5 Ways Childhood Affects Relationships

Your automatic coping mechanism is very similar to what you did when you were younger.

Good communication is one of the main foundations of a healthy relationship. To have good communication in a relationship, both parties have to be good communicators. Many skills make a good communicator but the truth is, there are some specific ways to know if you are good at communicating in relationships. Here are 5 ways to know you are a good communicator.

When you start to recognize that these beliefs are not even fully your own then you can start to put some distance between you and that belief.

  • How you respond to stress.

You may find that you act or respond to stress the same way you did as a child. For example: if you found some sort of peace in being sent to your room after being yelled at by a parent as a kid, you may be one to isolate or shut down during arguments with your partner now. We find solace as adults in similar ways as we did as children.

  • How you show love.

We tend to show love how we saw it growing up. If you have a partner who is not very physically affectionate, you can probably guess that they grew up with this lack of physical affection being commonplace. The ironic part is that we model what we saw but may in fact need the very opposite to feel loved. So the person who grew up with few hugs may actually thrive more once they are with someone who loves hand-holding and kisses. You should explore the different love languages and figure out which one is the right one for you and your spouse.

  • Who we are attracted to.

We often find ourselves with partners who carry the positive and also the negative traits of our parents. This is because our attractions are based on what feels most comfortable- what feels most familiar to us. It may seem reasonable to go after the traits that were most pleasant from the important figures in our childhood, but it’s also the negative that we end up wanting subconsciously.  

  • What we believe.

This may come as a surprise to you, but a lot of our beliefs are not our own. Most of our beliefs were placed upon us by the people we had around us as children. The lessons that we learned from our guardians about how men and women are or should be, what relationships should be and how we should behave in them form the way that we think about those matters today for better or worse. Once you understand that these belief systems that run your life have been inherited, you are then free to question and adjust them to reflect your own truth.


  • What triggers us.

Most triggers that we have come from unmet needs in our childhood. When we get very upset about apparently small things, it can usually be traced back to our inner child. We have heightened sensitivity and often drastic reactions to current day interactions when they mimic past trauma. So however you were failed in your childhood will be where you have highly prioritized needs in your relationships and intense responses to them not being met as an adult. 


Eboni Harris is a relationship therapist in Houston, Texas, and host of Room for Relations: Sex and Relationship Podcast. She is also co-founder of Melanin and Mental Health™. She does individual and couples therapy in Texas and specializes in helping couples improve communication skills and intimacy.

Follow Eboni across social media @eboniharrisma

Business Inquiries: info@eboniharris.com



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