Attracting Toxic Relationships without a History of Trauma

Attracting Toxic Relationships without a History of Trauma attracting toxic relationships without a history of trauma
Photo by おにぎり on Unsplash

We often think that people who end up in toxic relationships must have had a lot of bad experiences in their past. But what about those who attract toxic relationships even if their childhood was ‘okay’ and they didn’t experience any major traumas?

One question people often ask me is, “My childhood was fine, my parents took care of me and loved me, but I still attract toxic relationships.” I think there is a misunderstanding here. You don’t have to have gone through a traumatic experience in the past to be in a toxic relationship. There are other things that can make you attract toxic relationships.

In this article, I’m going to explain why you still attract toxic relationships or why you don’t remember your past negative experiences.

1. The Effect of Early Relationships

The first reason is that the early relationships you had, particularly the ones with your caregivers and the adults in your life, shaped your understanding of relationships. These relationships may not have been as ‘traumatic,’ but they taught you valuable lessons about relationships, and you internalized those messages as the norm for how relationships are supposed to be.

They might have taught you that a relationship where one person is overly controlling and the other is overly submissive is normal. When you grow up in that kind of environment, you tend to associate stability in a relationship with control. So, when you find someone who is controlling, you may mistakenly think that they truly love you.

The association of control with love leads you into the territory of toxic relationships, where you are controlled and dominated, while you persevere and comply with their endless demands. This pattern is learned from your past relationships, and as a result, you may normalize it in your future relationships.

When control and domination are intertwined with the concept of love, it distorts your understanding of healthy relationships. If you have experienced such dynamics in the past, especially in intimate relationships, it can shape your beliefs and expectations. You may come to believe that being controlled or dominated is a normal part of love, or that it is an expression of someone caring deeply for you.

Unfortunately, this normalization of toxic behaviors can have a profound impact on your future relationships. Without even realizing it, you may seek out partners who exhibit controlling or dominating tendencies. You may find yourself drawn to situations where you are again subjected to endless demands and have to constantly comply to maintain the relationship. The normalization of control in relationships can prevent you from recognizing and demanding healthier dynamics.

Furthermore, the early relationships we experience in our formative years can inadvertently set a low standard for what we expect and accept in our future relationships. If our early relationships lacked healthy boundaries, respect, and genuine care, we may develop a skewed perception of what constitutes a healthy relationship.

2. Lack of Awareness on Proper Boundaries

Early relationships play a crucial role in shaping our understanding of boundaries. Boundaries serve as the protective limits we establish to maintain our well-being and mental health. During our formative years, if our caregivers failed to teach us about boundaries or neglected to empower us to take responsibility for our own well-being, it can have lasting effects on our ability to establish and maintain healthy boundaries in relationships.

When these foundational lessons are missing, we become more vulnerable to attracting toxic relationships. Toxic relationships often begin when someone disregards or violates our boundaries, taking advantage of our lack of knowledge or confidence in setting clear guidelines for acceptable behavior. Without the necessary understanding of healthy boundaries, we may inadvertently find ourselves in relationships where our needs are consistently overlooked, and our well-being is compromised.

Within these toxic relationships, we may willingly offer numerous chances to the other person, even when their actions consistently harm us. We might be inclined to believe their lies or excuses, as we struggle to discern what is acceptable and what isn’t. Emotional and verbal abuse may be tolerated because we lack the awareness of what constitutes healthy treatment and what is detrimental to our overall well-being.

3. Emotional Neglect

Another aspect is that not experiencing severe abuse doesn’t mean you didn’t experience emotional abuse or any adverse childhood experience which shaped your inner belief system. Trauma is often mistaken as something severe like physical or sexual abuse, but even emotional neglect, such as your parents neglecting your need for validation, attention, or love, can have a profound impact.

If your parents were too busy with work or substituted their lack of presence with gifts, you may associate love with superficial things. When love is expressed through external and superficial means rather than through human connection, you tend to prioritize shallow displays of affection.

Manipulative people take advantage of this vulnerability by showering you with gifts and superficial displays of affection, capitalizing on your lack of a deeper sense of security and love. As a result, you become susceptible to toxic relationships because you have been conditioned to associate love with shallow forms of gratification. This conditioning makes you more susceptible to the allure of temporary bursts of love bombing in the early stages of a toxic relationship, where toxic individuals manipulate and groom you for their own selfish needs.

Furthermore, when your childhood emotional needs for safety and validation weren’t met, it can make you believe that you’re not worthy of love. This belief attracts partners who are emotionally unavailable, confirming your negative self-perception. Your parents may not have known better and unintentionally neglected your emotional needs, but these experiences shaped how you see yourself.

In toxic relationships, these partners may unknowingly or purposely reinforce your negative self-image. They can’t provide the emotional support you need, and you constantly seek their approval to prove your worthiness. It’s important to know that your parents probably didn’t mean to hurt you; they might not have understood how to meet your emotional needs. However, these experiences greatly influenced how you view yourself and what you expect from relationships.

Because of this, it’s difficult to believe that you deserve a loving and fulfilling relationship. Unless you actively work on healing and challenging these negative beliefs, you will continue to attract toxic relationships patterns.

4. Repressed Memories

Additionally, not remembering past traumatic experiences does not imply that you did not go through them. Traumatic memories can be stored in your subconscious mind, hidden from your conscious awareness, as a way of safeguarding yourself from the pain associated with those experiences. These repressed memories have the power to shape your beliefs, emotions, and thoughts, and the negative beliefs that stem from them can influence your tendency to attract toxic relationships.

It is crucial to shift your focus towards your present circumstances, such as understanding boundaries and recognizing your own worthiness of healthy relationships, rather than solely fixating on trying to recall specific events from the past. If you sense that something is amiss in your life or if you find it challenging to uncover the root causes of your issues, it is highly recommended to seek professional help. Remember, traumatic experiences can exist beyond your current awareness, and seeking guidance from trained professionals can aid you in comprehending and healing from their effects.

5. Societal Conditioning and Influences

Society can affect how we end up in toxic relationships. The way people in our society act and what they believe can shape our views on relationships and how we behave in them.

Sometimes, society romanticizes unhealthy relationship behaviors like control or possessiveness. Movies, TV shows, and social media often show toxic relationships as exciting or passionate, making us think that’s how relationships should be. These messages can confuse us and make us think toxic behavior is normal or even good.

Society can also put pressure on us to value certain things, like how we look or what we own. This can make us feel like we need validation from others, even if it means being in a toxic relationship. We might ignore our own boundaries and needs because we want to fit in or be accepted.

Gender roles and expectations in society can also play a part. Traditional ideas about how men and women should behave can lead to imbalances of power in relationships. It can be hard to set boundaries and stand up for ourselves when we feel like we have to conform to these expectations.


In conclusion, sometimes people find themselves in toxic relationships even if they haven’t experienced major traumas in their past. It’s not just about the difficult things they went through. Other factors, like their early relationships and the influence of society, can also play a role.

Understanding these factors is important for breaking free from toxic relationships. It means thinking about ourselves and why we attract these types of relationships. Talking to a professional can be helpful in figuring things out.

Remember, it’s not your fault if you end up in toxic relationships without a history of trauma. By recognizing the reasons behind it and working on ourselves, we can create healthier relationships and a happier life.

Everyone deserves to be in a loving and respectful relationship. By learning from our experiences and making positive changes, we can find the happiness and fulfillment we deserve.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

Share your love
Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

Articles: 844

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *