Growing up in dysfunctional households can often lead to a persistent feeling of inadequacy in relation to our parents. The absence of love, care, and affection in our formative years can deeply impact our self-esteem and make us believe that we are perpetually falling short of their expectations.
Therapist Morgan Pommells emphasizes that children of emotionally immature parents commonly grapple with a sense of never being “good enough” due to their parents‘ unrealistic demands, conditional love, emotional manipulation, and inconsistent validation. These experiences can have enduring effects on one’s emotional well-being and often spill over into future romantic relationships.
Several factors contribute to this ongoing feeling of inadequacy:
- Conditional Love Based on Achievements: Some parents attach their love to their child’s performance and achievements, implying that their affection hinges on how well their offspring do in life. This can instill a persistent belief of never measuring up.
- Unrealistic and Perfectionist Expectations: Parents with impossibly high expectations continually raise the bar, making it impossible for their child to ever meet their standards, leading to a perpetual sense of failure.
- Guilt and Manipulation Techniques: Parents may employ guilt and manipulation to maintain control, causing their child to internalize responsibility for their parents’ happiness and fostering feelings of guilt when they fall short.
- Inconsistency in Affection and Praise: The erratic oscillation between extreme affection and indifference can leave a child feeling unworthy of their parents’ love, as they struggle to predict and understand the source of this inconsistency.
- Comparison with Others: Constant comparisons with siblings, peers, or other children can divert focus onto shortcomings rather than abilities, further reinforcing feelings of inadequacy.
Re-reported from the article originally published in The Hindustan Times