self-isolation is a common habit of people who were not shown enough affection and care when they were children. They felt lonely and isolated as children and bring this behavior into their adult life. They like to keep personal things away from privy eyes, do not attend any social gatherings, especially those organized by co-workers, and avoid having any social interactions for fear of being rejected or ridiculed.

Chronic guilt

Parents who do not manage to make their kids loved enough, manage another thing: to make their children feel guilty for not being good enough to be loved. Children growing up with this guilt will most likely blame themselves for things that they are not at fault for. As adults, they will always underestimate themselves and feel guilty for everything aspect seemingly going wrong in their lives.


People who would rather daydream and fantasize about the things they would do or say, watching movies and TV series and imagining themselves as part of the stories, can be a sign of an unloved child. If they are using these coping mechanisms just to avoid facing their real life, thoughts and feelings, it might be because of their unloving parents.

Sarcasm as a defense mechanism

If you are a sarcastic person, it’s not always a tell-tale sign that you lacked love in your childhood. However, if you constantly use humor and sarcasm to avoid serious conversations or express your true feelings, then it might be because you’re trying to protect yourself and hide your vulnerabilities. Excessive use of sarcasm can be a sign that you are not at ease with talking about yourself, your needs and your feelings.

Photo by fizkes on Shutterstock

Overcompensating in relationships

Adults who were not shown sufficient love and care as children will usually try to overcompensate in their relationships, not only with their partners but also with their friends and family members. It is their attempt to demonstrate that they are worthy of being loved and appreciated. They will do whatever’s in their power so that other people like them and don’t think negatively about them, often at the cost of their own identity.

Avoiding eye contact

Eye contact is a common trait of confident people. They have no problem looking you straight in the eye while talking to you. At the other end of the spectrum, people who did not grow up in loving environments feel shamed and avoid eye contact.

Not only can this habit ruin the chance to meet a potential partner, but it can also prevent people from adhering to a social circle and feeling comfortable in the company of friends. By avoiding eye contact, they feel that they are protecting themselves.

Obsessive self-reliance

When we are children, we rely on adults to help us with what we need and want. In the case of parents who do not satisfy their children’s emotional needs and do not cater to their children, are more likely to turn into self-reliant adults. In their opinion, they are the only ones who can take care of themselves and if they don’t do that, no other person will.

Dismissing personal achievements

People who are not shown enough love as kids tend to downplay their qualities and achievements. This usually happens because they have low self-esteem and cannot accept the fact that they can achieve something big. They have a hard time accepting that they too are skilled and can be successful people.




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