• Loss of a parent – the death of a close family member or a significant person in a child’s life can create trauma if the child is not allowed to grieve or does not receive the care and attention required to work through the grief.
• Abandonment – children that are abandoned with friends, relatives, strangers, or even the other parent can be traumatized very early in life.
• Addicted parents – children that live in homes where they must take care of siblings and even their parents are often traumatized as they feel overwhelmed and helpless.
Attachment Styles and Choosing Partners
Children that experience trauma early in life develop an anxious attachment style, which is sometimes called an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. These people are extremely fearful of being on their own as they obtain their validation and reason in life from being with someone else. Although they believe they need their partner for their identity, they often feel the partner does not care enough.
• Extreme desire to please – these individuals will do anything to win the approval of their emotionally distant partners. This may include staying in physical abuse and toxic relationships.
• Clingy – the need to be physically close to the partner. This can initially seem attractive to some partners, but it quickly becomes overwhelming and smothering.
• Constant communication – in today’s always plugged-in world, this can include constant calling, texting, posting on social media, and even electronically tracking their partner.
• Constant reassurances – there is a constant need for reassurance the relationship is fine. This can become a constant in the relationship.
Tips Identifying Toxic Relationships
It can be difficult to identify the signs of a toxic relationship if your childhood trauma has made it difficult to see the red flags in the relationship. Here are some tips you can use to determine if you are in a relationship with a toxic partner:
• Jealousy – despite ignoring you or being emotionally distant, your partner may be very jealous of your relationships with others.
• Emotionally exhausted – taking responsibility for the happiness of another person while ignoring your own wellbeing is emotionally draining.
• Inability to end the relationship – if you believe you have to be in the relationship for your own happiness, despite being unhappy, and cannot break off the relationship, you may be in a toxic situation.