If someone was to take a step back and to reflect on their own behaviour, they may see that they have the inclination to hide their own needs. They may see that, in general, this is something that just happens.
It is then not going to be something that they always think about doing; it will often take place automatically. Naturally, this is going to mean that a lot of their needs are rarely, if ever, met.
Not Their Own Island
As they are an interdependent human being, they are going to need other people to meet certain needs. There are then going to be the needs that they can take care of and the needs that they can’t take care of.
Through keeping certain needs to themselves, then, they are likely to spend a lot of time ‘running on empty’. They will be like a vehicle that desperately needs attention but does its best to keep going.
The other part of this is that one could have the tendency to hide their needs from themselves. Ergo not only are other people going to struggle to understand what it is that they need, they will also be in the same position.
If they were to look back on their life, they may find that they have often come across as though they are needless. Nonetheless, this won’t have always been something that they did to deceive others; it will have often been a consequence of them being out of touch with their own needs.
Whenever this has taken place, they may have been focused on another person’s needs. Their own needs will have been put to one side and the other person’s needs will have taken centre stage.
By behaving in this way, it may have allowed them to receive a fair amount of approval and to have even met some of their needs indirectly. There is the chance that most of the people in their life see them as being ‘selfless’ and only too happy to be there for them.
But, even if one has often behaved in this way around others, their inner experience will have been very different. If they have done their best to keep their true feelings at bay, they could find that they often feel frustrated and depressed.
The pain of not being there for themselves will have compounded over the years, having a negative impact on them in the process. Still, whenever it has come to their attention, they may have done their best to push it out of their conscious mind.
So, what is going to be normal for someone like this is to overlook their own needs, which means that they are overlooking themselves. Their needs are important, just as important as anyone else’s needs.
With this in mind, it shows that something isn’t right. What they should feel comfortable with is paying attention to their needs and doing what they can to meet them.
A Closer Look
If one does what they can to hide their needs from others and themselves, it is likely to be due to what took place during their early years. This may have been a time when their needs were seldom met.
Instead of having caregivers who provided ‘good enough care’, these people may have often left them and, even when they were around, they might not have been emotionally available. The outcome of this is that they wouldn’t have received the care or the level of attunement that they needed to be able to grow and develop.
The Fall Out
As they were egocentric at this stage of their life, how they were being treated would have been taken personally. It was then not that they were left because their caregivers had their own issues; no, it was because they themselves were bad and worthless.
These experiences would have caused them to develop a shame-based identity and the expression of their needs would have been associated as something that would cause them to be rejected and abandoned. Consequently, disconnecting from this part of them would have been seen as the only way for them to keep their caregivers around and thus, to survive.
Replaying The Past
Many, many years will have passed since this stage of their life, but at a deeper level, being connected to their true-self and expressing their needs will still be seen as a threat to their very survival. Expressing their needs will be seen as something that would cause them to be rejected and abandoned all over again, and for their life to come to an end.
The truth is that not only is what took place is over but that they survived what happened. However, as their body is still carrying the pain of what took place and their mind still has the associations that were formed all those years ago, it won’t be possible for them to know that it’s over.
For them to know, at the core of their being, that what happened is over and to express their needs, they will need to work through this pain and to change these associations. This will partly take place by grieving their unmet childhood needs.
To do this, they may need to reach out for the assistance of a therapist or healer. With their presence and support, one will be able to go where they wouldn’t go by themselves and to process their pain and to change their associations.
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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.