Childhood Trauma Disguising as Love Languages.

Childhood Trauma Disguising as Love Languages.

Childhood Trauma Disguising as Love Languages.

I have been wondering of recent the correlation between our childhood trauma and our Love Languages. Could our love languages be a product of unresolved childhood trauma or neglect?

While our trauma might be passed, traumatizing experiences tend to linger on with us and become a significant part of our experiences.

Childhood trauma, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.

Learning to process, cope and manage such experiences is part of the childhood developmental process; however, at times, children often get stuck, especially when they have no adult around who can help them process their emotions per time.

Childhood trauma can occur in different forms. Some include physical and psychological abuse, neglect, bullying, domestic violence, kidnapping, rape, death of a loved one, accident, etc.

It is not far-fetched to say people who experienced childhood trauma are more likely to have issues engaging and managing relationships.

More importantly, childhood trauma says much about how we love and want to be loved. Our worldviews are a total of our experiences. What we see or experience goes a long way in what we become, how we do what we become and even why.

Hence, childhood trauma can overwhelmingly impact our emotions. Not understanding this can cause a significant strain on how we handle our relationships.

According to Gary Chapman, there are five love Languages which include

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Gifts
  5. Touch

Most often than not, our love languages are defined by what we lacked as a child. For instance, a child who grew up without the presence of a father and mother would likely tend towards gifts, touch, or quality time as their love language.

Hence, the partner tends to compensate for what they lacked as a child. I tend to believe that what we call love Languages might be what we lacked as a child and are trying to compensate for it.

A deep understanding of this, I believe, will lead to a wholesome relationship. So many of us are insecure. As children, we have gone through hard and terrible times and have not taken time to heal.

This takes a toll on us in one way or the other. Using love Languages as a disguise might seem like a suitable escape mechanism, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

Now, I am not against love Languages. On the contrary, I love the idea behind it, but I think it might be doing more harm than good because it doesn’t help us discover our true selves; instead, it conceals them.

We all should enjoy any and every one of these languages in our relationships. Who doesn’t want words of affirmations, gifts, quality time, etc.? We all do!

But what the idea of having a love language does is that it makes us think that one is just enough as long as it satisfies our deep longing at every point in time. We then begin to see people from a single point of view. Meanwhile, all that’s happening is a disguise from the truth.

You did not get gifts as a kid as opposed to other kids, and you think your husband or wife is responsible for filling that hole. No, that’s not a love language anymore. That’s selfishness.

You heard many bad negative words that destroyed your self-esteem, and now, you want your partner to say words of affirmation now and then to you. No, that’s not anything close to a love language but an obsession you need to heal from.

You’ve had a traumatic experience, and you need to heal. We need to stop feeding off others in a bid to cover up our insecurities. Face it! See a therapist! Work on yourself!

You deserve to enjoy all five love languages, not just one of them. That’s what wholesome relationships should be like. Instead, many people want just a tenth of their relationships but are satisfied because they are successfully covering up their insecurities.

Maybe it is time you heal and go on to enjoy a wholesome relationship.

To be continued…

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  1. This is very true and I can relate to it, it’s not only trying to be selfish and wanting your partner to fill in any void that is the only problem, how about getting stuck in a relationship that’s not going to work, because you have seen the very thing that you think was missing in one or both parents, and forgetting other flags you should check.

  2. I think you may be assigning an alternate meaning to the concept of “love languages” that doesn’t quite exist. The theory states that there are types of gestures that each of us tend to find more meaningful than others, but it doesn’t suggest that we ONLY accept this type of gesture and we reject all others.

    If someone WAS limited to only receiving love in a single acceptable form and absolutely could not receive love in any other way, sure, there’s probably something more going on there. But that’s not what the general concept of love languages implies, it’s not that constricted or unforgiving.

    I, for instance, most appreciate acts of service. It is the most impactful for me, not because it’s what I needed most as a child, but because it’s what I need most NOW. I’m a stay at home mom of 5 kids, I’m always overrun with the family’s needs and household duties and just never seem to have enough time in the day.

    Any gesture to take some of that off my plate and ease my burden is really influential to me because it makes such a big difference to my life, but I’m appreciative of all gestures meant to show love. It’s not that I’m indifferent to quality time, or gifts, etc they just don’t impact my life as significantly.

    And it certainly doesn’t say anything about any of my unmet childhood needs. In fact, acts of service were actually a big part of my childhood and I received them regularly. If anything, I received physical touch the absolute least but even that didn’t feel lacking.

    I won’t say there’s NOTHING to this theory, the gaps in childhood needs may indeed have some correlation to adult love languages, but correlation is not causation. It also just doesn’t definitively apply to everyone, it’s not universally applicable. If someone has known trauma from their past, it might be a useful tool to identify what needs to be healed, but it doesn’t redefine what love languages is meant to be.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, LBlinc.

      This is spot on. I believe my artice is just a piece of it all. I am taking more time to research this in a more structured way and I would come back to update this article. Thank you for pointing my way in this direction also

  3. Brilliant this. Never thought of it this way before. I called my situation a Touch Dilenma. How I have this hard to squash need for touch. Naturally, I assume to fix it through a relationship. But maybe, to your point, there’s more to it than that. Is there a way to heal from a lack of touch growing up? What solutions are there to this?
    Things I ask myself now. Thanks for your deep insights.

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