When one looks for a relationship, there are emotional needs that one is looking for another person to fulfil within them. These needs can be conscious and known, and they can be unconscious and unknown.
And some of these needs will be possible for another person to fulfil and meet and some of these needs will not be.
The needs that I am talking about include: validation, acceptance, attention and approval. On the surface these needs can appear to be healthy and functional.
However, the desire to have these needs met shows that they are lacking in some way or do not exist in the individual already. And as we are not perfect human beings and neither are we meant to be; it is normal to have needs.
What is important here is to find out what these needs are; if it is possible for another to fulfil these needs and where they are coming from.
The Power Of Needs
The drive to have these needs met is incredible powerful and when these needs are not met it can lead to all kinds of mental and emotional consequences. In the short term this could cause one to feel frustrated and angry. And in the long term this could result in one feeling disempowered and even depressed.
When these needs are perceived as only being able to be fulfilled through other people, it can create dependence, manipulation and desperation.
If one perceives these needs as only being able to be fulfilled through other people; it is natural for one to feel at the mercy others. And then to either control another or to be controlled can seem to be the only options.
The Ego Mind
One of the things that the ego mind does is project onto the outside world what has not been realised and acknowledged within. And this is what happens when it comes to certain emotional needs.
As we can see, these needs appear to exist externally and in the form of other people. But when one is with other person and feels these needs, it is a process that is going inside. With the other person acting like a catalyst or mirror, that allows one to feel these needs being fulfilled.
What then happens is one’s ego mind begins to associate these needs as only being able to be fulfilled through the other person. And ones wellbeing begins to depend on the other person.
This can lead to two scenarios. If the other person ends the relationship it can lead to feeling rejected, abandoned, betrayed and not wanted any more. Or one can end the relationship oneself and find another person that fulfils the needs in the same way.
And in each of these two scenarios one can feel emotional and mental pain. If one cannot observe their internal processes the same cycle is likely to continue. This can happen without one ever questioning where these needs have come from and if it is possible for another to fulfil them.
As these needs are projected externally by the ego mind and then show up in others, it is not easy to observe what is going on. With the emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations and the external reality that these create; it can be extremely difficult to detach from what shows up.
One can then feel trapped by circumstances and enslaved to these needs. But if the ego mind has projected these needs externally, why has this happened?
And if one doesn’t accept or approve of oneself for example; is it possible for another to do these things?
Through observing the processes of the mind and body, one can come to question and answer if this is actually possible.
In order to understand why these have been projected externally one needs to look at their history. And one of the biggest blocks and challenges in looking at ones history is the defence mechanism known as - repression.
Here the past situations that were traumatic and therefore unprocessed remain frozen and stuck in the body. One is unlikely to be aware of this occurrence and all of these memories will influence ones behaviour and perceptions.
It is during ones childhood that these needs first appear and at this stage is it not possible for the child to take care of these needs. Here the child will need to be; mirrored, accepted, validated and soothed by the caregiver.
An in an ideal world this needs would be taken care of; so that the child can grow up to be emotionally and mentally functional and well adjusted. However, this is something that doesn’t always happen and then these needs are partly taken care of or they are completely ignored.
After one has experienced the rejection or invalidation of their needs as a child, one is likely to have repressed these needs. Here one will either look outside for their fulfilment or deny them altogether.
Due to this process going on unconsciously one is often unaware that this process is even taking place. And as an adult one can regress to this earlier stage in their life and take on the role of the inner child.
Because even though one is an adult and therefore has different needs to what a child has; if one regresses to the inner child one can perceive another as a being a parent or a caregiver.
And the only way for the child to have any of its needs taken care of was through another person. It was not possible for the child to take care of these needs. So what the trauma of the past does is associate these needs as coming from another person.
One of the things that relationships can assist with is to mirror all that one has not acknowledged and let go off from their past.
And during the stages of a relationship, one can feel that these needs are finally being taken care of. One can be aware of their inner child here or they may not. But what is clear to see is that although another can be a mirror to processing what happened in the past, they cannot give one what didn’t happen in the past.
The needs that one has during a child are inevitably going to be different to the needs that one has as an adult.
The Past Repeats Itself
And whether these have been processed or not, will go a long way to defining what will happen in ones development. One could end up on an endless cycle of going from one relationship to another and unconsciously searching for those neglected childhood needs.
Being The Observer
When one has identified with their ego mind and merged with the inner child, it can create the illusion that one is missing something within and that these missing parts can only be found through another person. What another person can do, is allow one to realise that they already exist within.
These are perceptions that are coming from the past and unless one can observe the past it will be experienced as present day truth. It is through the observing the mind that one can begin to let go of these illusions, projections and regressions of the ego mind.
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Oliver J R 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.