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Warning signs your childhood issues are ruining your relationships

Colleen E. Crane MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bozeman, Montana. Colleen is currently in private practice and specializes in working with adolescent girls and women.

Childhood issues can damage relationships

Whether you come from an abusive family or a just a “normal” dysfunctional family, childhood issues can create problems in all areas of your life if you are not careful. Here are some warning signs that your “issues” are damaging your relationships and that it’s time to reach out and get professional help.

Woman thinking about childhood

1You're the only one who has problems with your co-workers or boss

If you are in a work situation and it feels like you are the only one who cannot get along with a certain person or personality in your office, it might be time to think about talking with someone outside of your work to gauge if your feelings are legitimate or whether your reaction could be related to your past. If you grew up in a hostile family situation, sometimes having a hostile boss or co-worker is a trigger for childhood issues.

Can you really get over childhood trauma? >>

2Dating seems to go nowhere -- or you end up with the same type of person

If you are notorious for only making through the first three dates with someone, then never get any further, your childhood issues might be a problem. Or if you are always ending up with the same type of person, you may be trying to work out something from your past. Often we are attracted to the same type of person because on an unconscious level they remind us of someone from our past. Many times that person is someone whom we have had conflict with, which never got resolved. If you are in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They can put you in touch with a professional who can help you get safe and help you identify warning signs of an abusive relationship.

5 Steps for making peace with your father >>

3You have friends, but you aren't close with them

Sometimes when we come from an abusive or dysfunctional home, we have issues in friendships as well as more intimate relationships. If you have trouble making and maintaining friends, it may signal a deeper issue. Think about friendships from the past -- where did they break down? What was your influence on the relationship? Toxic relationships are also a sign that you may have childhood issues getting in the way of the friendship.

How to let go of friendships that hurt your health >>

4You've moved far away from your childhood home but still feel tormented

Even if you have moved far away from your childhood home and it has been years since any conflict, don't underestimate the power of early relationships in your life.

Family -- good, bad, or a bit of both -- provides the structure for how we understand ourselves and others for the rest of our lives. The good news is that with help from a professional you can learn how to change some of those thought patterns and create new and healthy relationships no matter what your age. Contact a licensed professional in your area for more information and to get help building healthy relationships.

More on healthy relationships

Overcome toxic relationships to improve your relationships
5 Reasons girlfriends are important
Stay emotionally fit with group therapy

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