The Biggest Impact Childhood Has On The Way We Love As Adults

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There was a time not that long ago that Freud introduced the idea of The Oedipus complex This psychoanalytic theory basically suggested that we look for the same traits in a partner that we observed in our parents. In a way, we end up marrying our fathers as women and mothers as men.

Multiple psychologists have since introduced new ways of understanding the impact of childhood on adult relationships. Still, one thing stayed the same, and that was all of their agreement that the impact was undeniable. Childhood if left unanalyzed, can ultimately shape who we choose as partners and predict the success or failure of that relationship before it’s even started.

It all comes to one important impact.

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Projecting Childhood Needs On Adult Love Styles

The subconscious mind holds all of the information that creates the blueprint of who we are. We might not notice, but we all follow a certain pattern that determines our needs, desires, habits, and personalities. Our pattern of relating to others is set in motion long before we even meet a potential partner.

a-couple-hugging-each-other- under sky i hoodies
Cottonbro Studio / Pexels
Cottonbro Studio / Pexels

Some of us have patterns that aren’t healthy or beneficial. Instead we learned them as means of survival or because we didn’t know any better as children. As adults, we project any unresolved issues unto our partners. That’s why sometimes we get caught choosing narcissists over and over again.

The truth of what in our childhood ultimately drives our relationships, comes down to one thing…

Attachment Styles

There is one thing that completely ties romantic relationships with childhood family experiences, and that is: attachments. It all comes down to the attachment bonds we share with our initial caretakers and the meaning that was imprinted onto us when we were still trying to make sense of the world.

couple-hugging-each-other- with mirror behind them
PCottonbro studio / Pexels
PCottonbro studio / Pexels

Our relationship with our parents during childhood has a direct impact on our social, intimate relationships, and even relationships at work as adults. According to attachment theory, the behavior of the primary caregivers (usually our parents) contributes to and forms how a child understands close relationships.

That’s because a child is completely dependent on their parents for comfort and support. If that child’s physical and emotional needs are satisfied, he or she becomes securely attached. That’s rare though. What happens instead is that whatever form of unfulfilled need that child experiences become their attachment style as adults.

Here is how these styles play out in adult relationships. Keep in mind that there is only one beneficial style, and all others are bound to cause some issues if not addressed.

The Pleaser Who Struggles With Boundaries

If you’re a people pleaser, this isn’t a coincidence. While your strength may be in your nurturing and caretaking skills, your weakness is in giving more than you take, fearing that you’ll come off as a burden. You likely have trouble saying no and drawing healthy boundaries around your needs and values. This causes unequal power dynamics in your relationships where you always come second.

a-man-in-gray-sweatshirt-hugging-a-woman-from-behind- by window
Thirdman / Pexels
Thirdman / Pexels

People who are pleasers grew up with distressed parents. They might have been good children with happy lives, but seeing their caretakers stressed and on edge made them feel like it was their responsibility to take care of them instead. They were afraid to upset the ones they loved and be the cause of more stress. These blurry child-parent relationships made it hard for them to learn how to set boundaries.

The Avoider Of Conflict And Communication

Avoiders tend to be passive-aggressive in relationships because they would rather let things bottle up than deal with confrontation. It’s hard for them to commit long-term and they run away from their feelings. Usually, emotions bottle up within them till they explode. They don’t have good communication and have difficulty expressing themselves.

couple-of-hands- reaching for each other from opposite sides
lil artsy / Pexels
lil artsy / Pexels

Avoidant attachment is an attachment style a child develops when their parent doesn’t show care or responsiveness to their emotional needs. That child usually grows up in a home where feelings aren’t discussed. There may not be a lot of physical displays of affection either. That child grows up thinking they should disregard their feelings and struggles to keep the peace.

The Indecisive Vacillator

Vacillators are indecisive and have a hard time tuning in to figure out what they truly want. They might agree with whatever their partner says or wants, losing themselves in the relationship. They hold on tightly to their partners at the risk of being possessive because they have a deep fear of abandonment.

-couple-in-a-kissing-mode holding each other's faces
Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels
Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

As children, these people grew up with very unpredictable parents. They never knew if their parent would come home in a good mood and be loving and proud of them or if they would be in a bad mood and be dismissive or even take it out on them. They worry that they might say or do the wrong thing, causing their parent to flip on them.

This manifests in two ways, either they become clingy or need, desperately wanting validation that their parent cares for them, or they withdraw, as it’s easier than dealing with their parent’s hot and cold mood.

The Anxious Controller

Unpredictability and the unknown are scary for anyone but are unbearable for the anxious controller. They want to do everything themselves, plan out the whole relationship and keep up a certain image as an illusion that this will keep them in control of the outcome. However, instead, they also start controlling their partner, getting jealous and angry easily when things don’t go their way.

couple stands on balcony dressed up in black and white
Two Dreamers / Pexels
Two Dreamers / Pexels

This child grew up in an environment where they didn’t get much attention and was emotionally neglected by their parents. They learned that since they can’t depend on their parent, they can’t depend on anyone and must learn to take control of their own life. However, they didn’t have the tools to know when also to let go of that control. They don’t know how to let themselves be taken care of instead and have difficulty trusting that a partner always will.

The Secure Connector, The Rarest To Find

This is the rarest form of attachment but yet is the most required one. Having a secure attachment style means having high self-esteem and attunement. If this describes you, you know how to set healthy boundaries so that you get your needs fulfilled by your partner but also have an independent life. Your partner is a bonus to your happiness and not someone who fills a voice or that you use to resolve childhood conflict.

woman gets her forehead kisses by her partner
Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Secure connectors grew up in emotionally healthy homes where love was easily given. Their parents gave them attention but also confronted them with consequences when necessary. Their parents had an equal amount of discipline, affection, and pride and were also taking care of themselves and their own relationship as a couple.

What Does Your Relationship Look Like?

In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?

-man-and-a-woman-in-black-long-sleeves- touch mirror and hands
Ilyasick Photo / Pexels
Ilyasick Photo / Pexels

Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.

We don’t blame you for being frustrated with dating and wanting to stick with what’s comfortable but if you’re struggling to find and keep a quality man click here to find out how to break the cycle.

For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.

Aria Misty

Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.

Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]