6 Signs You Had an Emotionally Unhealthy Childhood

Parental upbringing plays a crucial role in childhood development. Sadly, not everyone was fortunate enough to grow up in a perfect household. Many children suffer the psychological consequences of their parents’ shortcomings later on in life. Have you ever wondered how emotionally healthy your childhood actually was? Here are six signs you may have had an emotionally unhealthy childhood. 

  1. You have low self-esteem

There are various factors that contribute to low self-esteem. Personal relationships, stress-related issues, traumatic life events, and other things all play a role in such. An emotionally abusive parent or parental figure can be another huge contributor. Those who lived an emotionally unhealthy childhood may be less confident in themselves. That being said, self-esteem and confidence are both areas that can be worked on and improved upon. 

  1. You are extremely self-critical

Are you your own biggest critic? Have other people often told you “you’re too hard on yourself?” This lack of self-belief goes hand-in-hand with low self-esteem and can also stem from a difficult childhood. If you were raised in a household where you always seemed to blame, even when it was not necessarily your fault, you may continue that habit of blaming yourself. You may also feel guilty about certain wants and needs. For example, if sex was never brought up as an appropriate topic of discussion growing up, you may feel more shameful of any sexual feelings. 

  1. You find it difficult to express your emotions

Childhood neglect can later develop into repression of certain emotions. If you did not feel safe expressing yourself when you were younger, it may be more difficult to do so as an adult. Aside from repression, you may just feel completely numb when it comes to emotions. Another habit that comes from an emotionally unhealthy childhood is completely cutting off emotions. 

  1. You cannot handle rejection

Rejection and failure are always scary to think about. Rejection becomes a common fear when it comes to asking out a crush or applying for a job. But do you actively avoid these life experiences because of this fear of failure? Those who were raised with unrealistic standards of perfection may be extra sensitive to any sort of rejection. 

  1. You have trust issues

Trust issues are another common sign of an emotionally unhealthy childhood. If your parents were unable to provide you with the care and support that you needed, you may find it more difficult to rely on others for a similar level of support. 

  1. You seek out unhealthy relationships

Our first idea of relationships stems from our relationship with our parents. After reflecting on your past or present relationships, how have your partners treated you? Are you able to find any similarities between a toxic partner and a toxic parent? If you find yourself in emotionally unhealthy romantic relationships, this may be a pattern that is mirroring your childhood. 

If any of these signs apply to you, just know you are not alone. Childhood trauma is unfortunately a common experience many individuals have gone through. Recognizing the emotional instability we grew up in is the first step to getting better. Also know you are not to blame. As children, we had no real input in how we are raised. Hopefully, you can learn to grow from your parents’ or caregivers’ mistakes, even though they are not your own.


Brandt, A. (2020, January 03). 9 Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect, and 3 Ways to Heal. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-anger/202001/9-signs-childhood-emotional-neglect-and-3-ways-heal

Jessica Wick More Articles December 21, 2. (2017, December 21). Signs You Had a Horribly Unhealthy Home-Life Growing Up. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/signs-you-had-a-horribly-unhealthy-home-life-growing-up.html/

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