When someone becomes an adult, it will be clear that they are no longer a child. This stage of their life will be over and this will mean that their needs will be different from what they once were.
As a child, they would have been dependent on others; whereas now that they are an adult, this will no longer be the case – they will be interdependent. Another way of looking at this would be to say that they would have needed a lot during this time and wouldn’t have been able to give much in return, but now this will have changed.
A Time of Receiving
Not only would they have needed to be fed and for their basic survival needs to be met, they would have also needed a lot of nurturance. In a way, it would have been as though they had a black hole inside them that couldn’t be filled.
But, as time went by and they continually received the nurturance that they needed, this hole would have gradually been filled. This would have allowed them to experience their second birth, the ‘emotional birth’.
Naturally, their first birth would have been a physical birth and this would have been a time when their physical self came into existence. At this stage, their physical body would have been undeveloped and their emotional self wouldn’t have been developed.
Their physical, inner self would have continued to grow and their emotional, inner self would have grown thanks to what their caregivers did for them. What this illustrates is that one wouldn’t have been born with a sense of self; this had to be developed with the help of others.
A Very Slow Process
As the care that they received, was at the very least, ‘good enough’, they would have developed a sense of self that would enable them to live life as an interdependent adult. Thousands and thousands of loving interactions, year after year, would have been what made this possible.
By having a strong sense of self, it will mean that they will have developed a felt sense of safety, security, personal power and self-love. Additionally, they will have the ability to regulate their own emotions.
Through going through this second birth, they are likely to typically feel whole and complete. Further, their true-self, the part of them that will have been supported throughout their early years, will supply them with the support and encouragement that they need to handle the ups and downs of life.
During the beginning of their life, they would have been an empty vessel but not anymore. The connection to themselves and their inner sense of wholeness will also allow them to deeply connect with others.
Now, even though someone is an adult, it doesn’t mean that they will have all the inner resources that another adult will have. What is taking place externally is then not going to match up with what is going on internally.
If how they feel on the inside was to define their appearance, instead of their actual appearance, they could look like a very small child. Through being this way, not only will they have needed a lot as a child, but they will still need a lot as an adult.
Ultimately, they wouldn’t have received what they needed to receive as a child; the care that they received would have been anything but ‘good enough’. Since this stage of their life, their physical self, and even their intellectual and spiritual self, will have grown yet that could be about as far as it will go.
It then won’t matter that one is no longer a child as they will feel like a child and be about as resourceful a small child due to their level of emotional development. Therefore, just because they didn’t receive what they needed at this stage of their life, it doesn’t mean that they will have grown out of this stage; it simply means that the needs that were not met then will have been carried forward.
An Important Understanding
As an adult, they could judge themselves for what is going on, seeing themselves as weak and incapable, but there will be no need for them to do this. Given what they went through as a child, it is perfectly normal for them to be this way.
They simply didn’t receive what they needed to be able to experience a second birth; the emotional birth that would have allowed them to develop a strong sense of self. Keeping this in mind can make it easier for them to kind to themselves.
A Deeply Traumatic Time
During their formative years, they may have often been left and even when their caregiver was there for them, this person might have rarely been emotionally present. The outcome of this is that the nurturance and attunement that they needed to develop properly wouldn’t have been there on a regular basis, if at all.
To have these experiences, day after day, week after week, year after year, would have been incredibly painful, and to deal with what was going on, they would have had to disconnect from themselves to handle what was going on and to survive. Along with this, they would have had to develop a false-self to function in this environment; this would have been an identity that was created on top of the pain that they were in.
Build On Sand
This false-self won’t have been built on anything solid as they won’t have received the care that they needed to form solid foundations. They won’t have developed a felt sense of safety, security, personal power or self-love.
The ability to regulate their own emotions won't have been developed either and they will be totally out of the touch with the support and encouragement that their true-self would provide. Underneath the false-self that is kept in place, through behaving in a certain way and pleasing others, will be a deep sense of emptiness and a lot of emotional pain and trauma.
If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by 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.