People who have risen above a tough upbringing usually have these 11 personality traits

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

It’s a hard fact of life that some people experience pretty hellish upbringings.

It’s not something anyone should have to endure, but often those who’ve been able to rise above these tough years develop some remarkable personality traits.

Traits such as…

1. Resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences.

It doesn’t mean that someone isn’t affected by difficulty, but rather that they can recover and continue to move forward.

People who experienced a difficult upbringing often had to learn how to move on from pain as quickly as possible to survive.

As such, if they’ve been able to move past their difficult childhood, they tend to develop the ability to work through challenging experiences in adulthood too.

Extra reading: 10 personality traits that indicate you are more resilient than you think

2. Adaptability.

Much like resilience, adaptability is something that many people who experienced rough beginnings have developed.

Difficult childhoods are often unpredictable. This can mean a person has to learn to cope with uncertainty in order to rise above it.

They shouldn’t have to, but they learn how to go with the flow when things change.

Though it’s forged in hardship, it can be a valuable personality trait when it comes to facing uncertainty in adult life.

Extra reading: 20 Traits Adaptable People Use To Expertly Navigate Life

3. Humility.

It’s rare for someone who has risen above a tough upbringing to be egotistical.

Some may develop narcissistic tendencies if they experience a great deal of neglect or cruelty, but most will be modest and respectful.

They know what it’s like to have little or be belittled, and so they rarely treat others in this way.

Humble people are grounded in reality and are aware of both their skills and their shortcomings.

This makes them great leaders and team players as they recognize where they can contribute best, and where others can do the same.

Extra reading: 12 Attitudes You’ll Only Find In Exceptionally Humble People

4. Tenacity.

Those who have risen through great difficulties tend to develop a combination of courage and determination that allows them to succeed in whatever they put their mind to.

They might put this trait to use when it comes to finding a job or learning a new skill, or if they have to muscle their way through difficult medical treatments.

They can be stubborn and bull-headed in the best of ways.

They don’t give up easily, and may relentlessly pursue something important to them long after most others would have thrown in the towel and walked away.

5. Protectiveness.

Many people who’ve been through hell and back themselves become fiercely protective of others.

They seek to shield and care for other people the way they weren’t cared for and protected in their youth.

Some are super-protective of those they love while others throw themselves into charitable outreach.

In general, the more vulnerable someone or something is, the more eager they are to care for and protect them.

6. Self-reliance.

Those who have a tough upbringing often learn that the only way to get their needs met is to take care of things themselves.

Some may have been ‘parentified’ at a young age, forced to care for younger siblings (or even their parents), or left alone to fend for themselves for long periods.

So they learned a wide set of skills that made them capable of taking care of themselves.

After all, they couldn’t rely on anyone else to do so.

7. Independence.

Although independence and self-reliance often go hand in hand, there are differences between the two.

Independence is more about not ‘needing’ to rely on someone else, rather than the act of not relying on someone else.

Independence takes many forms, such as physical, financial, emotional, and so on.

People who have tough upbringings often learn independence out of necessity. There is no one to rely on, so they learn that they can meet their needs without other people.

Though it’s borne out of suffering, learning that other people don’t complete us is an important lesson that many of us never get to grips with.

Extra reading: 14 habits that make independent people so very successful

8. Understanding.

Those who have navigated intense personal difficulties are often a lot more understanding than those who haven’t.

The boss who tells you to, “Leave your issues at home” likely hasn’t experienced homelessness, abject poverty, crushing abuse, or despair from personal loss.

It’s often only those who have experienced significant adversity who can truly understand the complexities of the human condition and have empathy for those going through hard times.

And this understanding often leads to…

9. Compassion.

Those who have been through some of the toughest times often have an incredible amount of compassion for others.

They know what it’s like to go through hell, and as such they try to alleviate other’s pain and suffering whenever and however they can.

It’s not unusual for people who have overcome difficult pasts to work in careers where they can help other people or spend their free time advocating for positive change and support for those in need.

10. Gratitude.

People who have risen above a tough upbringing never forget their harrowing experiences.

Even though they’re no longer stuck in difficult circumstances, the old wounds that sealed over have left scars.

As such, these people usually have extraordinary gratitude for things that others take for granted.

Someone who’s never been cold and hungry won’t be able to truly appreciate the simple joy of a warm, dry blanket, or a hot bowl of soup.

Similarly, someone who never experienced chaos and fear at home won’t have as much gratitude for a home life that’s peaceful and supportive.

11. Stoicism.

Stoicism teaches people to focus on controlling how they react to the world, rather than trying to control the world itself.

People who overcome difficulty growing up often learn to place greater importance on their attitudes, thoughts, and actions, rather than focusing on things they can’t control.

Rather than panicking or getting emotional, they simply get down to business when faced with a challenging situation.

Although they developed this trait in order to get through awful things in the past it serves them well as they move through life, as do all of the remarkable personality traits on this list.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.