Adult Traits Of People Who Grew Up Without Rules Or Structure

Adult Traits Of People Who Grew Up Without Rules Or Structure

Growing up without rules or structure can have a lasting impact on someone’s personality and behavior. While some people might envy the perceived freedom of a rule-less childhood, the reality is that it often leads to certain traits and tendencies that can be challenging to navigate in adulthood. These people might struggle with things like time management, decision-making, and relationships. It’s not that they’re intentionally difficult or irresponsible, it’s just that they weren’t given the tools and guidance to develop those skills growing up. Here are some things they might struggle with.

1. Difficulty with time management and deadlines

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If you grew up without a set schedule or routines, the concept of time management can be a foreign concept. Deadlines might seem arbitrary, and procrastination can become a way of life. It’s not that you don’t want to be on time or meet your obligations, it’s just that you haven’t developed the internal structure to do so effectively.

2. A tendency towards impulsive decision-making

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Without the experience of weighing consequences and considering different options, impulsive decisions can become the norm. This can lead to a string of choices that you later regret, or a feeling of constantly being in a state of chaos, Verywell Mind warns. It’s not that you don’t want to make good decisions, it’s just that you haven’t been taught how to think things through carefully.

3. A strong aversion to authority figures and rules

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If you didn’t have rules imposed on you as a child, you might resent them as an adult. Authority figures can seem like unnecessary obstacles, and rules might feel restrictive and pointless. This can make it difficult to navigate traditional work environments or social settings where some level of conformity is expected.

4. Difficulty maintaining consistent routines and habits

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Without the structure of routines and habits, life can feel chaotic and unpredictable. This can make it hard to stick to healthy habits like exercise or eating well, or to maintain a consistent work schedule. It’s not that you don’t want to have a stable life, it’s just that you haven’t developed the skills to create one.

5. A tendency to seek out novelty and excitement

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If your childhood lacked structure, you might crave novelty and excitement as an adult. This can manifest in a love of travel, a constant need for new experiences, or a tendency to jump from one project to the next without finishing anything. It’s not that you’re trying to be irresponsible, it’s just that you’re trying to fill the void left by a lack of structure.

6. Difficulty setting and achieving long-term goals

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Without the experience of working towards long-term goals, it can be difficult to envision the future and set realistic objectives. This can lead to a feeling of aimlessness or a sense of being stuck in a rut. It’s not that you don’t have dreams or ambitions, it’s just that you haven’t developed the skills to turn them into reality.

7. A tendency to prioritize short-term gratification over long-term consequences

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If you didn’t have to consider the consequences of your actions as a child, you might struggle with this as an adult. This can lead to impulsive spending, risky behavior, or a general lack of concern for the future. It’s not that you’re intentionally trying to sabotage yourself, it’s just that you haven’t learned to think beyond the immediate moment.

8. A strong sense of independence and self-reliance

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If you grew up having to fend for yourself, you might have developed a strong sense of independence and self-reliance. This can be a positive trait, but it can also make it difficult to ask for help or rely on other people. It’s not that you don’t want to connect with people, it’s just that you’re used to doing things on your own.

9. A tendency to be a “people pleaser”

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Without clear boundaries or expectations set in childhood, you might find yourself constantly trying to please people to gain approval and avoid conflict. This can lead to overextending yourself, saying yes to things you don’t want to do, and feeling resentful or taken advantage of. It’s not that you don’t value your own needs, it’s just that you haven’t learned to prioritize them.

10. Difficulty with emotional regulation and coping mechanisms

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If you weren’t taught healthy ways to manage emotions as a child, you might struggle with this as an adult. This can manifest in outbursts of anger, difficulty dealing with stress, or a tendency to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse. It’s not that you’re intentionally trying to be difficult, it’s just that you haven’t been given the tools to handle your emotions effectively.

11. A lack of trust in authority figures and institutions

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If your childhood lacked consistent guidance and support from authority figures, you might have developed a distrust of them as an adult. This can make it difficult to navigate systems like the legal system, healthcare, or education. It’s not that you’re trying to be rebellious, it’s just that you haven’t had positive experiences with authority figures.

12. A tendency to be overly self-critical and self-blaming

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If you weren’t given positive reinforcement and encouragement as a child, you might have developed a negative self-image. This can lead to harsh self-criticism, a tendency to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong, and a lack of confidence. It’s not that you’re intentionally trying to sabotage yourself, it’s just that you haven’t been taught to value and appreciate yourself.

13. Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships

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Without healthy role models for relationships, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of intimacy, communication, and boundaries. This can lead to a series of unhealthy relationships, a fear of commitment, or a tendency to isolate yourself. It’s not that you don’t want to connect with people, it’s just that you haven’t been given the tools to do so effectively.

14. A tendency to be a “free spirit” or “rebel”

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If you grew up without rules, you might have developed a strong aversion to conformity and a desire to live life on your own terms. This can be a positive trait, but it can also lead to a disregard for social norms and expectations, which can make it difficult to fit in or succeed in traditional settings. It’s not that you’re intentionally trying to be difficult, it’s just that you value your freedom and autonomy.

15. A strong sense of resilience and adaptability

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If you had to navigate a chaotic and unpredictable childhood, you might have developed a strong sense of resilience and adaptability. This can be a major asset in adulthood, allowing you to overcome challenges and bounce back from setbacks, the Mayo Clinic notes. It’s not that you enjoy hardship, it’s just that you’ve learned to cope with it and come out stronger on the other side.

Sinitta Weston grew up in Edinburgh but moved to Sydney, Australia to for college and never came back. She works as a chemical engineer during the day and at night, she writes articles about love and relationships. She's her friends' go-to for dating advice (though she struggles to take the same advice herself). Her INFJ personality makes her extra sensitive to others' feelings and this allows her to help people through tough times with ease. Hopefully, her articles can do that for you.
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