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HOW CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES IMPACT LOVE STYLES

How a child is raised and loved by their parents will directly impact how they love others in friendship and/or in marriage. It has been said that if you experience lots of affection from your parents at a young age, you will show an intense amount of affection to others. Focus on the Family ministries describes it as this: “For a few of us, our early love lessons were ideal, and our love style is healthy and positive. Most of us, though, had some hurtful experiences resulting in a harmful imprint and impaired love style, and that can handicap our marriage relationship.” So, what is a love style? Love styles are basically imprints put on children by their parents that help to shape their behaviors and responses when they are older and in their own relationships. There are five (5) particular love styles that can negatively affect your love life and marriage. Do you fit into one of these styles?

 

The Avoider

“People with this love style often come from performance-based homes that encourage independence and minimize (even discourage) the expression of feelings or needs, described Focus on the Family. When kids don’t get enough love and nurturing, they become withdrawn and independent. And this behavior continues in adults who avoid showing their emotions and need for others.

 

The Pleaser

Pleasers are those who try to make sure they are always doing good for their parents, attempting to not make their parents angry or upset at them. They are constantly looking to provide comfort for others and their feelings, but the Pleaser does not find comfort for themselves therefore they are always anxious. According to Focus on the Family, “Pleasers avoid conflict and are afraid, to be honest about their feelings. This makes it difficult to address problems.” This fear and need to always please can pose difficulties once that child gets older and is married. They will not communicate their feelings well and their spouse may feel as if the emotions of the Pleaser are always up and down.

 

The Vacillator

This is a love style that shows up in children as lacking focus and emotional connection with others. Vacillators are sporadic and unpredictable and hypersensitive. They want to connect with people and do it intensely, but they also fear rejection, so they push people away who want to love them. The vacillator’s emotions toggle between angry resentment and high expectations. They are never satisfied with what they have, so as adults, it makes it difficult for them to have lasting relationships.

 

The Controller

This is a love style where, as a child, they are controlled by an abuser who makes them a victim. Then, that child grows up to be the controller themselves. Children with controlling parents are always compliant because they don’t want to upset their parents, but inside they resent being a victim to the controlling parent. They then grow up to be controlling people themselves, in their marriage and their friendships, because they fear being a victim again. “Anger is the one safe emotion for controllers because it is intimidating. They often want to be in command because it keeps them from feeling vulnerable or powerless,” says Focus on the Family ministries.

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