Breaking the cycle of painful relationships

If your parents mistreated you during your childhood, it’s now time to break the cycle. There is no point allowing the cycle to continue onto the next generation. Sometimes people wonder why their parents did not love them. Research shows, that some parents who struggle to love their own children were mistreated by their parents when growing up. As a result of this, they have passed the pain and emotional baggage onto the next generation and may find it hard to demonstrate love. This experience during childhood could also cause individuals to attract spouses with similar personality tracts as their parents, hoping to be fixed. However, this process only reinforces the negative emotions.

People only do what they know. For example if your grandparent(s) mistreated your parent(s) when they were younger, then your parent(s) may find it hard to show you love. If your childhood has been a painful reminder and you went through a lot of emotional pain, then it now time to break the cycle. You need to ask yourself; if you had struggled with your identity, felt unloved, and insecure when growing, then why would you want to put your children through the same experience?

It is really interesting how some individuals attract the same type of people who mistreat them over and over again. Whether it is abusive relationships or unfaithful, or controlling partners, these negative relationships, all have similar patterns. Sometimes, these individuals do not understand why they keep meeting the same type of spouse. The reality is, if you grow up in an environment where love represented pain, sadness and anxiety then you are more likely to attract people who will reinforce these destructive emotions.

Consequently, if you really want to understand why you may be attracting the wrong type of people, then it is time explore what love represented during your childhood. For instance, if you grew up in an environment where you witnessed your mother being physically abused, then you may be more likely to be drawn to abusive partners, as love represents pain.

Hence, you're unconsciously drawn to people that will cause you pain. It's like magnets. So, what home represented for you is what you're likely to attract, this process keeps the generational cycle going.

But there comes a time when the negative cycle needs to be broken, especially when you have children. After all, if you did not like the way your parents treated you, why do the same thing to your children?

Also, the emotions which manifested during your childhood, if not addressed, could lead to anxiety, addictions, sexual problems, anger issues, low self-esteem and depression.

How to break the cycle.

Learn to appreciate your parents are not perfect and may have experienced negative treatments from their parents, which may seem like the norm for them. Hence, unconsciously they were repeating the cycle, as this was "what home presented”.

Learn to forgive

Not forgiving others, is like drinking poison, as it builds up and causes a lot of painful emotions, such as anger, sadness, bitterness, fear, which could impact the relationships you have with yourself and others. It is not a weakness to forgive people that have hurt you. The fact is, when you don't forgive others, you are unconsciously allowing them to control you. Though the relationship may be distant, the hurt can be so raw within. In addition, you probably spending more time thinking about the painful experiences, when the other person is busy getting on with life.

 Don't look for others to fix, what's broken.

It's never a good idea to look for love from people or things to numb the pain that you have experienced whilst growing up, if you didn't get this  from your parents then only you can, heal the pain. Give yourself what you didn't get from your parents, love, value, nurture, and acceptance.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by Kate Megase MBACP accredited, registered Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

I am a qualified counsellor and I specialise in issues associated with relationships, depression and low self-esteem.… Read more

Written by Kate Megase MBACP accredited, registered Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

Show comments

Find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with relationship issues

All therapists are verified professionals.

Real Stories

More stories

Related Articles

More articles