Childhood Trauma Can Lead To Toxic Relationships As Adults
Childhood trauma impacts our relationships in many, unfortunate, negative ways. But just because we endured pain and hurt and as a consequence, developed unhealthy attachment styles, doesn’t mean we have to continue this cycle in adulthood.
It is not a secret that we are all looking for love. We not only want love, but we also need it. This is because we are social, emotional animals who form deep ties with those around us.
If you grew up in a healthy home, your parents showered you with love and warmth. They were almost always available to you and made sure to cater to the (many) needs you had as a baby and, later, as a child.
As a result, you grew up to be a healthy, self-assured, independent, adult. You know how to cultivate harmonious, fluid, and respectful relationships with others – be it with friends, in business, or in the romantic sphere.
What Happens If We Don’t Grow Up In Healthy Home?
Let’s face it, most of us did not grow up in particularly healthy environments. Some of us faced emotional abuse, although our parents were not necessarily aware of the damage they caused us as they were raising us.
I grew up in a single-parent home, with a mother who was anxious, controlling, and often yelled at us, based on her fluctuating mood. It is true that she loved us very much.
However, as children, we could not understand that. When you are a child, your brain is not capable of understanding the complex situations you find yourself in. You see the world as either black or white, good or bad. Sometimes mom was bad, and sometimes mom was good.
The Impact Of Childhood Trauma On Our Love Life And Relationships
When my needs as a child went unmet (because my mom was busy, or she was working, or she was tired after a long and exhausting day), my mom was bad, and my need for connecting with her was greater, which led to increased fear of abandonment.
When my needs were addressed I was a happy and secure baby.
This kind of lack of consistency, which I am sure you can relate to, distorts our ability to build satisfying, stable relationships as adults.
We also develop protective mechanisms to handle effectively with the pain, fear, and hurt we feel, but these mechanisms don’t serve us as adults anymore.
For example, if your mother or father shamed you and were calling you names, on a continuous basis, you learned to be under their radar.
You talked quietly, were afraid to ask questions, take up space, or express your creativity to protect yourself from being ridiculed. Making yourself small was your way to ensure your safety.
But then, as an adult, in relationships and interactions with people, you fail to really show your authenticity. Heck, sometimes you don’t even know who you are.
Back then, in childhood, this protective mechanism might have helped. But now, as an adult, you have resources – you are not that helpless, powerless, little child anymore. You can choose the people you interact with and realize that this is your right to live your true self.
In other words, we still carry our programmed childhood reactions (crying, hiding ourselves to be safe, anger, fear, dependency, controlling, avoiding conflicts) in the face of threatening situations.
Often, our reactions as adults are completely out of proportion to the situations we find ourselves in.
Why is that? Because when we experience a particularly threatening situation, it triggers a natural reaction. This reaction was formed in childhood and already exists in our subconscious – and it erupts without us being aware of where the reaction originated.
Take, for example, Amy – one of my clients. She told me that her fiance is hardly ever available to her.
Every time he doesn’t answer when she calls or he goes out with his buddies, she feels an overwhelming fear that he will leave her, that he doesn’t love her anymore and that he doesn’t want to spend time with her.
Amy grew up with inconsistent parents. They capriciously exploded at her. Sometimes they were indifferent towards her. At other times, if they were not too depressed or stressed, they could express warmth and affection.
Amy never knew if and when she would receive her parents’ love, so she did everything she could to ensure that her basic need for survival was fulfilled. She used to pretend she was sick, would cry until she got attention, tried very hard to please her parents, obsessively demanded that they stay home with her, and more.
There are, of course, childhood trauma cases where parental neglect is total – where most of a baby’s needs go unmet so that the baby simply gives up on ever having those needs.
Such a baby often grows into an adult who is entirely unaware of his own needs. He was always rejected when he needed someone and he cannot stand the pain of rejection, so he gives up on what truly mattered to him (bonding, attachment, closeness, intimacy).
He simply pretends that he has no need for love. Of course, he does have these needs, so he often draws to him needy women who require constant attention.
Past Is Prologue
Please note: we will always, always will be attracted to those who reflect a certain pattern of our parents (or caregivers) so we can ‘fix’ the painful childhood trauma and eventually heal.
This happens most often in romantic relationships. This is why we have to learn the same lessons over and over again.
I asked Amy whether she ever had a partner who was available to her and whose love for her was consistent. She said that she went out with two such men, but that she was not at all attracted to them. Amy could not accept that healthy love they showed her.
She so yearned for the familiarity of her unfulfilled needs that, when she did receive the love she needed, it was too foreign a sensation. She didn’t know how to handle it.
She was simply unable to accept it when her needs were met and her subconscious wouldn’t allow her to fall in love with these types of guys.
There are so many types of parents that it is impossible to cover all parenting experiences in one article.
You may have grown up with cold parents; perfectionist parents who valued success, competitiveness, and achievement; parents who were part of a cult; codependent parents; controlling and overprotective parents; Narcissist parents; Borderline parents; Jealous parents; Parents who only loved you when you reflected adhered to their values; Parents who never permitted you to develop your own independent identity…
How To Heal And Form Better Relationships?
First of all, read the book of Dr. Harville Hendrix: ‘Keeping The Love You Find‘ as soon as possible.
This book walks you through all stages of your development and shows you where you got stuck.
It will help you identify the unconscious patterns you have been carrying with you since childhood, the ones you adopted to ensure your survival.
Patterns such as: “I must always please others”, “my needs are not as important as others’”, “I am worthless”, “I don’t deserve love”, “It is not safe for me to be seen, powerful and strong”, “I am only worthy when someone else loves me” and more and more and more.
It is possible that you are aware of some of your subconscious paradigms, but you most certainly do not have a complete picture.
It can be very unpleasant to dig deep into your soul and analyze your personality this way.
Such work can bring with it depression, anxiety, and sadness. It can make you angry with your parents for exposing you to such conditions when you were growing up.
You can be angry with yourself for not putting boundaries at an earlier stage.
But in the end, it is worthwhile getting to know yourself. You can live your entire life reacting to situations automatically (in ways that are not at all related to the actual situations you are reacting to) and wondering why nothing ever changes.
Or, you can take a journey inwards and learn who you are and understand your motives… why you react to things the way you do, why you feel the need to please others, and why you panic when your girlfriend tells you she needs some space.
When I read this book a few years ago, I was shocked. First of all, I was shocked that my mother was not mindful at all about the way she behaved. I felt sorry for myself. I felt bad for the pain I experienced.
But once I worked my way through my anger towards all the trauma I faced, I finally began to look at myself and find healing.
You have no idea the relief that brings – finally knowing who you are. Even if you don’t love some of the pieces you discover about yourself, nonetheless, you know what makes you tick. You get to visit your own backstage.
I also highly encourage you to read the book of Jean C. Jenson, ‘Reclaiming Your Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Regression Therapy to Overcome the Effects of Childhood Abuse’.
This book will teach you how to subconsciously release the subconscious blocks from your childhood through a grieving process, which is well-explained in the book, with a lot of clear examples.
It’s time to break free of subconscious setbacks.
This first stage is to be aware of your paradigms. In order to change something, you must know what to change.
This is why I always tell my customers to read the affirmations before they listen to my mind-shifting recordings. You have to check that the affirmations are appropriate for you and correspond to the challenges you want to address.
Awareness of the damage you experienced as a child and the destructive subconscious patterns you employ as an adult is very important, but it is not enough.
Even if we try to control our reactions and promise ourselves we will never react in a destructive way again, it doesn’t help. In fact, it only leads to more frustration.
This is because our desire to change is a conscious desire, but the ones who pull the strings are the patterns imprinted on our soul at the subconscious level.
Reprogram Your Mind
The subliminal brainwave programs I have created are the ultimate way to shift the inner settings that conduct your life.
The affirmations are hidden and you cannot hear them, which, in turn, makes these recordings a particularly powerful tool in your arsenal.
So, which tracks should you listen to in order to alter the subconscious paradigms created by your painful childhood experiences?
Well, that depends on your specific needs. You can find my complete library of recordings here.
In your changing process, try to be aware of your automated negative responses and choose better ones. This is very hard to do, but with a strong will, deliberate action, commitment, and the constant use of the subliminals – you are on the right track to shift your conditioning.
Overcome The Past Trauma
Breaking free of your old, traumatic chains from childhood that led to neediness, clinginess, fear abandonment, believe that you are not good enough, that you will never find a healthy relationship, that you are not valuable or worthy….
Breaking free of these neuropathways is like being re-born.
When you unravel your old childhood wiring and create for yourself new paradigms, everything will change for the better.
You will become self-assured, develop a solid sense of self, feel whole and complete. You will no longer feel an unexplainable need to please others at your own expense or surround yourself with toxic people.
As you move past the trauma, you can finally get in touch with your body and spirit, and be in perfect alignment with your being.
You will feel comfortable setting healthy boundaries in relationships and stay rooted in your values. Your energy will shift and radiate peace and light and that will become your new point of attraction, so you then will attract positive, highly evolved, caring individuals who will add value to your life.