Impact of our childhoods on our adult relationships

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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‘.
  3. Someone who saw infidelity or saw how it broke up their home as a child might have difficulty trusting people.
  4. 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.

  1. How much of your childhood affects how you parent?
  2. How much of your childhood affects how you love others and yourself?
  3. How much of your childhood affects how you receive love?
  4. How much of your childhood affects how much you trust other people?
  5. How much of your childhood affects your ability to let others get close you?
  6. How much of your childhood affects why you like what you like or don’t like certain things or certain people?
  7. 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.


Do you dare to laugh?

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Have you ever noticed that as adults some of us don’t laugh as much as we used to when compared to our younger selves?  Why is that?  Some blame “the pressures of life” for taking the wind out of their sails.  Then there are those who believe it’s because “we take life too seriously“.   What do you believe?

I recognize that as adults we have commitments, responsibilities, jobs, families and all sorts of other things that we have to deal with on a daily basis.  However, laughter is not the enemy.  In fact, as adults I believe we need to laugh even more than we did as kids because of all the added responsibilities we now have.

This brings me to my observations about being an adult thus far:

  • We are often frowned upon when we try to enjoy the little things in life and may have our actions labelled as childish sometimes;
  • We are not allowed to make mistakes as this is a privilege only afforded to children;
  • We are sometimes criticized when we try to ‘lighten up’ because for some this would mean that we don’t take life seriously;
  • Laughter it seems is a delicacy only for the young and carefree among us;
  • The people looking on at us and passing judgement need to laugh more than  we do.

Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard you fell off a chair?  What about the time you laughed so hard you almost wet your pants? Do you remember the time you laughed so hard you cried from laughing so much? It brings a smile to my face just remembering those moments hopefully it did the same thing for you.

Benefits of laughter:

  • Laughter is healthy.
  • Laughter is a stress reliever.
  • Calm your thoughts.
  • Helps you relax.
  • Makes you feel good.

Life can be tough sometimes I can’t deny that but it also has its good moments too. We should find joy in the little things.  Go to the amusement park, go on a fun ride, go to the movies or a comedy show (hire a babysitter for the night to watch the kids) just do something fun every once in a while and make it a “thing” that you do for you.  If you wish to share it with the whole family even better. 🙂

Life is too short for us to just go through the motions day after day.  Don’t let life’s challenges keep you down.  Free up a little, relax, create new memories and laugh every chance you get.

I dare you to laugh and not feel awkward about it.  🙂