Childhood patterns; and other advice from Psychologists

In one of the Robert Greene’s book, Laws of Human Nature, he said that people’s “nature” or “character” is formed during our early stages of life, what kind of child-parent relationships they had, did their parents smother them with love and affection, or did their parents neglect the attention they need.

I also read an informational, Korean manhwa about psychology, titled “Dr. Frost”. The protagonist also said that of all the problems that adult people have, more often than not, can be traced back into their earliest stage of childhood; the problems they have right now, are linked to the patterns of parenting back then. Even though the adult right now does not recall anything from his/her childhood, it still have some kind of impact on their personality.

When I stumbled across this Reddit thread, it reinforces my view that childhood problems are not a simple matter to be forgotten or neglected.

The thread’s title is:

[Serious] Psychologists of Reddit, what have you learned from listening to people’s problems and secrets?

It has a [Serious] tag, it means that this thread is monitored more strictly by both human and bot moderators. All sorts of uncivil discussions, jokes, and unhelpful comments are more likely to be deleted. This is a serious thread to be taken seriously by credible people.

Here are some of the best chain of responses:

1. Having relationships to resolve our childhood wounds

by randomtherapistguy – 1.1k points – 1 year ago


I have learnt just how often we find ourselves in relationships which are designed to resolve our childhood wounds.


I am a relationship therapist and always take one full session with a couple to look at their whole family of origin. Very often by the end of that session, the couple themselves are explaining to me (in some way) how they are recreating childhood issues to attempt to resolve them as adults. Its crazy frequent!


smlybright – 160 points – 1 year ago


Are there marriages, in your opinion, that absolutely will not or can not because of their situation be saved? Even if both parties are trying? If so, when you see couples like this, what do you do?


randomtherapistguy – 297 points – 1 year ago


I am wondering if you are asking about a relationship you know of/maybe your own relationship?


Sometimes people become anxious that their relationship is unsalvageable or different from others because of x or y circumstance. Very often, I see relationships like these and feel they are more a symptom of one persons anxiety about being with the other person as opposed to a rule or general set of guidelines about relationships.


To answer your question directly, there will be relationships that are going to be a serious challenge to make work, especially those where both parties are unable to flex and compromise or understand the other persons position. When I see these couples, I am trying to help one or both of the people see this is the true underlying issue, not whatever they think is the issue. e.g – its not that he doesn’t do the dishes or that she is always nagging him.


Where both parties are genuinely trying to resolve differences, build bridges, reach closeness and intimacy/trust, I have seen so many couples really do amazing work and get over massive hurdles and differences.


I hope this answers your question – feel free to elaborate or explain where I am misunderstanding you though!


2. Reminder that we tend to fall into a repeatable “patterns”, and also how to counteract them. Also linked to a good explanatory site about Learned Helplessness.

by petits_doigts – 10.6k points – 1 year ago


Very little about you is original as we’re constantly repeating patterns we’ve learned since childhood. When humans find a solution, no matter how maladaptive it turns out to be in the long run, we stubbornly keep trying it over and over and over… turns out it’s more comfortable to stick with the devil you know than to risk fear, failure and vulnerability by trying it a new way, even if the new way is logically better. The subconscious is a much greater force than most of us can fathom or care to admit.


jane_doe_unchained – 407 points – 1 year ago


Learned Helplessness is a bitch.

scale6 – 646 points – 1 year ago


is there any way of getting out of this cycle?


petits_doigts – 1.7k points – 1 year ago – edited 1 year ago


Willingness to change and a good therapist


  1. Willingness to change is key. Be prepared to face the things you don’t want to face. When attempting change, expect unwelcomed resistance from within yourself and lean into it: there’s so much to learn.
  2. A good therapist: We’re not all cut from the same cloth and one therapist may favour a certain therapeutic approach over another. They all have their merits. Find someone who’s a good fit for you.
  3. Inform yourself. Go beyond what you think you already know. Read books, ask questions, listen to what your body is telling you.
  4. Don’t set out to be the perfect human being (namely because it doesn’t exist). Practice self awareness and always be open to growth. Life gets much easier after that.

3. Hard truths to accept about parenting. Don’t be offended by the harsh words. I know that parenting is hard.

by LustfulGumby – 2.3k points – 1 year ago – a Gold


Having shitty parents will fuck you up for life.


Even if you find a way to have career success…a happy relationship…meet other goals….internally something will be off for you.


And that many of us are one horrific life event away from being a total trainwreck.


Broadway2635 – 83 points – 1 year ago


There is nothing you can do to change your upbringing, but realizing that you’re happiness is no longer dependent, is the key to freedom.

4. Helpful links to turn your life for the better.

WokeUp2 – 7.8k points – 1 year ago – 2 Gold


I was a psychologist in a suburban mental health clinic for 30 years. I began by asking, “How do you want your life to be?” It was amazing how many people had never learned to make reasonable life plans based upon their aptitudes, intelligence and desires etc. Together we’d complete a goal list and visualize how things would look in 5 years. Each element was tweaked until the client was satisfied. From then on he/she was asked to dwell on the image daily and especially when making important decisions. “Will X bring be closer or farther from the image?” Obviously a preponderance of constructive thoughts, words and actions would bring them closer to the life they desired.


Valuable resources include Dr.S.Reiss’ book – “Who Am I?” and the YouTube video “Learning to Flourish and Endure in a Challenging World” (Link below)


Also, people who are too self critical can learn to place their mistakes on a scale from one to ten and judge themselves accordingly.

Many of the dozens of e-mails I’ve received in response to my comment have revealed personal goals so I thought it might be OK if I did the same. I need someone in the media to review my iPhone app “Danger Drill” to help distinguish it among the hundreds of thousands out there. i created it to prepare potential victims to survive mass casualty attacks such as have occurred in Paris, Orlando and London.


If successful I’d be able to create an Android rendition, the platform much more common in Europe where it’s needed most at the moment. I would also update my other app “iAwoke” which won’t run on new iPhones or iPads.


Here are some other resources for those who wish to construct extraordinary lives.

5. Heartwarming response, and personal point of view from a psychologist.

by miareadsit – 5.0k points – 1 year ago – 2 Golds


That people are more decent and more resilient that I had previously thought

That suffering is part of the human condition, and it is not unusual for people to experience depression or anxiety problems at some point in their life


That someone’s distress about their problem doesn’t necessarily correlate with how big that problem objectively looks to others


That in order to benefit from therapy people need to have the humility and curiosity to try something different, to try thinking and behaving differently


That it can be frustrating when someone just uses therapy to talk about themselves but doesn’t make changes in their life, even though they’ve identified that their behavior is dysfunctional and is making others unjustifiably unhappy


That even though this work often makes me crave time away from people, it’s rare to come across a patient I don’t like – everybody has something likeable that makes me feel tender towards them, even if they don’t realise it (and it’s often a quality they’re not particularly aware of)


That if I give my all to every patient, they will probably benefit from feeling that I am totally present, passionate about helping them, and that I understand them and I like them. But if I do all of that for every patient I’ve nothing left over for me and my loved ones, so I’ve learned not to. It’s an uneasy compromise but it’s the only way I can find balance


That life is not fair.

[Serious] Psychologists of Reddit, what have you learned from listening to people’s problems and secrets? from AskReddit

Full thread: