How your childhood affects your adult relationships

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was living with Essy and David in Malawi, and we used to have conversations about many things.

I remember one day we were talking about things they have learned about life and marriage, when Essy said something along the lines of, ‘ there is a way your family dynamics, your childhood and the way you saw your parents relate that sometimes you unconsciously bring into your new relationship, and it is important for both of you to recognize that and create new ones’.

Am sure she said it in a different way, but I understood it that way, then I started to notice how this is true in so many relationships and marriages.

The truth is, we learn a lot from our families. We see, we hear, we experience things. Our families are our first teachers of love. We learn how to communicate with others first in our childhood. We pick up love styles, attachment styles and sometimes our parent’s trauma and it becomes normal to us because that’s what we first saw as normal in our childhood.

So Essy talked about how she was giving silent treatments to David, and David was confused at how she can go silent for days and then talk to him as if the silent treatment was a normal thing to do.

If you also grew up in a home where if someone does you wrong, you give them silent treatments and let them figure out what they did and don’t talk about that, it makes sense to keep on doing that because to you that’s how you resolved issues when growing up, but it is really confusing for someone who grew up in a home where they shout for example.

Okay, another example, for people who grew up in an environment with domestic abuse, a spouse shouting at them can trigger them. Because he or she will be alert, and remember everytime his/her mom or dad beat the other after shouting at each other.

Another one, if your dad never listened to your mom, or cheated on your mom, you might have learned that,that is a normal thing in relationships. Or you might have fear of relationships, so you sabotage any serious love interest coming your way so that you don’t have to experience what you saw your mom/dad went through.

I grew up in an environment where there was a lot of nagging. To the extent that now, if you nag me, I won’t do what you are asking of me.

So take growing up from different houses, meeting in your adulthood and bring all these traumas into play, perfect ingredients for conflicts in a relationship.

You maybe wondering how you can solve this now right?

• I suggest therapy

Working through your childhood trauma is good for you to create a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

This books is as equally helpful

• Vurnelability

Let your partner in. Let your guards down.

Be focused on being better for yourself and for him, working hard to make that relationship work together. If he or she points something out, don’t be defensive, understand that you grew up in different houses, talk about each other’s perspectives, bring all of you at the table and see what works and what doesn’t and maybe create new things for you two.

• Observing yourself as well

Asking your self why you feel what you feel, why do you treat your partner a certain way and etc. Being open to learning and unlearning somethings.

I have met people who are like, this is how I am, or this is how I grew up. But again brothers and sisters, if it is affecting your own life and relationships, is it worth it?

It is okay to question, change and adopt new ideas.

As long as it is not sin, It is okay to learn new things.

Eunice

(This article is as equally helpful on this subject)

14 Comments

  • Angasa Salome

    Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post Eunice. I definitely have been attuned to how my parents’ dynamic has affected my own relationships but my methods of trying to prevent their issues (they’re divorced) have also been challenging. I still think I should learn more about making healthy relationships work

    • Eunice Tossy

      I think it is good that you have noticed, that’s one way towards working on yourself.

      I hope you find a way that works honestly, i am so glad that you are learning, there maybe mistakes that you will make but they will ultimately help you become better.

      We are on the same journey dear.

  • Essy

    Love this
    It’s always a great idea to watch out for any baggage from your past that you might be bringing to your relationship.
    Sometimes it’s hard to notice that your actions are as a result of your childhood experiences. Until you intentionally analyze them and talk to your partner or a friend about it or a therapist like you’ve suggested
    Thank you for sharing this with us

  • Amaka

    I found this post via your post in a Facebook group and I’m actually glad I clicked! These points you made are so true. May God help us (and may we accept the help/be willing to be helped) in letting go of toxic habits and mannerisms

    • Eunice Tossy

      Kelle, I’m so sorry that you went through that. I am glad that you are also challenging these unhelpful things, i hope you are healing as well dear❤️.

      Thank you so much for reading love. Let me check out your space as well

      • Kelle's Space

        Thanks for your response Eunice – realising it was the hardest part, and yes, I am currently going through the healing process. Thanks for sharing this powerful message. I hope you enjoy reading one of my posts as well ❤️

  • Adonias Mkama

    Wow! What a wonderful article! Thank you very much dear Eunice for this impressive article. This is very helpful, and you have explained well about it.

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