23 thoughts on “4 Reasons You Grew Up Feeling Not Good Enough

  • April 3, 2018 at 12:13 am

    Recovery takes a lifetime.

  • April 3, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I was raised by a narcissist. I am a people pleaser and feel like I can never do enough to satisfy. I constantly cater to others at my own expense even when I try not to. I work on this daily but I think it will always be a struggle. I now have a daughter, who I cater to as well, she does not act spoiled though. She acts like a people pleaser bc that is what she sees me do. I do not know how to break that cycle 😢 I talk to her about it very honestly, ask for her view point regularly and try to do it “her way” occasionally bc I want her to feel like she is capable of making good decisions. I tell her to be herself instead of changing for other people bc she is enough just the way she is and that balancing her needs with others is vital!

    • April 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story, MS. I’m sorry to hear that this was your experience growing up. It’s really difficult to grow up in an environment where you have to meet other people’s needs to survive. It can take a long time to overcome this tendency in adulthood, but it’s definitely possible.

      All the best,

  • April 3, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    When caregivers negatively compare their children to others and place them in unnecessarily competitive environments, this adds to the children feeling insecure, cautious, flawed, distrustful, and not good enough.”

    omg part 3.i been always compare with my aunt ladies cousin during my childhood..you describe me ..on the spot..those how is my current character are.even as adult. Right now it becoming an Angry monster. As adult i am generally on guard and doesnt trust easily and perpetually on guard especially with ladies. The feeling not good enough..becomes jealousy,envious,impacting my life with family members,love life and my career. Life is a tangle of whole mess. As for the people pleaser its a BIG problem..I ended up swipe away my needs/interests underneath while serving others first. Those swipe away needs/interests will decayed and become a corruption searing anger which will exploded out as ANGER AND WRATH. HELPS.how should i keep control /solve all of these mess..???

  • April 4, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Remembering childhood through Thearpy for ten years to discover I had to let go of the past to become who I am now in present time and keep repeating letting go of the past . I want, need, and have to be myself! Yeah…..

  • April 6, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    This is a great article. I resonate with no.4 very much. My parents were overly controlling and micromanaged everything in my life and made all the decisions for me from what career I would progress in to where i should live. Now that i’ve finally recognized the emotional spiral i’ve been in, i’m striving to get out of it slowly. Psychological issues are so deep rooted (like habit), so hard to break but change is possible. After 10 years of a downward spiral, I’ve picked up the courage to finally switch careers and leave to another country. I hope my new found freedom of expression will help me make my own decisions in my life and allow more control over my own life.

  • April 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    #2 is very close to what I experienced. If I wasn’t perfect every minute of every day, I was told “You used to be such a good girl”. While visiting relatives I had to sit with my hands folded in my lap. Never allowed to go outside and play with others except under certain circumstances. Always had to shine. I learned to be by myself and to this day have trouble making friends. I have very low contact with my mother these days, moved 1000 miles away.

    • April 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      It’s really unfortunate that this was something you had to endure as a child. This sounds like a very controlling environment and it can be quite damaging. It make sense why you don’t want to see your mother very often.

      All the best!

  • April 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Interesting, I’m curious how to change old patterns that developed from this? Some replies insinuate that moving away helps. Or restructuring your life. i imagine that could help a bit. Curious how to face this stuff head on when it comes up on a daily basis, in the little things. Like thoughts and actions.

  • April 21, 2018 at 7:27 am

    I stumbled across your site today and am currently absorbed in the articles posted. I am 69, and facing reality. I have always compared myself to others, felt worthless and constantly threatened. It is painful to accept that my parents initiated this nightmare of a life but I have done the same to my two daughters, one who has cut off all contact.

    I hope to find healing in these last years. I must do the work. Thank you to all who contribute to this wonderful site.

  • April 28, 2018 at 9:29 am

    This rings so true for me. What a struggle it is to find my self worth. My parents are very present in my life at present. I am sure that all the abuse and perfectionism was from what they learned from their parents. I have acceptance for my children and do not allows roles be placed on then, be a kid as long as possible is what I tell them for as long as you can. Use your imagination and make your mistakes and talk it out. My issues I try not to place on them.

  • April 30, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Hello, and thank you kindly for writing this blog. I grew up with an athorative father who had high expectations for me, which to this day I have never been able to meet. I was verbally and sometimes physically abused for things that were out of my control, I was constantly compared to others, (why can’t you be more like Good Julie, I can’t remember why it was said but thats all I remember being said. His nickname for her was Good Julie.) was called names such as evil, lazy, stupid, and so on, wasn’t allowed to experience anything outside of home life, make mistakes to learn from, or experience life whatsoever, and worst of all my emotions weren’t validated. My mother had a traumatic life. Before I was born she lost one child because of the abuse from her ex as well as losing parental rights of her other two children. I was neglected until I was for or five and my dad cared for me (I still remember how he used to part my hair when getting me ready for school. He wasn’t very good at making ponytails. Lol). I really don’t have much memories of my mother until my baby sister was born on my birthday, I was five years old. But after that she had ultimately become my protector, she taught me how to be kind, caring, loving, and compassionate but I have never been empathetic of myself. Guilt, shame, worthlessness, and being insecure has pretty much consumed me my entire adult life. I acquired a love for reading from my mom which in more ways than one became my escape from reality. (Literally) I was codependent on my abuser multiple times until I met my soulmate who had a traumatic childhood as well. (I’ve read that those who suffer from abuse and neglect during childhood tend to be drawn to one another, I prey that in this case it’s a stereotype.) It still continues to be traumatic, his father is codependent of a sociopath who manipulated her way to getting custody of his three daughters then having him sign his rights over so they can adopt them. I have a son who was diagnosed with adhd when he was three and gave birth to another son who was only twenty days old when they too were “legally” taken from us and we lost custody in 2014. We are together still but are alienated from our children and our emotions. I don’t want to spend the remainder of my life being miserable and felling worthless so I have started on the road to healing and loving myself. Accepting responsibility for my own actions was quite difficult for me to do because I had to forgive myself before I could accept anything. I am learning to be mindful which is helping with anxiety and depression as well as making me aware of obsessive compulsions. I can proudly say that I have gotten rid of a number of compulsions by just recognizing them as unhealthy and hurtful to myself. I have come a long way and yet have quite far to go but I try not to look back or too far ahead. I have been on antidepressants with no success, being on auto pilot doesn’t appeal to me because I like being weird and silly in my own way, being on antidepressants didn’t allow me to be this way. I suffered in my own alternate reality for far too long and I’m taking my life back. This would not be possible if it wasn’t for the many people such as yourself who offer help, education, empathy, and compassion to others who are like me, who have suffered in silence with unrealistic perceptions of ourselves. There are only three words that I can say you THANK YOU KINDLY.

    • May 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Melissa, you’re welcome—and thanks for sharing your story!


  • May 11, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I really appreciate this, and other articles posted here. I have struggled through most of my life to figure out “what (was) wrong with me.” I endured this question from my mother over and over. Often, it was in the context of comparing me to my cousins: the children of her brother. Despite being quite intelligent, I was never more than an “average” student. I went through life knowing that I was a terrible disappointment. I was also a magnet for bullies.

    I am quite aware that my mother’s psychological abuse was a reflection of the childhood she endured with a widowed mother. Unfortunately, my grandmother ended up living with my family for most of the year. She was a domineering, manipulative person who distorted the entire family relationship. Nevertheless, I can’t really forgive my mother for her abusiveness.

    My current theory is that I may have some degree of Asperger’s Syndrome. This could explain my social ineptitude and isolation. ASD, plus possible ADD, probably had a lot to do with my school difficulties. All too often my mother adopted the attitudes of the brutal and ignorant school authorities of small town Texas in the 1960s. I was just “Too Sensitive”. She railed at me for lacking self esteem, ironic as that might sound.

    I have put together a life with real rewards and positive reinforcement. I have been with my partner for over thirty-six years. I now work for a large LGBTQI community and social services center, where I am loved and admired by many of my coworkers. All this has done a lot for me in dealing with my issues, though it is a balancing act. I still fall into bitter self-reproach, as well as rage at destructive people in my past.

    The downside is that my siblings reject the idea of our mother having been abusive, even though, late in her life, she admitted to it in a poem. Some of them reflexively defend our grandmother, as well. I have distanced myself from family for decades, even those who may be more sympathetic. I just don’t know haw to handle the complications arising from their connections to various of my siblings.

    After many years of therapy I still can’t seem to put these things to rest. I only see my current therapist intermittently. It has seemed too often that I am just paying to run in the same circles which have circumscribed my life.

    • May 11, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Sadly, many people deny and normalize how dysfunctional the family is. Often the person who starts growing feels alienated, attacked, and “the problem.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.


  • July 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    My father tried to kill me with an axe when I was 11 years old.I completly forgot about it iuntil this year’I am 72.My brother witnessed it and could not believe I couldn’t remember it.When I did recall it the memory came back crystal clear.It helped me to see
    why I made the choices I did in life.The anxiety and trauma syayed with me even thouh I did not recall the incident

    • September 5, 2018 at 8:27 am

      i can totally relate to your statement. i have no memory of alot of my childhood life….

  • September 29, 2018 at 1:55 am

    I resonate number 3. I waa raised by my grandparents while my parents went to work. My grandmother always compared me to my brother and said I am a loser. I am stupid and ugly. Those words hurt. As an adult, I have this inner voice constantly telling me I don’t deserve this. How dare toy wish you have it. You are never good enough.

  • April 23, 2019 at 11:07 am

    It’s fine to say all this and I recognize a lot of it in myself. Pointers to somewhere to get help would be useful.

  • November 9, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    It’s all so broken and now my children are abusive and broken. I spent so much time working so they could have always yelling as my mother did. “I work so hard so you can have and you dont appreciate me” and then because ai was working I’d do everything for everyone to get it done fast just to keep everything functioning and now no one is functioning as adults. I mean everyone works but its the exact same broken cycle of never quite accomplishing anything and no peace and serenity.

  • March 5, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    I am the fourth child of my “Family” and I feel like the big problem and a waste, Ny father wasn’t a good man but for some reason I feel more respectful to him. He is a father of 5 daughters (3 sisters are all adults, two are in America) My father couldn’t take responsibility for my education since he had a new wife who abused me physically and verbally. Here’s a fun fact: The last time I saw my biological mother when I was only 3 because dad wanted a divorced, mostly I never had a mother figure to teach me all what girls should know.
    I was only 6-9 when escaped from the abuse and went to live with my eldest sister, she was sure better than my step mother but many weeks later she started to get a little harsh. I was told that I was weakling because I can’t handle a single thing like getting hit or taking responsibility on doing the house work ( said my “half” sister, then tell me all about her past life how she was better at my age like: selling meds making money, go to school by bike, learn everyday and all those stuff. So, I’m result I receive of feeling pathetic and useless.
    Years later as the abuse starts to grow, she started to slap me, kick me, and use the kitchen supplies to “punish” me for my mistake and say” YOU ARE BIG NOW WHY ARE YOU STILL USELESS “
    She almost killed me one day as I try to stand up for myself and manipulated me to forgive her while I was bleeding as she gives me a head shower, do my hair (I never how to take care of myself back then, I was clueless about life)
    When school has came back to my life, I had try my very best to study and always get good grades with big brain full of knowledge in 7th grade.It was truly my best school year ever but unfortunately not for long, I was slowly becoming an outcast due to all the bullying I get, that’s when my life turn backwards.
    This bullying and being weak continues for years and years, happily,, this died down since last year December.
    My sister told me that she doesn’t care about my grades but for the knowledge I have. I knew it was a lie, I was never good at numbers like in 3rd and 7th grade, I go home with the he report card, hand it to her to receive a slap and lectured about how I should be at home doing house work Rather than going to school. “YOU ARE JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER!! A WHORE WHO FUCKS OLD MANS FOR MOTHER AND NOT TALKNG CARE OF HER CHILD” she told me SO MANY TIMES! Starts from 2015-2020
    In 2019, 10th grade, I had upgraded myself to become better, and I did got better. I was happy with myself, good grades, still bad at numbers but eh. That year is when I decided to bring my report card to her husband, who’s a kind man. He had always been there for me when anyone couldn’t have time for me, I am very thankful for him. I never like being close to any members of my family because I just don’t trusted them, instead I trust people out side my family(sometimes) but still, even my atmosphere with him is awkward and wacky I’m lucky to have someone who is supportive and proud of me. But eventually, another arguments between the two my half sister and her husband) kicks in during dinner with her saying “YOU SHOULD SLEEP WITH HER INSTEAD OF ME” I’m just sitting their, enjoying my meal, this women had the audacity to tell not to insults others about their weight, and all that stuff then tell me I look like a cow, an ugly cow she added. (Forgot to mention she’s the Karen pig in this house hold) Also, “manners on table”

    I felt better after she comes home late from sauna and all of that, but today. Man, her needs of wanting to putting her anger away on me has shown again. From all the promises and all the that lalala bullshit, She still the same but only verbal.
    She had guilt trip me, telling me I’m an attention whore even when I don’t want any and I hate getting told by someone that they love me, getting called a useless Cambodian for the reason why this country is falling apart and compare my unwifey ass to some Vietnam’s knowing how to do better shit than me. Okay true but what the actual bloody fuck.
    Just wtf, every time I tried to be better by trying to be an “actual girl” for once to getting told that I can’t take responsibility for shit and I will sell my kids for money, this is the reason why I hate the fact of getting married to someone, having kids, having a family, and for the growth of my hatred for humanity, my country and myself. “No more abused” she said, WOMAN JUST HIT ME AND COMPARE ME TO MY BIOLOGICAL MOTHER THAT I DONT EVEN REMEMBER!
    I have cried for hours in the bathroom, not wanting to continue anything because I know things I do for everyone and myself doesn’t matter and I’m not even consider as a family because I was born FROM MY ORIGINAL MOTHER! I forgot to mention that she has two hopeless sons who doesn’t wanted to do a thing unless they are told or force to, even when it comes to waking up in the morning, going to bed, doing homework. IT ALL HAS TO BE REMINDED BY THEIR POOR FATHER!
    I had tried to commit suicide many times but my body is to rebellious.
    What should I do, should I confront and fight back? Should I stay quiet and go on with my life, should accept the fact I am not considered as an actually part or the family but a girl who just go to school, do house work, be a good girl and smart and beautiful?
    I was told this kind of thing is bullshit and I shouldn’t be such a wussy about it because others been through worse? Am I just wanting attention?
    It’s so overwhelming that I hate wanting a comfort from anybody, I have the habit of sleeping in the kitchens bathroom whenever I felt this.
    What should I do to be better for myself?

  • July 4, 2020 at 11:17 am

    I grew up the youngest of 5, I was also the only child in the family who was adopted. I was “trained” to be a housekeeper, that nothing I did was ever good enough, I was blamed for things that I couldn’t have possibly done, I learned that I was a liar even when I told the truth, my adoptive mother decided that I needed to be medicated- it was her way of trying to control me but at some point even that didn’t work, I was constantly told that I wasn’t normal, I was told at one point that I could do anything I wanted and then I said I wanted to be a paramedic and then I was told that I can’t do that because I’m not normal and no one would hire me. In 2011 it was finally revealed to me that my adoptive mother regretted adopting me in the first place- that was because I was asking questions that I have every right to ask. I have completely cut all contact with everyone in that family. I have enough negativity in my life and I don’t need others adding to it.


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