Relationships and your inner child

When our partner pushes our buttons, he or she may unknowingly be triggering a past childhood wounding.

by Lisa Angelini — 

Many of us are aspiring to have happy, loving relationships. This can become a reality for everyone, but only after we have a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves. However, we sometimes unconsciously carry our wounded inner child into our adult relationships, because we carry what we term “baggage” from past relationships.

When our partner pushes our buttons, he or she may unknowingly be triggering a past childhood wounding. What can we do now about our childhood woundings? We can re-parent our inner child. We do this by loving ourselves unconditionally, nurturing ourselves and engaging in healthy self-care. And, we engage in the daily practice of affirmations and self-esteeming acts.

A primary reason relationships end is our unawareness that we inadvertently trigger each other’s past woundings. We may do this by superimposing our interpretation on our partner’s words or actions without asking for clarification. Or, we overreact to circumstances, feeling frustrated, but unable to identify why. We tend to feel isolated and think our needs are not being met in this relationship — but again, we are unable to identify our needs or explain why or how our needs are not being met.

Two people drawn together in “relationship” can trigger the unhealed parts of themselves. When our partner pushes a button, we must take a moment and think to ourselves, “Hmmm, what is this triggering from my past? Is this an old wounding from my childhood or past relationship?”

This might be a good time to journal, answering the question by writing it out. Explore the feelings that come up for you. Where did those feelings came from? When the source is identified, it’s helpful to have a conversation with your partner. For example, “John, when you said that … it triggered something from my past. May I discuss it with you?” Then, using talking and listening boundaries, the couple can proceed through the issue.

The key is, if we can recognize as we enter a relationship that we will push each others’ buttons at some point, perhaps triggering past woundings, we can work through these past issues and heal them as a couple. In doing so, the relationship will grow and strengthen. Awareness is the key here. Having the knowledge and tools beforehand will make for a much smoother journey.


Lisa Angelini, M.A.P.C., C.A.G.S., C.L.C., is a professional counselor, certified life coach, and Reiki master. She specializes in relationships, dating and communication and holds a Master’s of Professional Counseling degree and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies. 602-330-6378 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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