If You Grew Up With Overly Critical Parents, You Probably Have These 12 Personality Traits

If You Grew Up With Overly Critical Parents, You Probably Have These 12 Personality Traits

While most people can rely on their parents to provide them with encouragement and support as they grow from kids into young adults, not everyone is so lucky. Growing up with overly critical parents not only robs you of vitally needed reinforcement during your most important years. Plus, it could leave you with these negative qualities as an adult.

1. You’re a Perfectionist.

Photo of good mood charming confident young man wear green windbreaker schoolbag walking city street.

If your parents were always on your case about getting things just right, chances are you’ve turned into a bit of a perfectionist. You might find yourself double and triple-checking your work, or feeling really stressed if everything isn’t just so. This drive for perfection can make you excel at stuff, but it can also leave you feeling drained. It’s like you’ve got this internal editor constantly on the lookout for mistakes. You’re probably your own harshest critic, and sometimes, it’s hard to just let things be ‘good enough.’

2. You’re Super Independent.

Young hispanic girl looking at camera outdoor - Focus on face

Growing up with overly critical parents often means you learned to rely on yourself pretty early on. You might find that you’re the ‘do it myself’ kind of person, hesitant to ask for help. This independence is a strength, but it can also make you a bit isolated. You’re used to figuring things out on your own, so teamwork or delegating tasks isn’t always your go-to move. You value self-sufficiency, and sometimes, you forget it’s okay to lean on others. (BTW, if this is something that’s keeping you from having good romantic relationships, our sister site, Sweetn, can help you out. They’re all about using the power of your mind to change your love life for the better. Check them out here.)

3. You’re Sensitive to Criticism.

serious woman standing against wall

When criticism was a big part of your childhood, it sticks with you. You might find that even gentle feedback can feel like a personal attack. This sensitivity makes you super conscientious about your work, but it can also make you anxious about others’ opinions. You’re likely very empathetic, understanding how words can impact someone. It’s a balancing act between taking constructive feedback and not letting it hit too deep.

4. You’re an Overthinker.

serious man looking off to the right

Having critical parents often leads to overthinking and obsessing. You might replay conversations in your head, wondering if you said something wrong. Decision-making can feel overwhelming because you’re used to analyzing every possible angle. This thoroughness has its upsides, like being detail-oriented and thoughtful. But it can also lead you to worry about things that most people wouldn’t even blink at. You’ve got a busy brain, always working overtime to suss out the ‘what ifs.’

5. You Strive for Approval.

man with striped shirt looking serious

Growing up in a critical environment can leave you constantly seeking approval and validation. You might find yourself working extra hard to impress others or feeling really down if you don’t get the recognition you hoped for. This need for approval drives you to achieve, but it can also be exhausting. You’re always on the lookout for that pat on the back, and sometimes, it’s tough to feel satisfied with your own accomplishments.

6. You’re a People Pleaser.

colleages walking and talking in office

If your parents were tough critics, you might have developed into a people pleaser. You’re the kind who goes out of your way to make sure everyone else is happy, often putting your own needs last. This trait makes you super considerate and a great friend, but it can also mean you don’t always stand up for yourself. You’re often worried about rocking the boat and might find it hard to say ‘no’ even when you really want to. It’s all about finding that balance between being kind and not losing sight of your own needs.

7. You’re Exceptionally Organized.

Good Morning. Rested Middle Aged Man Making His Bed After Sleep, Tidying His Modern Cozy Bedroom, Starting Day With Self Discipline Rituals. Comfort and Care Concept

Growing up in a critical household often means you’ve developed some serious organizational skills. You like to have things planned and under control. This trait makes you super reliable – if you say you’re going to do something, you do it, and you do it well. But, this need for control can sometimes make you a bit inflexible. Spontaneity isn’t really your thing, and unexpected changes can throw you for a loop.

8. You Tend to Be Introspective.

People who were raised by overly critical parents often spend a lot of time reflecting on their own thoughts and actions. You’re the type who thinks deeply about yourself and your place in the world. This introspection makes you self-aware and thoughtful, but it can also lead you down the rabbit hole of overanalyzing everything. You’re constantly trying to understand yourself better, which is great, but remember, sometimes it’s okay to just be.

9. You’re Highly Responsible.

Responsibility might be your middle name if you grew up with overly critical parents. You’re the person others can count on, always taking your commitments seriously. This sense of responsibility makes you trustworthy and dependable. But, it can also feel like a heavy weight sometimes, especially if you’re juggling too many things. Remember, it’s okay to let loose and have some fun too.

10. You Avoid Conflict.

couple sitting on floor looking in opposite directions

Growing up in a critical environment often means you’re not a fan of conflict. You might steer clear of arguments and confrontations, preferring to keep the peace. This avoidance makes you a calming presence, but it can also mean you don’t always voice your true feelings. You’re all about harmony, but remember, it’s healthy to express yourself and stand up for what you believe in.

11. You’re a Master at Reading the Room.

Having grown up with critical parents, you’ve developed a sharp ability to read situations and people’s moods. You’re quick to notice subtleties in body language or tone of voice, often adjusting your own behavior to suit the vibe. This skill makes you empathetic and considerate in social settings. However, it can also be draining, as you’re constantly on alert, trying to make sure you’re fitting in just right. Remember, it’s okay to relax and not overthink every social cue.

12. You Have a Strong Work Ethic.

man working at desk from above

If overly critical parents were a part of your upbringing, you likely have a robust work ethic. You’re dedicated, putting in the effort to meet and often exceed expectations. This trait makes you a valuable team member and a hard worker. But, it can also lead to burnout if you’re not careful. You tend to push yourself hard, sometimes forgetting that it’s okay to take a break and recharge. Balance is key – work hard, but don’t forget to play hard too

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Sinead Cafferty is a writer who has authored four collections of poetry: "Dust Settling" (2012); "The Space Between" (2014); "Under, Under, Over" (2016); and "What You Can't Have" (2020). She's currently working on her first novel, a dystopian romance set in the 22nd Century, that's due out in 2024.

Sinead has an MFA in creative writing from NYU and has had residencies with the Vermont Studio Center and the National Center for Writing.
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