People Share Subtle Signs That Someone's Had A Rough Childhood
Most people like to think of childhood as the easiest and happiest time in a person's life. Ideally, that's exactly what it should be.
Unfortunately, ideal isn't always real.
One Reddit user asked:
So let's talk a little bit about rough childhoods - or more honestly about what it does to a person. It changes them in ways that they, themselves, might not even realize. Even if they don't talk about it, there are signs that things were not or are not healthy at home.
This article is not directly about abuse or neglect - but in talking about the affects they have on people, there were some personal stories shared and uncomfortable truths discussed. Proceed with caution.
A Little Too Responsible
My sister in law adopted 3 siblings who are completely self-sustainable at a very young age. When they were visiting, I noticed a lot.
-If I gave anything to the oldest boy, he would pass it off to the youngest sister. Then I'd give him another and it went to the middle-sister. Then I'd give him another and he'd finally keep it for himself.
-I asked if they wanted water. He said "yes" and I asked if the girls wanted water too. "Oh, we can all share this one." Obviously I gave them all water, but that one hit me pretty hard.
-He knew their eating schedules and would nag my sister in law.
-Offered to make them mac and cheese or noodles or whatever we have laying around. Promised to clean up after. He was 12 years old.
-When "normal" kids play videogames, they're glued. This kid was constantly checking over his shoulder to make sure everyone was safe and if he felt one of his sisters was up to no good, he would put the controller down even if it meant dying or losing his progress in the game.
-To elaborate on "up to no good" what the oldest brother considered bad behavior was pretty innocuous. There were several instances of things I consider normal childish behavior that he would regularly put a stop to. The most outstanding one was being too loud. It wouldn't even be yelling or screaming. Just typical 5 year old make-believe noises that would cause him to run over and tell the little one to keep it down.
InsecurityConfused Issa Rae GIF by Insecure on HBOGiphy
My Psychology professor used to joke that, "Psychology is the study of common sense." When someone is Insecure, it is generally because they lacked security as a child. Parental love was typically conditional and varied depending on the caretaker's mood. The child becomes insecure due to love not being guaranteed, so to 'earn' this basic need, they will go throughout life trying to 'solve social puzzles' that don't exist. solving imaginary puzzles all the time can prove to be fatiguing, so these individuals tend to isolate themselves.
I remember going to summer camp as a kid and meeting Milo. Milo was big on attention seeking and validation, and would take food from the cafeteria back to his bunk, like eggs and toast. I remember thinking he was just weird, but I think looking back and knowing what I know now, he was probably being neglected at home. Thin as a rail and probably malnourished, so he wanted as much food as he could get, and just wanted someone to acknowledge him. Pretty sad stuff.
I went through a compulsive lying phase from about age ten through...I dunno, 22 or so? A lot of innocuous stuff, like I really wanted the snooty horse girls in my fourth grade class to believe I had an uncle with a sprawling horse farm (?!?). It was absolutely attention seeking, and I've been beating myself up about it since day one. Looking back, of course it was attention seeking behavior. I was so lonely.
We talk about compulsive lying as such a pathetic behavior. Most people who recognize it just write you off as a nutcase or toxic or untrustworthy. But at 10? I was a little kid who didn't believe anybody could possibly like me.
My self worth was nonexistent. The fact that the lying continued through adolescence is because
a) the internet became a thing and I could almost effortlessly develop a whole new identity, which is intoxicating to somebody who feels worthless all the time, and
2) I was intelligent and imaginative enough to juggle the lies, so consequences came very slowly.
It's very appealing to treat liars with contempt, but it takes a special person to recognize the behavior's roots in abuse and neglect and find some compassion. I hope anybody who went through a lying phase (or is in one right now) can be kind to themselves. It's not pathetic to want people to like you. It's human.
They apologize habitually, compulsively, and for everything. Even for things that have nothing to do with them.
This one hurts. I'm constantly told to 'stop apologizing,' and it gets so frustrating trying to explain that I CAN'T HELP IT. It was a survival mechanism in a home where I had no say, and would get in trouble for EVERYTHING. Even the things they told me to do.
Yep. And everything is their fault. They take you to a restaurant and the food sucks? They apologize profusely for it and feel terrible about it — it somehow has become their direct fault.
A Little On Edgeflinch cecily strong GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
Everyone is different, but one that automatically raises a red flag for me, and makes me extremely worried is when someone flinches for "no reason". (I wouldn't say It's for no reason, but I don't know what other words to use. So really sorry about that!).
Like, you raise your voice slightly at them and they flinch, you raise your hands to grab something near them and they flinch, you look at them in a certain way and they flinch, you hug them and they flinch, etc., etc.
My dad would hit me when I was younger, but stopped around middle school age. He would get mad at me if I flinched when he went to grab something nearby me like it was my fault for being afraid of him. I think he stopped hitting me after this one time he went too far. He had me pinned up against the wall while kind of choking me? Idk the memory is pretty foggy now, but I remember my mom going completely off on him after that incident.
From personal experience, they always have a defense about what they're doing and why they're doing it lined up.
I was verbally abused and mocked a lot as a child/teen, it hurt me a lot because it didn't matter if I did something right or wrong I'd get yelled at for it, so I learned to have an excuse prepared just in case I have to answer for what I'm doing. Even in my adult life I feel like I'm always thinking to myself ways to justify what I'm up to, even if it's something as benign as why I put a dish away where I did.
No one ever asks about the mundane stuff I do, but I always feel like I have to be ready to defend myself. It really sucks. I shouldn't have to justify my existence.
Lesson Number One
The first lesson we learn in childhood is: How much am I worth?
Our caregivers are the first to reflect this worth to us - from when we are infants and toddlers (if we cry, will someone come to us? if we fall down, will someone pick us up?) to when we are kids and teenagers (do our caretakers choose to spend time with us? do we get help with schoolwork/friend drama?). There is an important balance here. As kids, we want to be taught that we are equally important as everyone else.
Some kids are taught they are less important, and as adults, they may have a hard time asking for help. They think they are "bothering" someone when they have a problem. They may also prioritize the needs of others based on an underlying belief that other people are more important. Some kids are taught that they're more important than others, and therefore treat others poorly and have trouble learning empathy. They try to justify, in their own minds, why they are "better", which can lead to some narcissistic-type thinking/behavior.
A Handy List
From the horse's mouth:
- People-pleasing behaviours (class clown; always agrees)
- Overcompensating with laughter during conversation, in an attempt to appease others
- Self-isolating; stops contacting friends for seemingly no reason (due to feelings of inferiority/worthlessness)
- No motivation to make anything of themselves (believing they would only fail anyway)
- Allows themselves to be bullied; usually hangs out with/dates abusive people
- Conspiracy theorist (can't live without a sense of impending doom; will unconsciously find one)
- Extremely nervous when doing new things in front of others
- "So mature for their age" = didn't get to be a kid/teen
- Total inability to accept compliments
- No - or very few distant - friends as an adult
- Barely any memory of childhood
- No happy stories of childhood
- Extremely-negative self-talk
Boundary issues are common, but reactions still are an individual thing. What helps to keep in mind is the 4F model of trauma responses:
Flight - running away
Fawn - to court favor by a cringing or flattering manner, so basically the stuff pathological people pleasers are made of.
When you notice somebody's reactions are easily categorized as one of those and it is a very persistent pattern, adverse childhood circumstances of some sort are a pretty safe bet.
Food Hoarding And Other Signsmr bean eating GIFGiphy
Food hording is a sign of food insecurities.
Both of my parents were addicts and I spent time in a foster home that had 10+ kids at all times. We were served what we were served, so if we didn't like it we went hungry. I would sneak food that I liked to my room and hide it from the other kids.
I also eat very fast. So much so that people comment on it all the time. My wife will pat me on the shoulder if it's super noticeable and whisper,
"No one is going to take it..."
I was also a bed wetter, which connects to my sexual abuse. but I think that goes past the question at hand.
I used to think my mistrust of police was because of my childhood, but I've since learned that everyone knows all cops are bastards, so that isn't just me. Even as a kid I would run at the first sign of law enforcement, even when I hadn't done anything. I was taught from a young age that the police weren't there to help, they were there to take me or someone I cared about away. Sometimes for good.
Less Important Needs
They think their needs are less important than other people's convenience. My husband was like this when we met. I think it's pretty normal (although not good) for men to be socialized to downplay their emotional needs, but my husband would downplay his needs for, like, food and medicine. He never said he was hungry, he would wait until I said I was hungry and then say "oh my god, me too."
One time he needed allergy medication because he'd been around a cat, he was obviously miserable, and I had to convince him that, yes, we would be stopping at the drug store on the way home, are you kidding me, you are not fine, shut up, your eyes are so swollen you can barely see.
My husband was one of those kids who was neglected in an affluent household. He always had clothes and food, but no one in his house ever had time for him. He has a hard time admitting he was mistreated because of this, but he's definitely got some psychological scars. His parents absolutely would have looked at his allergy-swollen face and told him to just deal with it, he's fine and anyway they're too busy to stop at store.
My partner grew up with a cold unloving mother and an abusive father who would beat him regularly. I've noticed a few things with him. He is very hard on himself and others- things need to be done perfectly and to a high standard every time or he becomes super anxious or pretty much has a breakdown.
When we first got together he would freak out at every minor argument or disagreement we had, as if it was going to escalate into something big or i would end up leaving him (he had abandonment issues) its taken him a few years to realize that normal people can argue, it doesn't always have to result in a big catastrophe/drama. He has always been highly independent and doesn't rely on or trust anyone else.
That's Not Normal
When you talk about something that's considered abuse and they say something to imply they didn't know it was a bad thing.
For example, I had a friend who thought locking kids in what was basically solitary confinement was a normal thing schools did. It is not.
I noticed this to my friends who grew up without having a father. They are usually immature and childlike and sometimes very sensitive.
Those who grew up between the '80s and early 2000s have a long memory of items and experiences that either went out of style or disappeared completely.
From early PC games to Blockbuster to favorite snacks, there's a lot to miss from childhood.
But the odd thing is how quietly some of these things went away, and how few people seemed to notice.
Feeling nostalgic, Redditor lukiiiiii asked:
"What quietly went away without anyone noticing?"
"ROFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing) dropped off of the face of the planet, and now we just go straight from LOL (Laughing Out Loud) to LMAO (Laughing My A** Off)."
"I've been using it way more lately because of this. ROFL; can't let the classics die."
Save Those Box Tops!
"Actual toys in cereal boxes and Cracker Jack boxes."
The Early Facebook Years
"Facebook 'Poke' wars."
How the Times Have Changed
"People calling them 'camera phones.'"
"When you turn off the TV, how the image would shrink to a dot before slowly fading away."
"When you turn off the TV and then you run your finger on the screen and hear the crackle and feel the static on the glass."
Positive Environmental Change
"It was a huge environmental issue in the late 70s through the early 90s. Rain was acidic and damaged fertile areas among other things."
"In the US, there was much research done, and eventually industrial regulations were put into place. Companies were allowed to decide what approach they chose to take as long as the results showed the appropriate amount of reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions."
"Unfortunately, positive news doesn't sell, so news outlets did not do justice to reporting this success. As we went into the 2000s, hardly anyone remembered what was done."
Can We Say, 'Nom Nom Nom'?
"McDonald's all-day breakfast menu."
"The pandemic killed a lot more than just people. I really miss McDonald's all-day breakfast."
"And being able to go to Walmart at 2 AM."
The Days of Landlines and Cords
"I live in a rural area and have to pay for landline service to have internet. Since I have to pay for something so stupid, I figured I'd have to get something stupid."
"...So I got the hamburger phone from the movie 'Juno.'"
"Not gonna lie, the landline has come in clutch a few times, and holding a hamburger to your ear is amusing every time. 10/10 would recommend."
Late-night Grocery Runs
"I think people have noticed now but at the time, nobody noticed it was happening: the closing of 24-hour stores. I live in a major city and we don’t have a single 24-hour grocery store ever since the pandemic."
"In a World Where..."
"Movie trailers with that deep voice guy [Don LaFontaine] doing the voiceovers."
"SoBe. I think the last time I had one was at Quizno's."
"[cue 'X-Files' Music]"
Gizzard the Taco Bell Dog
"Taco Bell used to have a chihuahua as their mascot. Little dude just disappeared one day, and anyone born after 2000 probably doesn't even know what I am talking about."
"Google+ was the only social media our school forgot to block on our laptops, so I used it a lot. RIP."
Some of these really brought back some deeply-engrained memories for the '80s to '00s kids, and it's true that many of them blipped out of existence quietly.
But if this teaches us anything, it doesn't mean that "out of sight, out of mind" also has to mean "out of heart."
And let's have a moment of silence for the vocal stylings of Don LaFontaine and Gizzard the talking Taco Bell dog.
We all know that the human body is very complex.
But even with all the recorded and available science, there are certain things about our bodies that continue to elude us, and medical experts can still get stumped about how the human form reacts unpredictably.
Curious to discover some of the mystifying yet unsettling truths about our anatomy, Redditor Hot_Banana_Ice-cream asked:
"What is a creepy fact about the human body?"
Now, observe this.
"If you wear glasses which vertically inverts your vision long enough, your brain will correct it, and you'll see things normal. But when your take those glasses off, everything will look upside-down again until brain recalibrates again."
"Our brain filters out a lot of what we see along with just straight making sh*t up based on extrapolation."
"My favorite is the blind spot at the center of each eye, where the optic nerve is."
"A lot of people don't even know it exists, and even if they do, it is bigger than people often think."
"And it's also really easy to demonstrate to people if you know how. It's one of my favorite bar tricks - all you need is a pen and a napkin to draw a cross and a dot."
Alternate demo: https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chvision.html
"Edit: If it doesn't work, you're doing something wrong - not getting close enough, the image is too small on your phone, you're not closing the correct eye or not keeping your gaze fixed on the cross."
"It isn't because you don't have a blind spot. Unless you're a squid, you have a blind spot. All vertebrates have them."
The workings of our innards are out of this world.
The intestines are covered by a double "fleece" of peritoneum. See it like a blanket.
When your intestines get damaged for whatever reason, this blanket starts moving out of itself and crawling upwards towards the place which has the injury. It will stay there until the injury is recovered. And then move on again.
Maybe not the most creepy fact, but definitely interesting in my opinion.
Do Do That Doo-Doo
"We don't just have one anal sphincter. When poo comes along it passes another inner sphincter which isn't under voluntary control."
"Sensory cells can detect whether you're about to pass gas or solid. From toddler age on, you can decide to go or not to go. If the time isn't right (e.g. at a friend's house or no toilet nearby), the inner sphincter can push the poo back and store it there for later."
"That's why sometimes if you need to do a number two but don't go, the urge goes away after about 20 minutes later. (But seriously, go if you can. Constipation risk.)"
"Gas can't be pushed back so easily, so we sometimes toot by accident when moving or engaging the core."
The Same Lining
"The inside of your cheek and your rectum are lined by the same type of tissue."
You don't always have control of your body.
Taste Of Curiosity
"The front of your tongue is curious, constantly patrolling, and autonomous. It chases the dentist around your mouth and you aren’t even aware of it. So embarrassing and weird/creepy."
"In dental school, I learned this fact when practicing taking impressions on each other. My buddy’s tongue kept licking my finger. I asked him to quit licking me, and he was like 'I can’t help it!' And then we switched places and my tongue wouldn’t leave him alone.And for those of you that don’t think your tongue does this: some of you are right. But the majority of you just think your tongue is behaving, but it is all over the place without you even knowing."
Dancing With The Dead
"Bodies will move as they’re coming out of rigor. I’ve been bumped by a few (I’m a coroner). Bodies can also make sounds as the remaining air/ gas leaves… 2am in the morgue and I thought I was in COD zombies."
Wonder of wonders.
The Only Way Out
"When you get laser tattoo removal the ink doesn’t disappear, you pee it out."
"Your body’s immune system breaks down the pigments of ink and it flows in your blood stream, gets processed through your kidneys, then you pee out the ink."
Our soul-containing vessel is a mysterious wonder unique to us.
We should do whatever it takes to take great care of it because it's the only one we've got.
If we don't, they might turn on us.
When the global pandemic hit in march of 2020, countless companies saw themselves going under.
Sadly, some companies, from a wide variety of businesses, simply couldn't adapt to working under the parameters of social distancing, or couldn't adapt in time, resulting in them permanently closing their doors.
Many people were sad to see these companies close, while many others were even sadder that some companies managed to pull through and stay open.
Indeed, long before Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the world, some companies and corporations people felt were actually detrimental to society would be doing the world a favor by going out of business.
Redditor param_T_extends_THOT was curious to find out which companies people fell into this less than prolific category, leading them to ask:
"Which company could go out of business tomorrow and it would be to the betterment of this world?"
Nothing Express About It
"Express Scripts."- BadDadJokes
Wildly Different, Yet Equally Unnecessary
"Glitter manufacturers."- Sped-Connection
Where To Even Begin?
"The church of Scientology?"- dipshipsaidsochurch building GIF by South Park Giphy
Beware The Pyramids
"Any MLM bullsh*t."- Work-Alone
Taylor Swift Would Probably Agree
You Really Want To Trust Them With Your Money?
"HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, is a criminal enterprise:"
"In 2012, the bank paid $1.9 billion to settle charges brought by U.S. authorities that it had failed to prevent money laundering by Mexican drug cartels."
"In 2013, HSBC was fined $1.92 billion by US and UK regulators for its role in the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a benchmark interest rate."
"In 2014, the bank was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating sanctions against Iran, Sudan, and other countries."
"In 2018, the bank was charged by the US Department of Justice for violating the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations."
"Also, Nestle."- alecsputnik
"Joel Osteen's ministries."- ststevegJoel Osteen Highwire Live GIF by Volcano Live! with Nik WallendaGiphy
Maybe All Big Pharma?
'Seems like the general consensus is Nestle, but I’ll be weird and say DuPont."
"They’re the reason every living human on the planet has Forever Chemicals running through their bloodstream."-poppidypoppop
"Blinded By The Light"...
"Everyone one that makes blindingly bright low beam bulbs."- RetinaMelter9000s
One Bad Experience Can Ruin It Forever
"Mark's plumbing."- GreenieMachinie93Rockos Modern Life 90S GIFGiphy
"Oh The Wells Fargo Wagon Is A Comin' Down The Street..."
"Wells Fargo."- Itchy_Focus_4500
Honestly, Can't Agree With This One
"F*cking TurboTax."- camilofl20
"Dirty mercenary army with soldiers for hire."
"They have caused chaos where ever they have gone."
"Syria, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Libya, Venezuela, mali, Mozambique and a few other places, they have no desire to see a peaceful world as that would financially cripple them as a organization."
"Look at what they are doing to the Ukrainian people."
"Despicable organization and they have zero moral compass."- Weary_Violinist_3610
Maybe all Credit Reporting?
"Experian, Equifax, and/or Transunion."
"Leeches on America."- compusmackSmiley Face Thumbs Up GIF by Tier One CreditGiphy
Can't Help But Say It, Did She Really Think "goop" Was An Appealing Name?
"Comcast & goop."- celeresaharano·
Be it poor customer service, questionable business practices, or just plain fraud, it's hard not to agree that any or all of these companies would not be missed should they close their doors.
After all, when a health and wellness brand openly tells you that some or all of its products may not actually improve your health or wellness, that just about says it all.
...even if Shakespeare in Love remains a romantic gem...
Even if society as a whole seems to become more tolerant with each passing year, bullying still remains an ever-growing problem.
Particularly at schools.
Some might say bullying has only gotten worse, as social media often means children are no longer safe when they're out of school hallways and in the comfort of their own homes.
What is perhaps most disturbing and perplexing about bullying is there is never a justifiable reason for people to behave so appallingly.
Often, children bully other children to make them seem cool or powerful in the eyes of others.
Most of the time, they will also pinpoint a certain thing about their helpless victims as a feeble excuse to justify their bullying.
"What were you bullied for?"
Trying Too Hard
"I was socially awkward."
"I also was greatly motivated to be liked."
"I did a lot of sh*t trying to be liked that in hindsight, made me unliked."- EVEseven
Health Conditions Beyond Their Control
"Eczema which often affected my face."- Puffs01
Name Calling? Seriously?
"I was called a biscuit head, because my head was shaped like a biscuit."- cerakaz
It's Not Like They Chose It.
"My name."- maximus12121
Only Cowards Don't Pick On People Their Own Size
"Being the small kid."- occamhanlon
Picking On People For Keeping To Themselves? Just Cruel.
"For being the quiet kid."- actuallyjohnqmind
No Reason Whatsoever
"To this day, I really don't know."
"Something happened in the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade that made a bunch of people decide that they didn't like me anymore, including my best friend.'
"I only had two friends left until my family moved away in the middle of 7th grade."
"Bullies would follow me home most days and my mom finally had to verbally super-saiyan a few parents down the street to get them to take it down a notch."
"I finally asked one of them what I ever did to them, and they said 'you were born'."
"How do you even respond to that statement."
"I just got a sharp pang after seeing that phrase again."- msprang
Ignoring It Is Enabling It
"I was bullied from age 6 to age 13 every day for my surname (a word for a hunchback in my language) , my looks, my nature, me knowing English, reading, drawing and just existing overall."
"I f*cking hated middle school."
"My mom tried standing up for me, but no one cares in Slavic countries and the teachers didn't give a sh*t even though they saw everything, it's all part of growing up."
"My father ignored my constant tears and the terror I experienced in those years."
"I was attacked, beaten, and targeted whenever i would leave my flat."
"I was stabbed with screwdrivers and dull knives, chased around the neighborhood by kids on bikes while they threw rocks at me."
"I was only invited to birthday parties so that the kids would have someone to terrorize and gang up on."
"I always hated birthdays, but my mom though maybe the children would be kinder to me out of school."
"But that's that."
"Once I began high school I was around all new people, and I decided to play as a tough girl and stood up for myself on the get-go."
"But it turns out art school mostly brought other bullied kids together and I had the 4 best years of my life there with other kind and loving people who just wanted to make friends and have fun."- Cropalitet
Knowing They Wouldn't Fight Back
"Being easy to walk over."
"I had a really hard time asserting myself."
"So being 'too nice'."
"But really, just very insecure."- idolovehummus
"And my mom smoked continuously so being poor and smelly."
"Kids are brutal."
"For those that can relate I'm wishing you all the best for where you are now."
"We are a product of where we came from but that doesn't define who we are today."
"For those that can't relate, I'm so glad you had a different childhood and also hope you are doing well."
"And for those that find this is their moment to continue to bully, I hope kindness finds you and helps you with whatever you need to have a brighter day."- Evil-ish
Red Hair Is Beautiful, And Don't Ever Forget It
"Glasses, red hair, and freckles."
"Opie, Howdy Doody, and red-headed step child jokes all the way through school."- espifer
"Having red hair."- DeplorableKurt
In Other Words, Just For Being Yourself
"As a black kid, in a predominantly black area:
"Wearing glasses and having braces."
"Wanting to be a Pilot (influenced by the Anime I liked the most)."
"But guess what?"
"I'm a f*cking Pilot now."- ApacheOc3lot
Perhaps the saddest, or most infuriating, cases of bullying are when people bully others for sharing likes or interests they have themselves.
Case in point, and true story: being bullied constantly through 2nd and 3rd grade for liking Mighty Morphin Power Rangers."
Only to see several of the people who bullied you express their excitement at the release of the 2017 film version of Power Rangers on Facebook.
Some children are just, plain cruel...