Childhood trauma can change your personality and behavior in the long run, especially concerning romantic relationships and how you deal with your partner or spouse as an adult.
If you’ve been through any trauma, whether it was physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or anything else, here are some ways childhood trauma can impact adult relationships.
Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adult Relationships as per Bill Schantz
1. Abandonment Issues
According to Bill Schantz, childhood trauma can profoundly impact our lives, relationships, sense of self, and ability to cope with stress. One of the most common outcomes of childhood trauma is abandonment issues in adulthood.
When we experience trauma, we may develop a deep-seated fear of being abandoned or rejected. This can lead us to believe that we are unworthy of love and connection and cause us to pull away from others out of fear of being hurt. We may also find ourselves attracted to partners who are unavailable or likely to leave, setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. Relationship Anxiety
It’s estimated that 60% of adults in the United States have experienced some form of trauma in childhood, whether it be abuse, neglect, or a major life event. According to Bill Schantz. while many people can overcome these experiences, the effects can last a lifetime for others.
One of the most common long-term effects of childhood trauma is relationship anxiety. This can manifest in several ways, including difficulty trusting others, constantly feeling on edge, and struggling with intimacy.
As per Bill Schantz, when left unresolved, these issues can lead to problems in both personal and professional relationships.
3. Create a “Feeling Stuck” Feeling
Many people who have experienced childhood trauma often feel “stuck” in adult relationships. This may be because they have never learned how to cope with or process their trauma. As a result, they may find themselves re-experiencing the same pain and hurt in their current relationships that they felt in their past.
This can be extremely frustrating and confusing, but Bill Schantz believes hope exists.
4. Resenment & Anger
Resentment and anger are two types of emotions resulting from adverse childhood experiences. Resentment is a feeling of bitterness or injustice that happens when someone feels they have been wronged. Anger is a stronger emotion that can be triggered by feelings of frustration, hurt, or powerlessness. Both resentment and anger can damage relationships in adulthood.
Individuals who carry these emotions from childhood often have difficulty trusting others and may be quick to react in negative ways. They may also have trouble communicating their needs and boundaries. As a result, resentment and anger can lead to conflict, breakdowns in communication, and even violence.
Bill Schantz Recommends Therapy to Resolve Childhood Trauma Issues
If you suspect that your own unresolved childhood trauma is impacting your adult relationships, it may be helpful to seek professional help. Therapy can provide a space to process these emotions and learn new tools for managing them in healthier ways.