How Childhood Trauma Affects Our Relationships

What does childhood trauma have to do with our relationships today? Everything! Life, Love, and Trauma Recovery Coach, Riana Milne, walks us through the top childhood traumas, she helps us understand if we’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, and how to move forward into love despite traumas and toxic relationships in our past.

The post below is a highlight of our conversation. For the entire episode, listen to Episode 59 on Grace for Single Parents anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Riana explains how she is qualified to talk about childhood trauma and that leads to love trauma – including both her professional career and personal life.

“You can’t change what you don’t know.”

Related: What is She Thinking? The Trauma Effects Single Parents Experience

What Are the Top 10 Childhood Traumas that Affect Relationships?

“Research shows childhood trauma goes through at least three generations.”

  1. Having a parent with an addiction – drugs, alcohol, sex, cheater, porn, gambling, hoarding spending, eating, gaming, TV, workaholic, addiction to computers.
  2. Verbal messaging. So what type of messaging did you hear? Did you hear a lot of compliments and I love you and I’m proud of you or did you get a lot of criticism? Verbal, put downs, or slurs, for example, why don’t you change your outfit? You look fat in that. This is also how you watched your parents deal with an issue. Did they yell and scream at each other? Did they yell at you or the silent treatment and shut down and then punish you with passiveness? Not talk to or give you any attention.
  3. Emotional neglect or abuse.
  4. Physical abuse, rape or molestation. Inside or outside of the home.
  5. Abandonment and there’s two types: fault and no fault abandonment.
    1. A no fault abandonment would be if a parent happens to die early, if they leave the household to serve the military or if they travel a lot, but that’s how they support the family.
    2. Fault abandonment is never being in the child’s life, being there while the couple’s married or together, and they barely see the child and break a lot of promises about seeing the child or could even be an emotional abandonment where that parent is present, but not active in that child’s life. That’s someone that works all day comes home, eats, goes into their home office and then goes to bed. They’re very infrequent quality engagements with the child. They don’t go to their school events.
  6. Product of foster care, adopted or had to live in somebody else’s house because the parents couldn’t keep them in that home.
  7. Most people identify with personal trauma. So that could be you remembering that you felt different for any reason. So you could have been a chubby child, skinny and gawky. You could have had a medical issue, like ADHD. They always felt different. It could be if you were the only African American student in all Caucasian school or as a teenager, you’re coming out as gay or lesbian and your peers or your family does not accept you. Where you just feel you’re not good enough or feel different, for many different reasons.
  8. Sibling trauma. Your sibling could have been born with a medical issue. So mom and dad gave them more time. They could have bullied you, or you also perceived them to be the golden child, the favored one. The star athlete, the more handsome or beautiful, or the better student, and somehow you were always measured up to them. Like, why can’t you be like your sister?
  9. Community trauma. This includes our mass shootings, our school shootings, our big mother nature events, where it wipes out all communities, floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, things like that. And of course, the COVID pandemic. let’s say two parents lost their job due to COVID. Now the family is suffering economically, but family trauma could also be a parent whose incarcerated. It could also be you’re moving a lot. If you are a military family and you’re always the new kid in the school, you grew up in a dangerous neighborhood, or you always grew up with a lot of lack messages. No don’t ask for those sneakers that selfish of you. We don’t have the money for that.
  10. Mental health issues in mom or dad – bipolar and borderline personality disorder.
    1. Borderline is fast trigger, anger, extreme moods when they’re good. When they’re bad, they’re bad and their child never knows what they’re gonna get. Keeping that it in a state of anxiety, all my clients that come to me, one of the signs that their childhood trauma is unhealed is ongoing anxiety and bouts of depression.
    2. Bipolar manic depressive. Depression can show up as anger, checking out emotionally or extreme fatigue and manic phase. A lot of people say was that the high and happy one? Well, it could be, but it’s often tied to an addiction like a spending spree or a gambling spree or an eating binge.

Related: Are You In A Toxic Relationship? How to Know

The average person has between four to seven of these traumas.

childhood trauma toxic relationships

How Do Childhood Traumas Show Up In Adulthood?

Affects of unhealed trauma – At work

Shows up as physical ailments, verbal messaging, impulsiveness, perfectionism, people-pleasing, co-dependent relationships.

Affects of unhealed trauma – in relationships

Shows up as controlling, narcissistic, sociopath, psychopath.

“If we had to go on a scale of what’s the worst, the worst is psychopath. Second worth worst is sociopath. And third down is narcissism. However, psychopaths and sociopaths are always narcissists. But the narcissist is not always a sociopath and a psychopath.”

Related: Does Your Ex Still Have Power Over You?

What is a Sociopath?

It’s a lot of people taking advantage of other people. Women do it to men and men do it to women equally. So everyone has to be really careful, informed, and educated before they go out in the dating world.

A sociopath has a high need for validation, attention, admiration, immediate gratification, and control. They are an opportunist. They’re likely to engage in criminal activity. They value relationships if they benefit from them and they don’t want the relationship to end because they’ve got the new lifestyle or secret life.

The sociopath is fearful. They tend to have a lot of anxiety and hates rejection and are easy to humiliate.

What is a Psychopath?

The psychopath likes control also, but it gets stimulated when they’re controlling a whole episode. They’re more calculating. They will do something over time to screw somebody over.

The psychopath might be angry, but they control it. It wouldn’t even show it on their face. A psychopath displays calculating behavior not erratic (that’s more the sociopath). Sometimes they’re great. Sometimes they’re not. The psychopath is calculating manipulative, you wouldn’t think anything’s going on.

The secret life is a psychopathic trait. The psychopath is unable to form attachments. They’re not capable of love and emotional relationships. They’re known as social predators, but they’ll fake it to get what they need. And then they’ll act out in a secret life. The psychopath is fearless. They are arrogant and confident. It’s impossible to humiliate the psychopath because they just brush it off and act like, it’s not a big deal.

How do good people get conned by a sociopath?

Goodhearted people get targeted who are forgiving. They are used to keeping the peace in their family of origin. They’re often financially pretty sound. You want to love them and believe in them. So you keep giving them chances after chances. And if you give that to a sociopath or narcissist, the tiny inkling of a chance, they’re not gonna give up because they get something from that relationship.

is it even possible to attract healthy love relationships when we all have childhood trauma?

You have to know exactly what you’re looking for. You have to heal the trauma within yourself and have more self-love.

There’s an art in psychology to dating: You need to know that your life is totally together and you would never settle for less. We have a motto we’d rather be single than settle.

“Instead of identifying as lonely after the relationship, this is now your time. This is your time to start saying yes to yourself to grow, to heal. It’s an incredible time if you take advantage of it.”

RRS: relationship repetition syndrome

RSS is when we’ve broken up and got back together five times. The unconscious is craving that love. Even if you would say, “I know he’s no good for me.” But he knows how to push your emotional buttons to make you feel loved and wanted and sexy or whatever it is. Then you take him back. It’s good for about 14 days. And then something else happens.

How to Date With Past Childhood Traumas

People are getting in trouble over and over again by falling in love, due to chemistry because chemistry takes you to your past. The brain likes to stay in a state of homeostasis that keeps the body safe. It doesn’t like growth and challenge. It’s like, if I keep doing what I always do, then I’m safe. So the brain will keep attracting you to your past dynamics from your parental home.

Cuteness and sexiness wear off. When you’re married to a liar or a cheater, they’re no longer that attractive. So people are looking for the icing on the cake, not the substance, the cake. Cause without the cake, you got nothing. I teach my people to be empowered and intelligent and smart when it comes to dating yet, we date with an open heart and mind.

We are always authentic. We never lie about our age on a dating profile. Why would you do that? Because now you’re starting out a relationship on a lie. Be yourself.

Where to learn more

There’s so much to know and learn from these little tiny nuances, but guess what? They all add up to education, empowerment, feeling good while you’re out there.

Riana’s website: http://rianamilne.com/

There are four free love tests – on Riana’s website. They will teach you a lot. One is a red flag checklist. So if you’re in a relationship and wonder if it’s toxic, you’ll know when you take that test.

Podcast: Lessons in Life & Love Podcast 

If you want to meet with Riana, there’s a discovery session on her website. She says, “I’ll be glad to do a deep do into what you’re struggling with. So at least, you’ll know what is going on and then we’ll start the solutions to fix it.”

Books:

LOVE Beyond Your Dreams; Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve  

LIVE Beyond Your Dreams; From Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose, and Success  

FREE eBook: Why 9 Out of 10 People Struggle in Life & Love; How to Have the Love You Deserve  LINK

How Childhood Trauma Affects Our Relationships