How Childhood Beliefs Shape Our Adult Relationships
I have often been asked to give talks on mindset, and one of the most fascinating topics is how our childhood beliefs shape our identities. If you missed that discussion on how beliefs create our reality, please go back and take a look at my previous video; it might resonate with you.
Today, I want to talk about how these childhood beliefs continue to influence us, particularly in the realm of relationships. As some of you may know, I specialize in helping clients navigate the complex world of relationships through mindset and astrology. But truth be told, the concept of relationships extends far beyond just romantic ones; it encompasses our connections with friends, family, and even money. Yes, you heard me right – money is, in a way, a relationship too. However, for today’s discussion, let’s focus on our partner relationships, the dynamics with our spouses or significant others, and how those core beliefs from our early years can significantly impact how we manage our adult relationships.
As you might have guessed, many of our relationship patterns are a product of what we witnessed in our parents’ or caretakers’ relationships. As children, we absorb information like sponges – how our parents reacted to each other, what they said, and how they felt when we were around. This is where the foundation of many of our beliefs is laid. But it doesn’t stop there. External influences, like those romantic movies or soap operas we love to hate or hate to love, also shape our notions of what relationships should be like. (I’m looking at you, McDreamy and Grey!)
Here’s the kicker: As children, we make decisions that stick about how we’ll behave in future relationships based on our observations. For instance, we might decide to mimic our mother’s actions because she seems powerful or adopt our father’s behaviours because they feel more relatable. These decisions have a very powerful effect and fuel our thoughts, feelings and actions around how we ‘do’ relationships.
Let’s dive into a real-life example: I have worked with many women who struggled with sharing how they really felt in their previous marriage. They bottled it up and then seethed with resentment until they blew up. This behaviour stemmed from her childhood, where she saw her parents often fight. The whole household felt like a war zone where she longed for peace. After witnessing her parent’s style of conflict, she decided as a child that when she grew up, she would do whatever she could to avoid conflict.
Children who grew up witnessing explosive conflicts between their parents might develop an aversion to conflict. They internalize the notion that conflict is bad, as it can escalate into anger. As adults, this can translate into a reluctance to express their true feelings in their relationships, leading to unresolved issues and communication breakdowns. I have seen so many women feel resentment in their marriage because they sucked up how they really felt instead of finding healthy ways to express and negotiate for change.
These examples illustrate how childhood beliefs can subtly infiltrate our adult relationships, often without conscious awareness. It’s our spouse or partner creating relationship disconnect instead of understanding we were helped set up the relationship dynamic too. Conflict, in my opinion, is not destructive to a relationship if the playing field is evened out, meaning each person consciously walks into a disagreement, ready to communicate from a conscious point of view. In fact, disagreements allow us to gather information that can help us resolve unhealthy patterns and strengthen our relationships.
If any of this resonates with you and you have observed yourself automatically shutting down your voice or reverting to patterns you saw in childhood, the first step to shifting beliefs is to become very observant. I personally write down what I think, feel and react when I feel myself slipping into old behaviours. This will allow you to become conscious, which I call your adult mind. This will ultimately be the mind that leads to change.
If you have questions about how childhood beliefs develop or are interested in learning more about my approach to updating relationship skills please visit www.meganoneill.ca. Feel free to leave your questions or comments; I’d love to continue this conversation.