22 Habits of People Who Felt Neglected Growing Up
If you felt neglected growing up, it isn’t uncommon for those feelings to persist, even years later. The effects of feeling neglected as a child can even manifest as new habits when you’re an adult. You may experience low self-esteem, difficulty trusting others or even the fear of being neglected, once again. Although these habits may be difficult to explain, they’re signs of the powerful impact feeling neglected can have.
If you experienced neglect growing up, you are still deserving of love and support now; you are worthy of being seen. We wanted to know what habits people who felt neglected growing up have, so we reached out to our mental health community. If you experience or relate to any of these habits, please take these answers as proof you’re not alone.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
1. “Never feeling good enough. Almost disposable. Always having to have that wall up because you know they’re just going to leave anyway.” — Phaedra M.
2. “I don’t trust people in fear of thinking they will just leave. I also give my everything to everyone in my family, constantly doing things for them and buying them stuff because I do not want them to feel neglected like I did. I want them to feel that someone is there for them always.” — Ashley A.
3. “I go way out of my way to do everything for my partner. I would drop everything for anyone who asked for my help, even if it affects my physical or mental health.” — Jess A.
4. “Smoking. I wasn’t one of the popular kids and was always bullied. After I came out, I was horrendously bullied as a teen, and smoking helped calm me. I’ve been smoking for years now.” — Kris S.
5. “I have zero trust in people and I don’t ask for anything unless I really want it. I won’t let anyone do anything for me because I always had to do things for myself. I feel guilt letting people care for me. I also have massive abandonment issues.” — Kate N.
6. “It’s hard to ask for help. I feel like my needs aren’t important enough to bother others with. I’m trying to change my thinking but it’s hardwired in my brain that I’m not important.” — Mykaila P.
7. “I always feel like I’m an inconvenience to everyone around me. I feel like I bother everyone whenever I need their help. And I never feel good enough for anyone, like there is always someone better than me.” — Mandy S.
8. “Isolate. This way, there’s no one I have to impress.” — Ashley W.
9. “Complete fear of commitment and pushing people away.” — Stephanie V.
10. “I lack self confidence. I’m always second-guessing my actions, ideas and words.”–John V.
11. “I’m now an overachiever and perfectionist in the hopes that others finally notice me and my hard work. And if I’m extra lucky, receive praise for it, because I never got praise growing up.” — Jessica S.
12. “I find it hard to speak up when people are doing me wrong. Trusting people is difficult.” — Jaymie B.
13. “Constantly needing reassurance because I don’t feel good enough.” — Victoria E.
14. “Doing literally nothing for fear of being screamed at for touching something that’s not mine.” — Sara O.
15. “My life motto is literally, ‘Expect the worst, but be prepared for the best.’ I’m so used to disappointment, I hardly know what to do when things go well.” — Nat C.
16. “I automatically expect rejection. I’m unable to form romantic relationships because I automatically assume I’m unlovable and unwanted. I just expect men to not want to be around me. I wish I could break out of that thinking. I realize that it’s not true, but I don’t know how to stop feeling that way.” — Elisabeth B.
17. “I’m not used to the attention or socialization and it makes me feel all panicky, like everything is swirling and closing in on me.” — Katelyn F.
18. “I lie sometimes to get attention and just to have people laugh.” — Sabrina M.
19. “I developed the habit of not talking much because there was never anyone to listen. When I do talk to people I care about, I often talk in circles and repeat myself to see if they care enough to listen instead of just nodding along or ignoring me outright.” — Lynn C.
20. “A habit I developed was feeling like my feelings, needs and struggles were not valid. Everyone else comes first, and whatever is left (which is nothing, most of the time) can be mine.” — Anna J.
21. “Always needing to be listened to.” — Pam M.
22. “Letting people walk all over me from fear that they will leave me if I don’t.” — Caleb S.
These feelings of neglect may still affect your life today, but just know that you are not alone. If you’re struggling, we encourage you to post a Thought or Question on our site to get support from other people in our community who get it.
Unsplash via Anthony Tran