Childhood emotional abuse often leads to self-criticism, which spells trouble for relationships.
People often joke that, despite our best efforts not to, we grow up to mirror the habits and behaviors of our parents. Unfortunately, this age-old concept now stretches even further, and it may be affecting romantic relationships.
It has to do with Childhood Emotional Maltreatment, or CEM, which essentially means emotional abuse. Two separate studies have found that those who have experienced CEM are more likely to have romantic difficulty in their adult lives, thanks to long-lasting self-criticism.
The studies came from the Negev Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University; two researchers examined the quality and stability of romantic relationships among college students with a history of CEM. As stated above, a link was found between CEM and romantic troubles. Most often, the participants had a tendency to cut themselves down or "bash" themselves, which ultimately led to a lack of satisfaction with their relationships. It was also found that the history of CEM led some participants to experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This is bad news for those who have already suffered through a troubled childhood. But it gets even worse: The participants in the aforementioned studies were all college-aged. Researchers believe the behaviors could worsen over time as the self-criticism becomes even more internalized, spelling even more relationship issues, such as divorce, as time progresses.
Unfortunately, researchers didn't look at any potential ways for sufferers of CEM to circumvent these relationship-ruining behaviors, although college counseling centers were mentioned as an outlet for troubled students to vent their frustrations. Anyone who feels a rough childhood may be affecting their ability to love should seek professional help. Until then, hang in there; no matter your upbringing, everyone has the capacity to be loved, and everyone deserves to feel loved in return.
Do you feel as if your upbringing has affected your romantic relationships?
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