Home Psychology People who had overbearing parents often grow up with these 8 traits

People who had overbearing parents often grow up with these 8 traits

People who had overbearing parents often grow up with these 8 traits

Growing up with overbearing parents is a bit like having two eagles circle around you all day long.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, their shadows are high in the sky above you, reminding you of their presence.

Naturally, this constant state of control leads a person to develop certain coping mechanisms and qualities that can last well into adulthood – even after the eagles have flown away long ago.

People who had overbearing parents often grow up with these 8 traits.

1) They don’t trust their own decisions

Many parents who exert too much control over their children do so because they are unable to develop a full sense of trust.

They are always worried. Afraid that you will get into trouble; afraid that you are not living up to your potential; afraid you will get sick; concerned about anything and everything that is even remotely connected to you.

As a result, they will be in your life more often than necessary, making decisions for you and taking responsibility for some of your actions.

And what happens when the person you rely on most tries to take control of your life?

You doubt the validity and power of your own choices.

What if you decide to do something and then find out that your parents don’t agree? What if you make a mistake? What if you’re wrong again?

Self-doubts keep swirling through your head and gnawing at you day in and day out.

2) They are constantly afraid of failure

I grew up with overbearing parents, and if there’s one thing that was instilled in me from a very young age, it was the fear of failure.

If I got a bad grade in school, I was yelled at. If I made a mistake, I was criticized.

There was no trial and error for me. Lessons that have gone wrong are not learned. There was simply success and failure, and no gray area in between.

Of course, dealing with such unreasonable expectations is incredibly difficult because you can never succeed 100% of the time.

Life is about making mistakes and adapting your approach as a result, and if you learn to associate every mistake with a sense of impending doom, you will soon find that it is better not to take on new challenges at all .

Hence, those of us who grew up with overbearing parents tend to remain stuck in our comfort zones. We’d rather be good at what we know and risk stagnation than evolve in new directions and risk failure.

But if this sounds like you, I want you to know that I overcame this fear, and you can too.

It’s all about reprogramming the way you view failure, reprogramming the false beliefs you have about yourself, and letting go of your parents’ expectations.

The latter is especially important, and if there is one book I would recommend on this subject, it is this Homecoming: reclaiming your inner child by John Bradshaw.

3) They are either overly relatable to others or hyper-independent

If your parents are overly controlling, you have two choices: accept or reject.

I’ve seen these coping mechanisms play out in real time, because as I accepted my trials in life and learned to be overly dependent on others, my sister turned into a rebel.

I asked for help even though I didn’t really need it. She was too proud to even think about it.

I clung obsessively to my relationships with others. She was a lone wolf.

I strove for academic validation. She refused to study.

While my coping mechanism was to become anxiously attached to the people around me and build my entire identity around my social interactions, my sister became an independent island.

As you probably know, none of these qualities are very healthy. Building social connections is very important for our physical and mental well-being, but a complete lack of self-reliance undermines self-confidence.

The good news is that these coping mechanisms can be reprogrammed once you start working on them.

4) They are perfectionists

If you’re afraid of making mistakes, your natural instinct may be to strive for perfectionism. This is completely normal.

In fact, says research that overly controlling parents often raise perfectionist children. As a child, you may have been so afraid of criticism that you tried to get everything right – at the expense of your own mental health.

Unfortunately, becoming an adult does not automatically make you lose all your childhood behavior patterns. More often than not you keep repeating them, except this time you take on the role of the strict parent.

“I’m so stupid, why can’t I solve this problem?”

“I only got 98% on a test, the missing 2% really bothers me. I should have done better.”

The expectations you have for yourself are so high that you often cannot meet them, leading to feelings of misery and inadequacy.

What helped me most in this regard was realizing that in my imperfection I was worthy of love and kindness.

You are human. You are valid because you exist – even if you don’t get an A or a promotion.

5) They always seek external validation

Speaking of ranks and promotions, one of the reasons you’re such a perfectionist is that you’re hungry for compliments.

I’m not trying to be rude. I’ve spent my whole life singing the praises, so I’ll just tell it like it is – if you have overbearing parents who are especially show your affection as a reward for good behavior or external achievements, you learn to associate certain actions with love.

When you win a competition, you have ‘earned’ the right to be loved.

If you get a promotion, you have “earned” respect.

However, the truth is that you don’t have to earn anything.

The right people will love and respect you on the pure basis of your humanity. You don’t have to do anything special to have your life validated.

You are enough.

6) They have difficulty setting clear boundaries

Boundaries are all about separating your personal space from the public space and honoring your individuality.

If you don’t like how someone is treating you, say so.

If you would rather spend the evening alone than go to a party, say so.

If you are firmly against dishonesty in a relationship… say so.

Easier said than done, right? For those of us who grew up with overbearing parents, boundaries are our worst nightmare because we are only now getting used to them.

When we were children, there were very few boundaries between ourselves and our parents, meaning we learned to see ourselves as extensions of other people rather than as full-fledged individuals.

And if you struggle to set clear boundaries, chances are you also possess the next trait on this list…

7) They are people pleasers

We’ve already talked about your hunger for praise and thirst for external validation, but we haven’t talked about the great lengths you can go to to avoid conflict.

I say this as someone who was absolutely afraid of confrontation and was a huge people pleaser.

When my girlfriend and I came to a disagreement, I quickly gave up and pretended to have changed my mind just to appease her.

When we had an argument every few months, all I could think about was how angry I had made her and what I could possibly do to make things right. Not once did it occur to me that I should have been angry too.

People-pleasing is built on the foundation of prioritizing relationships and neglecting your own sense of self. People pleasers feel like they have to deal with the emotions, moods, and needs of others – besides their own.

The key to unlearning people-pleasing behavior? Accept that not everyone will necessarily like you.

You don’t like everyone you meet either. Why would they?

Sometimes it’s okay not to get along.

8) They take extreme risks or no risks at all

Finally, having controlling parents can cause you to develop unhealthy attitudes about risks.

Either you feel as free as a bird once you’re out of your parents’ clutches and you take one risk after another, or you continue to follow in your parents’ footsteps and stay locked in your comfort zone.

And how can we determine who chooses which coping mechanism?

We can’t do that. Humans are complicated and complex creatures, and you never know how they can surprise you.

Our coping mechanisms emerge when we need them, and while one person chooses to become a “rebel,” so to speak, others may struggle to overcome their childhood conditioning.

Whatever traits from this list you have, remember that these traits don’t have to stay with you forever. You can change them or delete them completely.

But you need to take the first step on your personal development journey.


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