Our primary caregivers play the important role of laying the foundation for our experience in this world, and they are largely responsible for how we interpret it and the people in it. How you feel about trusting other people and whether you believe you can lean on them for emotional support or not depends on how you were brought up. Therefore, regardless of the relationships we have with our primary caregivers, we are who we are because of them, and this is a fact.
Of course, we have played our part in the success or the failure we have achieved so far, meaning we can’t blame them for every mistake we made. But how we were raised tremendously affects how we make decisions and how we relate with other people. Therefore, the experiences we went through with our parents and other close members of society have contributed to the development of specific habits we have.
For example, people who grew up in families where they lacked safety or were exposed to abuse often develop low self-esteem, they are likely to fall into anxiety and develop depression. Sadly, these people carry these emotions into their relationships and break many hearts, including their own, if they do not understand themselves early enough.
The good news is we can consciously identify the habits or experiences affecting us and we can make deliberate efforts to change them before hurting other people we love. Here are 15 experiences some people go through early in life, some are positive and others are negative, but they all affect relationships later in life.
15. Your Mom Was In And Out Of Relationships
Some people grow up in families where their knowledge and interaction with their fathers is limited to none. Although an absent father is the cause of numerous problems in a child through to his or her adult life, his or her mother’s relationships are also quite significant.
Some single mothers move from one relationship to another, looking for men to take care of them and their children. Some of the relationships can go as far as marriage while others last a few weeks or so. The biggest lesson a child will learn from his or her mother in such a case is the importance of having someone to sponsor his or her lifestyle.
The people who come from this relationship will hardly ever struggle to do anything, and will largely be dependent on the people he or she is in relationships with. These people have a difficult time making any decision, and they will obviously become a burden.
14. Your Parents Were Passionate Givers
We all know it’s more blessed to give than to receive, an attitude we should all cultivate in ourselves and in the generations to come. However, children who grew up in families where their parents gave so much and barely left enough to survive have a high likelihood of either being the complete opposite or following in their parents’ footsteps.
There’s no question about the good intentions these passionate givers have, but the giving can become a problem when someone is giving more than he or she can afford possibly out of obligation or guilt. Since this habit of giving will be evident even in relationships, the other person will want to give as much as he or she is receiving, and the relationship will flourish.
This attitude of sacrificing your needs for the other person will drive the two of you deeper in love, but when the couple or one of the members in the relationship is giving away everything they have, it will become a problem.
13. You Felt Rejected For Whatever Reason
Many children who develop self-esteem issues pick up feelings of rejection early in life, having grown up in families or surrounded by friends who don’t respond to their needs. This lack of response leads to the children pulling away emotionally as a defense against further rejection.
These people find it hard and even at times impossible to get into intimate relationships, because they fear to leave themselves vulnerable to someone who can hurt them. Autonomy and independence are some of the traits they hold strong to, meaning they could shut down, keep secrets, or send mixed messages, making it almost impossible to relate with such people on a romantic level.
A number of these individuals also feel as if they don’t deserve the attention, respect, or even love from others, and can never find someone to love them as they are. If you think you belong to this group of people, it is important to realize numerous people out there want to love you genuinely, so let them.
12. Your Parents Were Inconsistent
Some parents out there are unpredictable, one time they can be caring, attentive, and nurturing, while other times they can be cold, emotionally detached, and rejecting. These “mood swings” might result from a number of factors, with health, work, and financial obligations being some of the leading causes. Since such parents are never consistent in their responses, their children hardly ever know what to expect.
In addition to detecting the slightest changes in their relationships, the people who come from such families often become clingy and desire to connect with their significant others deeply. Their significant others are likely to feel as if they are becoming too anxious, but understanding their upbringing should help them cope with it.
People who grow up in such environments require approval and validation on a regular basis, because this helps them to get over their traumatic childhood. If you think you’re in this category, the power to change how you behave in the relationship is in your hands, and you can change from becoming excessively clingy or anxious.
11. You Were A Spoiled Child
Some people grew up with everything, probably because their parents were rich and they chose to provide them with everything they wanted. Although most parents want to give their children a better life than they had, most tend to overdo it and end up raising spoiled brats.
The problem in raising such children is they often grow up thinking they can always get whatever they want, regardless of their situations as grownups. These children grow up feeling entitled to a life like the one their parents offered them, even when they lack the skills, knowledge, and capacity to provide such privileges for themselves.
Sadly, these people get into relationships with the same attitude, expecting the other person to always let them have their way, including providing for them. Such can be very difficult to deal with, because they often want to do what they want or feel like, without following the conventional procedures as everyone else.
10. A Close Relative Loved And Lost
Death is a traumatic experience with the ability to cause irreversible changes in people. The worst thing about death is we know so little about it since what we can all be sure about is one day we will all die. The death of a parent, a close relative, or a loved one can change an individual’s perspective on life in a negative way, which trauma counselling should help diffuse.
This experience can make an individual decide to never get into a relationship, for fear of getting hurt again. Such an individual can end up focusing on all the negative aspects of life, to the point of never taking a chance at anything and giving up on almost everything.
People already in relationships or those who eventually get into them after losing someone they love require a lot of love, counselling, and understanding, without which all their relationships will always end in disappointment.
9. You Have Strict Parents
In an attempt to bring up children to be the men and women they had hoped to become, parents end up being too strict. School teachers and pastors usually have the pressure of bringing up the most disciplined children, because everyone in society expects them to set an example for others to follow. Some parents, who might not necessarily fall into the mentioned professions, decide to set a standard in their homes which might be unfair to their children.
These children can end up either following all the rules in society or become rebellious and break all of them. The ones who learn to follow the rules, hold firm to the concept of every action having a consequence, and therefore demand punishment for even the smallest mistakes.
Being in a relationship with such people can be very difficult, and their demand for punishment can really put off those they are in a relationship with. If you had such parents, please make the lives of those around you more pleasant by letting some things slide.
8. You Grew Up In An Exceptionally Supportive Home
Would you say your parents and siblings were exceptionally supportive when you were growing up? It’s highly likely your relationship is the way it is as a result of how your family was. We should all make an effort to be as supportive to our children’s needs as possible, because this will help them to mature emotionally and feel comfortable seeking assistance and offering assistance where needed.
The child who grows up in such a supportive environment will take positive energy into his or her relationships, and result in relationships where both parties will be delighted to be in. He or she will include his or her significant other in almost every detail of the relationship.
These people have a high level of reliability and dependability, leading the other person in the relationship to thoroughly enjoy being together with them. The flip side of such a noble character is the possibility of someone taking advantage of his or her support for selfish reasons.
7. No One Was There For You
A child is supposed to grow up in a community where the people around them meet his or her needs. However, when a child hardly ever gets to interact with his or her parents, doesn’t have siblings he or she can connect with, and the people employed to look after them keep changing, he or she will suffer.
When these children grow up and get into relationships, they consciously or subconsciously let their significant other have an upper hand on all matters, because they want to please them and don’t want to lose them. This lowly attitude might be great especially for the other person, but they do this in order to feel accepted.
In addition, such an individual would become excessively clingy in a relationship, partly because his or her personal identity is weak, and they feel as if they need the other person to become complete. If you suspect to be in this category, you need to love yourself, develop a positive self-image, and accept the fact that the present relationship is different from what you went through.
6. Your Parents Divorced
Divorce is one of the most unfortunate things that can happen between two people who were so much in love they promised to spend their lives together for as long as both of them were alive. This split affects not just the couple, but their children as well. Divorce is one of the highest contributors of psychological issues among the affected children, and whether any of their parents remarry will also have its negative effects.
Apart from the spoiled children who see divorce as the ideal opportunity to make their parents compete for their love and get a lot of stuff in the process, children hate divorce. When these children grow up, they will likely want to do everything in their power to marry someone they can tolerate, and avoid divorce at all costs.
These people will use any means possible to make their relationships work, which is a great thing. The only problem here is they can hold on to a destructive relationship and end up living a miserable life.
5. No One Gave You The Talk
The families where issues such as money, sex, and relationships never have a place bring forth people who either know nothing about these subjects or the information they get is incorrect. Some parents assume these lessons are best learned in school or through experience, which isn’t the right way to bring up children.
The people who come out of such families become foolish on the important matters of life, or their understanding gets twisted in lies and misconceptions. If a young man or woman doesn’t know what to expect in a relationship and how to act therein, he or she will prove to be a huge challenge for the first person they get into a relationship with.
Although people learn a lot from observation, no amount of observation can replace the value of a parent/guardian sitting with his or her child to teach them or respond to their questions on relationships. Your relationship might be on the rocks, not because one of you is a terrible person, but because one or both of you know nothing about relationships.
4. You Did Not Fit In Anywhere
Have you ever gone somewhere and felt as if you didn’t fit in? This happens to people almost every time they get into a new school, a different job, a different country, or a new group, and so on. However, the children who grow up feeling as if they hardly fit anywhere, including their families, often have a hard time even in relationships, because they suffer from a form of social isolation that will prevent them from relating well with others.
One misconception these individuals might be tempted to believe is they cannot succeed at anything, they aren’t as talented, good looking, or as bright as other people around them, and might even start looking down on themselves.
It’s possible for people with the wrong intentions to take advantage of such individuals, and others will hardly understand them. If you suspect to be in this category, it’s important to realize everyone has to work at fitting in and you don’t need to be better than anyone, you are fine just the way you are.
3. You Hardly Got Anything You Wanted
It’s almost impossible to tell how someone was brought up by simply looking at him or her, but a few minutes into a discussion, regardless of the topic, can tell you a lot. Some people grew up in families where their parents hardly ever got them presents or whatever they asked for, probably to teach them a lesson about how tough life was or because they had no money to spend on such things.
More often than not, the adult who comes out of such a home will strive to be the best he or she can be, in order to spend money on the things he or she felt deprived of. This experience can lead to someone overcompensating for his or her childhood and living under constant pressure to achieve standards he or she had set out to achieve.
These people often forget to give their relationships the time and effort required to succeed and end up frustrating their loved ones out of their lives because they often focus on financial success over everything else.
2. You Were Involved In An Accident
Hardly does a week go by without the mention of an accident anywhere in the country or around the world, whether on the road, on the rail, or in the air, which claims lives. Although advancement in technology and heightened safety measures are playing a huge role in preventing accidents around us, we still have a long way to go before reducing accidents significantly or eliminating them completely.
Therefore, if you are one of those people who has ever been involved in an accident or have ever lost a loved one in an accident, the traumatic experience is likely to affect even how you relate to other people. You or your loved one might be living in the constant fear of getting into an accident, regardless of whatever nature, which isn’t necessarily the case.
An individual living in such fear needs the help of a professional counsellor to help him or her get over this fear. This is because this fear has the ability to prevent an individual or his or her significant other from enjoying a relationship and it will likely have serious repercussions on all relationships.
1. You Were Abused
Abuse is one of the worst experiences any human being can go through, and it’s even worse when a child has to go through it for a prolonged period. Few things, if any, can come close to the trauma of having the person who is supposed to be your source of support and comfort taking advantage of you sexually or abusing you in any other way. Therefore, an individual who grows up in such an environment hurts to the level of fearing intimacy but he or she desires and find comfort in close friendships.
Someone who has gone through any form of abuse will hardly ever let his or her guard down, because the lessons they have had to learn over the years are too painful to revisit. They always imagine the person they are with will hurt them at some point, one more reason to remain in hiding and to never expose their hearts.