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How much would a girl having a bad family life/home situation impact your feelings for her?

I grew up in a really abusive home. Like, extremely abusive. I’m in therapy for PTSD and my related trauma and I don’t feel like it is something you would know if I didn’t tell you, but I guess I am just scared that it will ruin my ability to ever find someone who wants to be with me.

In my last relationship I never thought that my family problems were an issue until after we broke up. Once we broke up, my ex suddenly told me that his family thought I was cold, manipulative, and just generally unfriendly. I was really shocked by this and blindsided honestly because I thought his family liked me and we got along really well. I even asked if he told them about my past and that my behavior was not intentional and he said he had, it just hadn’t changed their opinions at all.

There ARE ways that it definitely impacts me, but I just don’t know how big of a deal that is for a potential significant other. For example, it can take me awhile to warm up/become comfortable with other peoples families simply because I just *don’t know how* to interact with them. My parents were always either screaming at me or ignoring my existence. I would enjoy talking to my exes family, but they could sit and small talk/chat with each other for HOURS at a time. For someone who is not used to parents holding a convo for more than 5 min at a time, this would just exhaust me. I never didn’t want to talk to them or not be around them, but if things were going for awhile I would need some time to recharge.

I also skipped certain family gatherings such as mothers day. My mom is extremely abusive and I don’t speak to her anymore. I don’t like having to answer questions about her because 95% of people end up turning it on ME – “she’s your mom you should talk to her” and it just gets old. I don’t like to lie either and days like mothers day are honestly just hard for me. I went to other events/gatherings as long as I didn’t have a prior commitment.

I guess it is just hard to hear so many people make such a big emphasis on “family over everything” when you don’t have that dynamic. No one asks to be abused, but it still seems like society generally places blame on people who don’t have good relationships with their families. It is hard not to feel ashamed of not having a supportive family.

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So I guess I want to know what others think of someone coming from a bad family and how much it would potentially impact their feelings about that person? (I know absolutely everyone is different and there’s not gonna be a concrete answer)

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17 Comments

  1. The unfortunate truth is that in a vacuum, it would have a negative impact on my likelihood of wanting to have a romantic relationship with them. While I don’t begrudge anyone for their backgrounds or the struggles they have to overcome, if I have the choice of dating someone with issues like this or someone who doesn’t, with all other things being equal, I will always choose the one with fewer issues.

    That being said, people don’t exist in vacuums, so while it wouldn’t be ideal, I would happily date someone with family issues if they were awesome and we were compatible. And that’s not a decision that is made rationally. We don’t choose who we love, so if I fell for someone, I’d love them, for good and for bad.

  2. My wife’s mother was abusive, and her father an enabler – it sounds very similar to your situation growing up. She feels the same ways around my family, and holidays, and societal expectations, as you describe feeling.

    Early in our relationship I was so enamored with the determined, caring person that she was working so hard at being, and I so enjoyed her personality, that I knew it would be ultimately rewarding to spend my life accompanying her on her journey.

    I was right, and when my family didn’t respond well to her (they sort of try, but jeepers) it was completely worth taking a step back from them to build OUR life together. We’re 18 years in, she works as an artist while being for our kids the mom she never had, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

    I’m sure your trauma will affect you for a very long time, and I suppose it’s possible this will make it harder to find a life partner. But you’re doing the work, and I can tell you from experience that it’s absolutely possible you could find someone who will love you the way every person should be loved.

  3. Depends if she is condemning herself to it and how warped her thinking has become. Someone who doesn’t want to better themselves, just isn’t particularly attractive.

    It’s completely dependent on their reaction to it. I’m pretty sure Viktor Frankl said something along those lines in Mans Search for Meaning. A holocaust survivor of Auschwitz…”forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation”

  4. If I’m talking ideally here, this should not affect how someone feels about you at the start of the relationship. You don’t choose your blood relatives and what you went through is not your fault. HOWEVER, this will come out in ways you don’t expect/see during a relationship, but the other person will, which could alter the course of the relationship. They may not say it to you outright.

    Your responsibility is to figure out your own problems/go to therapy/be open about what you’re going through and how you feel during the relationship. This is a talk I had with my current SO (“What are your past traumas? How are you working to move past them?”). I was in an abusive relationship prior to this and my ex took his trauma out on me repeatedly and was never once self aware. After that, I vowed to never deal with someone who wasn’t working on their past traumas.

  5. In my experience crazy gets with crazy. As long as you both know you’re crazy you can do things to mitigate the craziness. My wife and I both had fucked up childhoods for different reasons, and we kinda use those experiences as a map of what NOT to do to our kids, and they seem pretty happy all the time and well adjusted. So I think we are doing a better job than our parents did.

    But we both acknowledged a long time ago that we were both fucked up and a bit crazy so we watch it and remind each other. It’s usually only a problem between us when we bicker sometimes. Oddly, having kids made us both hyper aware of our childhoods, which is something we never really talked about before, and since having kids she seems to have been able to let go of some of the past.

    The whole key to not repeating whatever you abuse you suffered is to realize that you’re capable of that too, if you don’t constantly check yourself and design your life correctly.

  6. I just DMed you about this because it is such a relatable thing, but I also wanted to comment here for those who relate to this and need advice.

    Growing up, my parents abused and ignored me, and as an adult, I found it incredibly awkward to be around other families. All my exes including my current boyfriend come from cookie cutter families that intimate the hell out of me. My current relationship is the first one where I’ve been able to talk to his mother without drowning in anxiety/ptsd from what my own mother did.

    The trick is to accept yourself, accept your past, accept your life, and most of all, to accept the fact that others are not judging you half as hard as you’re judging yourself. I wrote this in my direct message to you, but what really really helped me get along with my current boyfriends mom is thinking of her more as a human than a mother, and asking her questions about herself anytime I felt awkward.

    Trust me, I know how intimidating it is to feel like you’re a burden from a broken home coming into a perfect family. But the truth is, divorce and problematic home lives are so freaking common, and people are much more understanding than you’d think.

    It’s not about what you’ve come from that makes you attractive/not attractive, its about what you do with it all once you’re old enough to live your own life. Remember, its not your fault what happened to you, but its your responsibility to heal.

  7. Since my first girlfriend was also raised in an abusive environment i wanted to comment on this,however i realize that there are certain things to consider, first of all i was an inpatient teenager at least compared to now, we were adults but still very Naive and we both made mistakes.There is no point in going on details of what happened we were both at fault but comparing her to your situation, i can tell that you are dealing with it much better since you acknowledge the problems that you have and try to fix them and personally that’s the only thing i would ever want to ask from some one, to just try.So will it make it more difficult yeah probably but regardless of what problems it would creat in a relationship the fact that you are bettering yourself is far more important.I might not know you however i get the sense that if in the future it pushes someone away it would probably mean that the person would not be good for you regardless,you are getting help you are aware of your problem, in most cases a person that would wont you with out them would also want you despite them.Also communication is key in this situations giving whatever explanation you are comfortable with for some of your behavior might also help but of course that’s up to you its for the most part a private matter and you don’t owe anyone that explanation.

  8. The short of it is this: It is not their fault that one is abused, but it is their fault should they not have said abuse treated. Child experiences make up almost 90% of you, and I don’t like using the word “hurt”, but… that’s what it is. Children with abusive parents tend to abusive people, and if you aren’t abusive, they will think something is wrong, and become the abuser (if they are untreated). Treatment btw, takes YEARS, no bs. If she really means something, she needs treatment to be functional in a healthy relationship (good for doing the therapy on your side too sir), but its not your fault if she doesn’t get better, and its not your job to heal her wounds, as bad as that sounds.

  9. It depends on how much it impacts her and if she’s getting/gotten help.

    I’m not interested in someone who is drowning in problems. I have my own. If she’s put in work to mostly or completely get past it, fine…

    But I’m 37 and only date 40 and up, and I’m not interested in someone who is still processing their trauma, or insists on being in contact with the people who are creating it.

    If it’s in the past, fine. If it’s an ongoing issue or impacts our relationship, pass.

    My SO had some family stuff she mostly worked through years before I met her. That’s cool. The work of processing it and coming into herself are at least partly responsible for the end of her former marriage, so yea…not into people who aren’t the least mostly past their trauma.

  10. Never try to be the fixer, or the white night.

    Damaged goods can be a huge problem, and you need to know how fucked up she is and how much you are able to tolerate not only now, but years from now.

  11. > For example, it can take me awhile to warm up/become comfortable with other peoples families simply because I just *don’t know how* to interact with them. My parents were always either screaming at me or ignoring my existence. I would enjoy talking to my exes family, but they could sit and small talk/chat with each other for HOURS at a time. For someone who is not used to parents holding a convo for more than 5 min at a time, this would just exhaust me. I never didn’t want to talk to them or not be around them, but if things were going for awhile I would need some time to recharge.

    ​

    if this is the only issue, thats not going to impact anything. Some people are introvert and not very talkative thats normal. I don’t understand the manipulative part though?

  12. I still want to start a family, and that kind of experience can definitely impact a person’s willingness and ability to pursue and maintain a family in a healthy way.

    Plus it can have an impact on their ability to have and be in healthy romantic relationships.

    So it’s definitely proceed with caution territory.

  13. The important thing is that you are in therapy and working on your past. That’s already better than doing nothing and is a positive sign for the relationship. I have issues from how my dad was when I was a kid and I know they still affect me and how I interact with people, so I would assume your past affects you in similar ways, even if you do not notice it. it would not affect how I see you but I imagine we would have to work hard to have an effective relationship.

  14. I always date women who came from backgrounds similar to yours. It’s not something I strive for, it just winds up happening.

    I’ve put a lot of thought into why this has been the case for so long, and I believe it’s because I relate better to women with stories like this.

    Likewise, my theory is that in my time with women who don’t come from troubled pasts, we wind up finding each other not interesting enough to justify dating.

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