How Does Childhood Trauma Affect Adult Relationships?

Our journey through life is often interconnected with the relationships we form along the way. However for those who have experienced difficulties in their childhood the impact on adult relationships can be significant and difficult. The past haunts the present with its sets of automatic reactions, negative perceptions and uncomfortable emotions like Anxiety and/or Depression


Zina Ortiz

11/14/20233 min read

EMDR Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Trauma Anxiety Denver Colorado
EMDR Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Trauma Anxiety Denver Colorado

Understanding the origins of childhood trauma, whether resulting from abuse, neglect or witnessing violence establishes foundations that extend into adulthood. The attachment patterns formed during our early years play a role in shaping how we approach intimacy and connection later in life.

The dance of attachment styles developed during our early childhood relationships influences the way we navigate adult connections. Whether secure or characterized by anxiety or avoidance these styles determine our comfort levels with closeness, fears of abandonment, pleasing, perfectionism, difficulty trusting others, and expectations of reciprocity within relationships.

Breaking free from patterns, the echoes of childhood trauma often present challenges when it comes to establishing and maintaining relationships. However through awareness and understanding we gain tools to break free, and finally break from these patterns by addressing these deep core wounds. We propose to our clients that awareness is the precursor to healing. I don't know how one can go about healing that which is not within conscious awareness.

Through therapy, self honesty and self reflection our clients begin to change how they interact with others fostering resilience along the way and recreating new stories. The therapeutic methods that we utilize in our practice create changes from below the level of consciousness. Changes are observed days and even weeks after our work with our clients!

Communication styles, expressing emotions and experiences of childhood trauma can shape the way we communicate and handle emotions, in our relationships. Some people may struggle to express their needs while others might find it hard to manage responses. Recognizing these patterns allows for developing more open, understanding and effective communication in adult relationships. This takes practice. Much like riding a bicycle for the first time, it is weird and awkward, with practice this turns into a relaxed practice. Coupled with the healing of deeply rooted wounds adopting new ways of relating with others in a healthy way results in enjoyable experiences.

The fragility of trust and for those who have been betrayed or abandoned in the past, trust can be delicate like a blossom. Nurturing trust in adult relationships requires patience, consistency and a deep awareness of the wounds left by early childhood experiences. It's a process of rebuilding where small acts of reliability gradually mend the scars of mistrust.

Establishing healthy boundaries is a challenge for survivors of childhood trauma. The conditioning developed by harrowing early childhood experiences blur boundaries making it difficult to develop an understanding of where one persons limits end and another begin. Learning to set and respect boundaries becomes essential for building relationships based on respect and independence.

As we explore a client's impact that childhood trauma has on their adult relationships it becomes clear that healing is possible and it also is a transformative journey, towards discovering oneself and building resilience.

By being aware of one's internal mechanisms and receiving help from a skilled psychotherapist you can navigate your way to healing. This will enable you to make room, for more meaningful and healthy connections, in the present. When we comprehend the ties that hold us together we gain the ability to rewrite our narratives and build relationships grounded in trust, understanding and the unyielding strength of resilience.

At Elephant in the Room LLC, our team of clinicians are trained in a variety of modalities to help you overcome unhealthy patterns of relating with others, and due to childhood trauma. Please be aware that not every therapist is skilled to work with complex trauma or C PTSD, these skills are not taught in graduate school, but acquired with extensive trainings and experience. Our team has more than 20 years of experience combined. Make an appointment with one of our clinicians and start your own journey of healing. Be The Hero of Your Own Story!