17 Traits That Suggest You Didn’t Get Enough Love Growing Up

Growing up in an environment lacking love and nurturing can have long-lasting effects on a person. In this article, we’ll explore 17 traits that are often seen in adults who were starved of love during their childhoods. While challenging to overcome, understanding these traits is the first step toward healing.

Difficulty Forming Deep Connections

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Do you find yourself struggling to build strong emotional bonds with others? People who didn’t grow up surrounded by love tend to keep their relationships at a surface level. They often feel disconnected or detached from others, an unfortunate side effect of their upbringing.

Fear of Abandonment

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Conversely, people who were starved of love as children may also have a constant worry about being left alone or rejected. They may cling too tightly in relationships, which often leads to the sabotaging of relationships before they can end.

Low Self-Esteem

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As shared by VeryWell Mind, low self-esteem “can encompass a range of factors, such as your sense of identity, self-confidence, feelings of competence, and feelings of belonging.” This is another common trait among those who were starved of love growing up. They tend to undervalue themselves in various aspects of life.

Inability to Trust

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Trust is hard for most people, let alone those who unfortunately weren’t surrounded by love as children. These individuals often find it very hard to trust others, leading to relationship challenges. They tend to expect betrayal or disappointment and struggle with vulnerability and opening up.

Overly Independent

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Many people who were starved of love develop an exaggerated sense of self-reliance, stemming from having to be independent in their younger years. They may have difficulty in seeking or accepting help from others and often avoid relying on anyone, fearing disappointment.

Depression and Anxiety

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Sadly, those who grew up without much love or affection have a higher susceptibility to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. These emotional struggles stem from neglect and complications growing up and can lead to panic attacks or severe anxiety episodes.


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Psych Central says, “A highly sensitive person is someone who feels things strongly, whether those things are positive or negative.” Unfortunately, those who were starved of love often feel extreme sensitivity to criticism or rejection. This fear of rejection stems from feeling insignificant in childhood and can cause them to overreact or feel deeply hurt by minor issues.

Forgiving Nature

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Some people who grew up without love tend to forgive others easily, understanding the imperfections in humans. They might overlook or accept others’ hurtful behaviors. This forgiving nature can stem from a longing for acceptance and love.

Prioritizing Others’ Happiness

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Similarly, this type of person is often focused on making their loved ones happy, sometimes at their own expense. They’re less concerned with materialistic things or personal achievements but rather driven by the desire to create a loving environment, which they lacked as a child.

Struggling With Self-Love

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Many of those who were starved of love during their childhoods tend to be their own worst critics. They may struggle with self-acceptance and positive self-image. The journey of learning to love themselves is often a challenging one.

Attraction to Destructive Relationships

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Another trait that is often seen amongst those whose childhoods lacked affection is that they are subconsciously drawn to relationships that replicate their childhood trauma. They might engage in relationships with emotionally unavailable or abusive partners and often experience repetitive patterns of hurtful relationships.

Avoidance of Relationships

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According to HelpGuide, when it comes to this type of person, “Instead of craving intimacy, they’re so wary of closeness they try to avoid emotional connection with others.” They may choose isolation over the risk of harmful relationships, missing out on growth opportunities that healthy relationships offer.

Avoidance of Self-Reflection

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Many of those who grew up without love also avoid thinking about themselves to escape painful emotions. This is because self-reflection can trigger memories of trauma and neglect. These individuals may also struggle with self-care and understanding their own needs.

Emotional Disconnect

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Other people who were starved of love as children have difficulty integrating emotions into their identity. They’re often said to feel disconnected from their own feelings, which may lead to confusion and an unstable sense of self.


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“People with perfectionism hold themselves to impossibly high standards. They think what they do is never good enough,” as per Healthline. They overcompensate for their past by trying to be perfect in all aspects. This is because they’re often driven by fear of criticism and a desire for acceptance, which can lead to stress and burnout.

Defensive Attitude

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If you didn’t receive much love growing up, you may also easily feel threatened or attacked, leading to defensiveness. This situation can cause a struggle with open communication and constructive feedback. You may interpret neutral situations as personal attacks.

Excessive People-Pleasing

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A constant need to please others to gain acceptance is another common trait of those who were starved of love. These people may disregard their own personal boundaries and needs, which can then lead to them feeling used or unappreciated.

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