How your childhood can show up in your adult relationships

Have you ever found yourself saying or doing something you told yourself you would never say or do? Or maybe you have said, “If I have kids, I will never do or say….”. It’s no surprise, we are a product of our upbringing. From your mannerisms, sense of self-worth, emotion regulation and how you form relationships with others.  All of these things and others can be influenced by past and present experiences. So, what does this mean? We all have a unique story that can be influenced by many things and context matters. And, no, this post is not to blame, shame or discourage. We don't get a handbook at birth; we're doing the best we can. What I hope you get from this post is another perspective that could perhaps provide awareness and understanding that we do things for a reason.

Exploring your relationship history

Try this brief reflection exercise below (Don’t use the following steps for a past traumatic experience, we use a different approach for that):

  • Write down a list of the people who have had an impact in your life.
  •  Recall your experiences with them.
  • Validate your feelings.
  •  Remind yourself that no one is perfect. We do the best that we can with the knowledge and resources we have at that moment.
  • Ask yourself what patterns from your childhood are you carrying with you? Which ones do you want to strengthen? Are there any you want to release? What new legacies would you like to create?
  • Remember that the stories of others do not have to be your story.
  • Reach out and connect with people you can be authentic with.

Reflecting on your experiences, in this way, can bring up a lot of different emotions and thoughts. Notice them, don’t try to judge them, just simply notice what is present for you. I would encourage you to break this reflection exercise up. Don’t try to write it all out in one sitting. Take breaks, take care of yourself & come back to it. Remember, no matter what you have experienced in your past; it does not have to reflect your present and future. If you would like additional support in exploring how patterns may be impacting you in your relationships today, let’s find time to meet. You don’t have to unpack this by yourself.

Be well, 

Ebony Skinner, LPC

Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to be or substitute treatment by a Licensed Professional Counselor.