There is no denying that how we came up in the world has much to do with how we interact with others later in life. One of the most obvious ways these effects emerge is when we begin dating.
From infancy, we instinctually seek out love and attachment from our caregivers. When our parents don’t accept this need or are unable to reciprocate due to their emotional problems, we grow to feel like we are unworthy of love. We may even believe that life is a horrible ordeal, one in which we must always assume is going to be painful and hard, especially when people are involved.
When we are taught from an early age that we aren’t worthy of love, or that we are stupid, bad, unwanted and a burden, we grow up believing these things to be true.
Because these are our earliest associations with love, it can make dating severely difficult. Here are some of the effects having a bad childhood can have on dating and relationships.
1. Needy/ Clingy Behaviors
To get the love they didn’t receive as a child, people who come from a bad childhood may cling and attach themselves to others in a way that is unhealthy. They do so because they want assurances they are loved, and in most cases, they do not realize the pressure they are putting on their partner to fix them or make them feel better. Unfortunately, this can create a major imbalance in the relationship.
2. Fear of abandonment
Due to fears, they may lose the love they have found, the person who endured a bad childhood may develop what seems to be irrational fears of abandonment. They may fear abandonment, even in situations where abandonment isn’t likely.
3. Low self-esteem
Having a happy or healthy childhood helps us to build self-esteem, when we have a bad childhood and are exposed to unloving people, it can deteriorate and destroy our sense of self-worth.
4. Violent and aggressive behaviors
When someone is exposed to domestic violence early on and regularly, they may believe this is what is normal in a relationship. If they have never had counseling for what they witnessed, they are likely to exhibit the same behaviors towards their future partners.
5. Trust issues
One of the most fundamental issues that go along with having a bad childhood is that it most definitely makes it hard to trust others. Our parents set the stage for who we trust later in life, and when they break our trust, it can completely break the foundation we have to trust others.
And having a bad childhood or childhood trauma isn’t as uncommon as most would like to believe. A 2017 study found that 1 in 8 adults have reported childhood $exual abuse, and 1 in 4 have reported physical @buse.
And while that study only includes trauma, one could assume that others endured other facets of a bad childhood that make interacting with others far more difficult.
With that being said, having a bad childhood isn’t a sentence for no love in your future. While it can make it more difficult, plenty of people with bad childhoods seek counseling and other forms of self-work in order to make dating easier and their relationships healthier. Please be sure to check out the video below if you are having problems with dating as an adult who experienced a bad childhood. She provides some great insights!