Were you loved as a child, did you feel part of a close knit family relationship, or like many, were you a child of an unstable or failed relationship?
It may surprise you to learn that only 20% of the western world’s children had the ‘right’ kind of parenting, do you also know that children who had bad childhoods, where their emotional needs weren’t met, are more likely to have a failed relationship, or multiple relationship break-ups as an adult.
80% of us may not have had our emotional needs met and this can have a huge impact on our adult relationships and ultimately how happy we are. The science behind the correlation of our childhoods and our adult relationships, is best explained by Attachment Theory.
Are you aware of feeling distant within intimate relationships? When our parents or main caregivers were unresponsive to our emotional needs as children, we can develop an insecure-avoidant or dismissive-avoidant attachment style.
With this attachment style, we often avoid close intimate relationships or struggle to make a consistent emotional connection. We may hide our true feelings, push people away, keep secrets, shut down and find it difficult to show our feelings. Having said all this insecure-avoidant people often crave relationships and will describe feeling alone often.
Children who experienced a bad childhood, or were neglected or any other form of abuse may have developed a fearful-avoidant or disorganized-disoriented attachment style.
When our parents or main caregiver, who was supposed to love and care for us, is the person who hurt us, it is likely that we grow up feeling scared of intimacy and being alone. This attachment style will make it difficult to trust people, often shutting themselves off emotionally, not handling rejection well, and display a cold demeanour.
If our parents/caregivers were inconsistent, moving between being responsive to our needs and dismissive or neglectful of them, we may well develop an insecure-ambivalent or anxious-preoccupied attachment style.
This attachment style often results in overbearing, controlling, and needy. If this is your attachment style, you most likely need lots of intimacy and feel less loved in your relationship, than the love you give back. You may also have low self worth/self esteem.
Being affected by our pasts is hurtful, not only for us, but for our partners too, the good news is there are talking therapies which can undo some of the damage and help you to move forward.
Relationship awareness and therapeutic tools which can help you have a much better intimate relationship is now available online.
You can also talk to www.relate.org.uk
Paul Parkin – online therapist