How Childhood Abuse Affects Adult Relationships


A women's history of childhood abuse affects her relationships as an adult

Childhood abuse changes your brain, and without treatment, it can affect your relationships throughout adulthood.


Key takeaways:

  • Your childhood gives you a template for future relationships.

  • When you are abused, you don't develop healthy attachments.

  • You learn to fear intimacy.

  • You may become emotionally distant.

  • You could simultaneously crave and fear intimacy.

  • You may use unhealthy communication styles that disregard your and others' needs.

  • You may not be able to trust your partner.

  • Therapy can help you overcome these patterns and create healthy, joyful attachments.


Childhood abuse affects your relationships as an adult. It affects your nervous system, rewires your brain, and shapes how you relate to other people. Abuse during your childhood can disrupt your development and compromise your ability to form healthy attachments.


Even years after it's happened, childhood abuse can influence your relationships. It can affect them in ways that you may not even be aware of because you're engaging in patterns that you've been exposed to throughout your life. That's why it's critical to address childhood abuse – even if you don't want to think about that part of your past.


You can have a relationship that is healthy and joyful, but in a lot of cases, you will need to address your past to get there. Here's what you need to know.


Attachment disruption