Child Abuse: Is Someone Engaging In Repetition Compulsion If They Are Looking For Their Abusive Parents To See Them?
If someone grew up with at least one parent who was unable to truly see them, they are likely to have a strong need to be seen now that they are an adult. In addition to this need, though, they can also have a fear of being seen.
When it comes to their need to be seen, this will relate to their need to have their personal reality acknowledged. This will include their needs, feelings and thoughts and for them to be physically seen.
What this illustrates is that they, like everyone else, have their own experience on this planet. They are then not merely an extension of another person; both their body and their inner world are separate from others.
Of course, they will live on the same planet as everyone else and will be both influenced and have a number of things in common with them. But, although they will be a separate being, this won’t have been something that at least one of their parents will have been able to accept.
To this parent, assuming it was only one parent, they will have been a part of them that wasn’t connected to their body. This would have meant that their needs, feelings and thoughts would have seldom even been acknowledged, let alone dismissed.
Naturally, this would have caused them to feel as though they didn’t exist and that their needs, feelings and thoughts were not important. Their true self is likely to have gone into hiding, with them being forced to create a disconnected, false self.
So, regardless of if their basic needs were met such as their need for food, clothing and somewhere to live, they would have been deprived of the nutrients that they needed to develop a strong sense of self. Ultimately, they were not born with a strong sense of self; this is something that needed to be developed.
Yet, as this is something that could only be developed through receiving the right nutrients, they ended up staying in an underdeveloped state. Their false self would have allowed them to survive but it would have involved them playing a role or a number of different roles that probably had very little to do with who they were.
A Deep Wound
Also, along with losing touch with their true self, they are likely to have experienced a lot of pain during this stage of their life. They are likely to have experienced a lot of anger, rage and hate, and often felt hopeless, helpless and worthless.
Most likely, the only thing that they would have been able to do with this pain was to lose touch with it as they would not have been able to change what was going on. Their brain would have automatically repressed this pain in order to allow them to keep it together and function.
Many, many years will have passed since this stage of their life, but this need, along with others, won’t have disappeared. This is then why they continue to have such a strong need to be seen.
As to why they would also fear being this, this is likely to be the result of what took place when they were given attention. When they were given attention, this may have been a time when they were often criticised, humiliated and/or physically harmed.
The part of them that had a strong need to be seen is then going to be at odds with the part of them that fears being seen. Until this inner conflict starts to be resolved, it is going to be a challenge for them to meet their need to be seen.
Now, if they were to become aware of some of the things that took place during their early years, they could have a strong need to reach out to the parent who was unable to truly see them. They could hope that if they do this and talk about what happened, this parent will acknowledge what they went through.
The Same Old Story
If they were to do this, they may find that this does take place and that what they went through is acknowledged. This parent could be deeply sorry and only too happy to play a key role in what will allow them to heal their wounds.
This is then going to be a time when they will feel seen and heard by the parent who was unable to do this all those years ago. Then again, they could talk about their early experiences and this parent could simply dismiss what they say.
A Painful Time
In this case, what they hope for won’t take place and they could feel deeply hurt. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that they will just accept this and move on as they could continue to try to be seen and heard by them.
This could be something that will go on for weeks, months and even years. At this point, it will be clear that they are, once again, looking for someone to provide them with something that they are unable to give them.
As they were egocentric during their early years, they would have personalised what took place. It was then not that this parent simply couldn’t see them; it was that there was something inherently wrong with them, their needs and feelings were bad and they didn’t deserve to be seen and heard.
Due to the meaning that was made by their underdeveloped brain all those years ago, the child parts inside them will believe that if they keep trying and do the right things, they will finally be seen and heard. But, as this parent couldn’t see them then and is unable to see them now, as a result of their own issues, it won’t matter how hard they try or what they do.
Drawing the Line
Ultimately, the child parts inside them will be causing them to engage in repetition compulsion. In other words, these parts will cause them to experience situations, with both their parent and perhaps others, where they experience a very similar scenario in the hope that this time it will be different.
But, as this parent and others won’t be able to provide them with what they need, the same outcome will be experienced and they will feel deeply hurt once more. For them to let go of this compulsion to be seen and heard by their parent and others, they will need to face the pain, along with their unmet developmental needs, and work through it.
If someone can relate to this and they ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.