Are you the ‘mom’ of your group, taking care of everything and everyone around? Or an independent person who doesn’t need anyone for anything and is usually emotionally guarded because no one really needs to know what’s going on with you? Chances are you are dealing with parentification or were a parentified child.

A parentified child is someone who had to take on the responsibilities of a caregiver or an adult while they were a child themselves.

You might have been pushed to take care of your siblings or your parents or become a referee in your parents’ arguments. The habits you pick up to cope with the things going on at home might have protected you from disappointment, but it also prevents you from forming deep and meaningful relationships.

Here are some signs to understand why you behave the way you do, and to know if you were a parentified child. Because it’s only when you understand what’s going on that you can work on it.

1. You were called ‘too mature’ for your age

Sarcastic Good Girl GIF by Crypt TV - Find & Share on GIPHY

2. You didn’t share how you were feeling with those around you, especially your parents, to avoid stressing them out and continue to do so as an adult

Tom Hiddleston Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

3. You felt the need to jump in to solve conflicts between your family members and were the peacemaker in the family

Dash Mihok Argument GIF by Ray Donovan - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. You were always forced into arguments between your parents

parentified child
Source: BBC

5. You often provided emotional support to your parents

Source: Fosterva

6. You always have to be ‘in control’ and are the responsible one

Belowdeckmed GIF by Bravo TV - Find & Share on GIPHY

7. It’s hard to trust others because you’ve learned not to ask for help

Outer Banks Distrust GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

8. You had to figure out most of the things on your own

I'll figure something out. We always do.

9. You had to take care of your parents or siblings while you were a child yourself

parentified child
Source: Parenting for brain

10. You feel you had to become an adult very early on because no one else around you was taking on the role

Source: Ladders

11. You have trouble “letting loose” and feel the need for structure

I Cant The Girl Who Leapt Through Time GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

12. You don’t really remember how it was “being a kid”

I Dont Remember The Head GIF by HBO ASIA - Find & Share on GIPHY

13. You are very empathetic and often figure out others are going through something without them even saying it

The Good Doctor Kind GIF by ABC Network - Find & Share on GIPHY

14. You feel like your efforts are not being appreciated but continue taking care of others anyway

Sad Michael Scott GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

15. You are often too hard on yourself

Chicago Pd Nbc GIF by One Chicago - Find & Share on GIPHY

Being ‘responsible’ often feels lonely. People often assume since you’re so good at doing everything on your own that you don’t need someone once in a while, and that could be very mentally straining. But that might also be because you made them believe you don’t need anyone.

While sharing some responsibilities at home is good having to do everything on your own without asking for any help while taking care of everyone and their feelings could be very unhealthy.

You should pay attention when you’re being too hard on yourself. Your needs are important too and they don’t need to get ignored.

Now that you know there might be something going on underneath all those layers of responsibility, why not explore the option of therapy? It might serve you well. Plus, that inner child of yours needs an outlet as well, right?

You can read more about parentification here.

Check Out | 7 Instagram Accounts On Mental Health To Help You Sail Through The Dark Days & Feel Less Lonely