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Romantic relationships fail as a result of childhood abuse

couple

It’s probably no surprise that people who experience Childhood Emotional Maltreatment (CEM) are more likely to have trouble romantic relationships as an adult. Now we have proof from researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

In two unrelated studies, the doctoral candidate Dana Lassri and Prof. Golan Shahar of BGU’s Department of Psychology looked at the stability and satisfaction of intimate relationships among college students who revealed a history of CEM. The two studies suggest that the emotional abuse endured as a child impacts the fulfillment of future relationship due to self-criticism. Participants all admitted having an extremely strong tendency to self-criticize or bash themselves emotionally and doing so interfered considerably with romantic relationship satisfaction.

They also discovered that the anguish suffered from CEM many times crossed over to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This may be as a result of internalizing behaviors caused by the maltreatment or by a child’s inability to properly comprehend what was happening and put it into a context.

In addition to measuring the effects of CEM, Childhood Maltreatment (CM) was also considered. CM includes sexual and physical abuse, emotional maltreatment and neglect, and is a significant contributor to the dramatic increase in referrals to university counseling centers. CM also creates profound self-criticism causing deleterious effect on personal relationships.

“Over time, this tendency might be consolidated, becoming a defining part of a person’s personality, and ultimately derailing relationships in general and romantic relationship in particular,” stated Lassri.

She believes that this study could just be scratching the surface since behaviors could worsen as an young adult enters more mature adulthood and faces years of frustration with failed romantic relationships.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology

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