18 Habits You Probably Developed if You Weren’t Loved as a Child

All children deserve unconditional love and care. But unfortunately, whether they intend to or not, some parents don’t make their children feel as loved as they should. If you weren’t shown enough love as a child, you’re likely to recognize these 18 habits.

Seeking Approval from Others

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Those who don’t receive the approval and validation they needed from their parents as kids are likely to seek these essential resources out from others in their teens and adulthood. If you find yourself struggling to make decisions without the reassurance of others and people-pleasing to feel valued, it’s likely your parents didn’t show you as much love as you needed.

Difficulty Trusting People

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As noted by Word From the Bird, an inability to trust is common among those who were emotionally neglected as children. People who weren’t shown enough love as children commonly build up emotional walls to prevent themselves from getting hurt. They may be reluctant to open up to others or show their vulnerable sides for fear of being hurt or betrayed in the future.

Overanalyzing Social Interactions

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When you feel a lack of love within yourself, you’re more likely to be sensitive to criticism and rejection and worry about how others perceive you. As a result, you may find yourself ruminating on past interactions or conversations and perceive neutral or ambiguous interactions more negatively than they really were.

Suppressing Emotions

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Kids who are not loved enough often learn to hide or suppress their feelings to avoid vulnerability and being hurt. As adults, they may also find it challenging to identify and express their emotions, fearing that if they do, they may be ridiculed or ignored.

Fear of Abandonment

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According to Psych Central, children who were not shown enough care and affection often end up feeling abandoned. Because of this, they’re more likely to fear re-experiencing this same sense of abandonment when they grow up. If you find yourself becoming overly jealous and worried about friends or loved ones leaving you, it could stem from a lack of love in your childhood.


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While perfectionism alone doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of love in one’s childhood, it can when we strive for perfection to garner more love or approval from others. This may also come with a tendency to procrastinate due to a fear of failure or not meeting high enough standards.

Difficulty Expressing Needs

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Unloving parents frequently dismiss or ignore the needs of their children. As a result, people raised in this way may struggle to express their needs in the future, afraid that they will be ignored or invalidated for their desires.


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Expert Editor asserts that it is common for those who did not receive enough love as children to feel alone and isolated in their personal lives and the world at large. They will sometimes self-sabotage and withdraw from others to cope with their difficult emotions or fear of rejection.

Chronic Guilt

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Parents who do not express enough love sometimes send their children the implicit message that they are to blame for their needs not being met. As a result, kids raised in this way will often carry unnecessary guilt, even for things that were clearly not their fault.


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If you commonly find yourself fantasizing, daydreaming, or attempting to escape your thoughts and feelings using movies or series, this could be a sign of a neglectful childhood. Children who were not attended to enough often develop this habit as a way to cope with and escape from their reality.

Sarcasm as a Defense Mechanism

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Enjoying sarcasm obviously doesn’t guarantee that your parents didn’t love you. However, if you find yourself using humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism to protect your vulnerable side, this could be an indicator that you don’t feel safe enough to openly express your feelings and needs to others.

Overcompensating in Relationships

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People who did not receive enough love as children are more likely to overcompensate in their adult relationships and friendships, attempting to prove their worth and lovability so that those around them don’t leave or view them negatively.

Avoiding Eye Contact

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Feelings of shame and unworthiness are sadly common among those who did not get the love they deserved as children. This can create a barrier to intimacy that can result in the individual attempting to avoid eye contact to protect themselves and their vulnerable side.

Obsessive Self-Reliance

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As kids, we are naturally dependent on the adults around us to cater to our wants and needs. But if our parents weren’t present enough to fulfill this essential role, we are likely to become excessively self-reliant, believing that if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will.


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As noted by The Fostering Network, when we grow up in households that feel unsafe and unloving, we often become hyper-vigilant to scan for potential threats to our well-being. This habit can also follow us into adulthood, causing us to live in a heightened state of anxiety or alertness.

Dismissing Personal Achievements

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Those who do not receive enough love in their childhood are more likely to dismiss or downplay their own achievements or successes. This is usually due to the fact that they do not have a strong sense of self-worth or self-esteem, so they struggle with acknowledging the positive qualities and skills within themselves.

Preferring Fictional or Remote Relationships

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Do fictional or online relationships feel safer and more comfortable to you? If so, you may want to consider whether this preference could be rooted in your childhood. People raised by unloving parents are more fearful of exposing their vulnerable emotions in real-world settings, so fictional or online relationships can feel more controlled and safer to engage in.

Fear of Making Mistakes

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Those who did not receive enough love in their childhood may develop a sense that they are failures and disappointments if they do not prove their worth through achievements and success. As a result, they are likely to have a fear of making mistakes and failing.

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