Category Archives: Relationship Problems Stemming From Childhood Trauma

Many individuals who suffer significant childhood trauma find that they have extreme difficulties forming and maintaining positive relationships with others in adulthood (including being drawn into further abusive relationships). These concise articles explore reasons why early life trauma may have such devastating effects as well as explaining what these effects may be.

Emotional Detachment Disorder And Childhood Trauma

Extreme emotional detachment can operate as an unconscious defense mechanism to help us cope with traumatic experiences including, of course, childhood trauma (such as emotional, sexual and physical abuse). If it is necessary for us to employ this coping mechanism for extended periods of time, it can become a deeply ingrained and pervasive part of our psychological make-up and we may continue to use it to protect ourselves from potential, emotional harm for the rest of our lives.

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Adverse Effects Of Childhood Trauma On Oxytocin And Our Ability To Love


Childhood Trauma, Oxytocin And Our Ability To Love :

We have already seen from articles previously published on this site that there is a link between childhood trauma and the subsequent experience of depression in later life (e.g. click here).

Furthermore, it is now also known, thanks to neuroscientific research, that those who have suffered childhood trauma and have, subsequently, been diagnosed with a depressive illness are at risk of also having suffering

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Childhood Trauma And Revictimization

childhood trauma and revictimization

What Is Meant By Revictimization? :

Revictimization can be defined as harm done to an individual as a result of his/her inability to self-protect. It has also been viewed as an unconscious form of self-harm.

Why Are Survivors Of Traumatic Childhood Abuse At High Risk Of Revictimization?

Survivors of traumatic childhood abuse are at high risk of being revictimized. Indeed, sometimes such individuals seem to actually actively seek out situations within which revictimization is likely to take place (although this is likely to occur on an unconscious level). Why should this be?

Several theories have been advanced

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What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

what is reactive attachment disorder?


REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER may occur when a child is severely neglected where the neglect involves being deprived of close, consistent, stable care and nurturing from those who would normally provide it (i.e. a parent or primary caregiver). For example, a child who is raised in an orphanage in which the child has no sole, main carer, but, instead, a variety of overworked carers who work in shifts would be at increased risk of developing the disorder.

There are two types of REACTIVE ATTACHMENT

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Abandonment Issues


If we were rejected as a child by parents/primary caregivers we are at high risk of growing up into adults with serious abandonment issues. This means we will be hypersensitive to rejection by others, deeply afraid of such rejection and profoundly hurt and distressed when we experience it.

Because we may be preoccupied with, or even obsessed by, the fear of rejection and abandonment we are likely to be constantly on ‘red alert’, looking for the smallest signs that someone may reject

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Unrequited Love : Its Link To Childhood Trauma


Do you find you have a tendency to fall in love with those who are very unlikely to reciprocate your love? Or those who are highly likely, sooner or later, to reject you? Or those with whom a relationship would be frankly all but impossible? Or entirely impossible?

Have I ever had such an experience? Well, as our American cousins might say: don’t even go there, dude!  (I learned that expression by watching Breaking Bad and now consider myself bilingual).

But seriously.

If the first

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Core Beliefs: How They Develop And Ruin Our Adult Relationships.

core beliefs

If we had dysfunctional relationships with our parents or primary care-givers as children which caused us to experience traumatic distress it is likely that, as a result, we developed negative core beliefs which now may be seriously detrimental to our adult relationships both in terms of forming and maintaining them.

A core belief is one that is deeply entrenched and one that has a powerful affect on how we view the world, ourselves and others. Importantly, most of

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Childhood Emotional Neglect And Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD)

The Link Between Childhood Emotional Neglect And Avoidant Personality Disorder :

It is thought that about 2-3% of individuals within the U.S. suffer from avoidant personality disorder (AvPD).This disorder can often be linked to childhood emotional neglect.

Those who suffer from the disorder tend to be preoccupied with the faults and failings they perceive in themselves and to exaggerate, in their own minds, these faults and failings (if, indeed, they objectively exist rather than being the imaginings of a self-lacerating personality). To

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PTSD Symptoms : Effect on the PTSD Sufferer’s Intimate Relationships


I have written elsewhere on this site of the connection between the experience of childhood trauma and the later development of complex post traumatic stress syndrome (e.g. click here).

In this article, however, I want to examine how a person’s PTSD symptoms affect the lives of their intimate partners.

Individuals who develop PTSD are likely to undergo extreme

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Childhood Trauma Leading to The Inability to Trust


Do You Have An Inability To Trust?

One of the most harmful legacies of childhood trauma is the survivor’s incapacity to develop trust in others.

When we were children, in the face of abuse, we felt powerless. This may have been because, in our home environment, the parent exercised

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The Process by which our Adult Relationships can be Ruined


As we grow up, we form MENTAL MODELS representing what our relationships with others are like. The term that psychologists often use to refer to such mental models is INTERPERSONAL SCHEMA.

These interpersonal schema develop from early infancy and throughout childhood. Overwhelmingly, the form they take is influenced by the quality of our relationships with our parents/primary caregivers.

Vitally, these interpersonal schema

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Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) Treatments.


As has already been discussed in part 1 and part 2, those suffering from avoidant personality disorder will generally endeavour to avoid social contact with others as a strategy to prevent themselves being rejected and rebuffed. Over time, others become aware of this aloofness, and, frequently, will likewise avoid him/her (this has been termed ‘reciprocal avoidance’).

Worse still, especially if young (at school, for example), s/he may attract the attention of bullies

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Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) Causes

AvPD causes

What Are The Main AvPD Causes?

Evolutionary psychology (the study of why behaviours evolve) explains in part the behaviour of those who suffer from AvPD. Our ancestors developed the ‘fight or flight’ response to things that they feared, and, as individuals with AvPD, at root, fear other people, they can become hostile to others (reflecting the ‘fight’ response), or do their best to avoid others

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Childhood Trauma : Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD). Part 1.

AvPD childhood trauma

If our experiences of relationships in childhood are largely negative and painful, in extreme cases, we may develop social phobia as adults, or, in even more severe cases, avoidant personality disorder (AvPD).

What is AvPD?

APD is similar to generalized social phobia, but of greater intensity. The person who suffers from it tries to avoid social contact due to an underlying fear of being humiliated and rejected.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), which is a reference manual used by psychiatrists

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Types of Relationship Problems The Individual May Experience As A Result Of Childhood Trauma.

high-and -low- functioning-BPD

Childhood Trauma And Adult Relationships :

Early relationships between the parent and child have an enormous impact upon how the child manages relationships throughout later life.

If the child experiences significant difficulties with relating to his/her parents, it often leads to problems with relating to others later on in life.

Secure Attachment :

The developmental psychologist, John Bowlby  proposed that there were, in very broad terms, two types of attachment that the child could form with the parent/s: SECURE ATTACHMENT and INSECURE ATTACHMENT.

Insecure Attachment :


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Overcoming Relationship Difficulties Caused by Childhood Trauma

childhood trauma and relationship difficulties

We have already seen that as survivors of childhood trauma we often find it very difficult to trust others. We may avoid close relationships in order to avoid the possibility of being hurt.

Whilst this can allow us to feel safe from harm, it can also lead to extreme loneliness.

Research shows that without good social support the childhood trauma survivor is much more likely to suffer emotional problems. Having just

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