Until a few years ago I didn’t really understand and appreciate just how significant my childhood was in shaping who I am today. My childhood was filled with different elements that made it good as well as some other elements that were not so good. Overall, I would say compared to many people I had a good life. There are people out there who have lived through childhood experiences that no child should ever have to endure. Those who survived, what price does their adulthood now pay as a result of those experiences.
Do you realise just how much of an impact our childhood has on our relationships?
Relationships can be tricky. You see, we are dealing with people’s feelings, emotions, expectations and even their past experiences knowingly and unknowingly. Even the best relationships have problems and issues to deal with. What makes them successful is not only how they treat with their problems but also their willingness and desire to remain with each other.
Some times when a relationship fails we beat ourselves up over them while others are able to dust it off and move on almost as if it never happened. Why is that?
I believe that some of our childhood experiences affect us as adults more than we think or would like to admit. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. How so?
- Someone who grew up seeing their parents deal with problems by running away or avoiding the issues would more than likely do the same thing when faced with problems until they learn to respond differently.
- Someone who grew up seeing a lot of violence in the home might create a similar environment in their household or might stay in an abusive situation because it feels ‘familiar’ or ‘normal‘.
- Someone who saw infidelity or saw how it broke up their home as a child might have difficulty trusting people.
- Someone who experienced abandonment growing up might have difficulty trusting others and would probably always strive to be self-reliant.
The above scenarios are just a small fraction of some possibilities that some of us would have endured as children growing up. Let me say upfront, not because someone had a tough childhood means they would automatically repeat the same pattern. What I would say however, is that the negative experiences do affect us in some way. To what extent I can’t say because that would vary from individual to individual.
So ask yourself the questions and be honest with yourself.
- How much of your childhood affects how you parent?
- How much of your childhood affects how you love others and yourself?
- How much of your childhood affects how you receive love?
- How much of your childhood affects how much you trust other people?
- How much of your childhood affects your ability to let others get close you?
- How much of your childhood affects why you like what you like or don’t like certain things or certain people?
- How much of your childhood affects your ability to forgive?
The fact is, only you can honestly answer those questions. I’ve learnt that no matter how long ago the pain or hurt occurred in our childhood once it was never addressed or given closure it affects us and our relationships.
We can pretend it does not bother us or act like it never happened but in our subconscious and conscious mind it is there. The memories may be in the corner covered up but they’re still there. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. When you think you’re over it, life has a way of bringing it to the surface and because we have never dealt with it, there is often chaos and drama.
Many times when we enter relationships we only enter with the knowledge of what we’ve seen or been told by that special someone. The average person does not lay out all their hurt for the world to see. We bury it in an effort to forget so that we can function and have some measure of normalcy in our lives. We call it self-preservation and our brain does that to help us initially but we can only hide for so long.
When relationships fail, it’s not always because of what is seen on the surface but sometimes the issue is much deeper. No, it’s not our job to fix the person we’re with! We have your own issues to address before we can help anyone else. They must be willing and ready to face their own truths and address them one at a time. That is the hard truth.
Some people over the years have been able to work through their childhood experiences to live better, happier lives. Facing some of those memories can be tough but it is possible to find peace within ourselves so we can truly move forward.
There is no doubt in my mind that our childhood can and does impact our adult lives. How we let it impact our relationships is up to us. When relationships fail it can be a tough pill to swallow. After all, we’ve invested our time, our hearts and resources into the experience. Cherish the good memories from your childhood and get help in working through the challenging ones so they don’t keep you stuck.
May you find the strength and courage to address the pain and hurt that you are dealing with. Those of us that have children owe it to them to get resolution of our own issues so we don’t repeat the cycle of pain. We can’t help them until we help ourselves.
Thanks for reading.