How Unpleasant Childhood Experiences Impact Our Self-Confidence

As a confidence coach, I can tell you that if you lack faith in your own self, there’s something in your childhood that we have to closely look at. Most of the time, these are sad or even traumatic experiences that pushed the small version of you to believe that you are not enough. You might be carrying this negative belief in your adult life and might not be aware of it.


Here are some sad childhood experiences that you might need to heal from:


First, is being treated as “less than.”


This is common for people who grew up in a family where there is favoritism among siblings. The parents could be favoring the elder child or sometimes the youngest child. And the middle child is always left unnoticed. This is just an example. It’s up to you to determine if you have been treated as “less than” in any way.



Second, being the absorber of your parents’ anger and frustrations.


Were you raised by narcissistic parents? Did you have to perform to get their attention or earn their love? For example, they only show affection when your grades are straight A’s. When your mom or dad was in a foul mood, did they release their negative feelings on you?



Third, seeing your parents fight violently in front of you.


This is not a simple neglect. This is a violation of your right as a child to be safe and secure. Experiences such as this one can make a child believe that it’s normal for couples to hurt each other and might recreate the same situations in their future relationships.


How do these experiences impact our self-confidence as adults?


  1. Body-shaming → When you are not the favorite child, you could become critical of your own self especially of your own body. The compliments that your small self longed from your parents, you will also seek from other people.

  2. People-pleasing → To keep yourself safe, you will work hard to avoid conflicts with people. You don’t want to offend them because subconsciously, you think that this will result in you being rejected.

  3. Lack of boundaries → it’s difficult to say “NO” because somehow you feel like a bad person. You let people talk sarcastically to you and you might even blame yourself. It’s just hard for you to draw the line.


How to heal from these experiences?


Remind yourself that your parents are just doing the best that they could and that they are just humans. I understand this is hard to swallow. Our ego wants to blame and point fingers. However, it’s nearly impossible to heal until we decide to take accountability for our own lives. Acknowledging our parents’ humanness can help us look at them through the eyes of compassion. They cannot give to you what they didn’t receive from their parents.


Tell yourself that you are a grown up person now and that you got your own back. You can take care of yourself and you are always there for yourself. External validation is no longer needed at this point of your life. What you really need is to start loving yourself fully and totally. This means forgiving the past. The past is done and dusted. It’s over. And you don’t want to bring the memories of the past into the new chapter of your life.


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