Unmet Childhood Needs: Can Someone Spend Their Adult Life Trying To Receive What They Didn’t Receive As A Child?
If someone is an adult, it could be said that their childhood is firmly behind them. Along with looking different, they won’t have the same needs as they had when they were younger.
That doesn’t mean that some of their needs won’t be the same, but a lot of them will be different. With this in mind, what one wants and what they want to achieve will have very little to do with their early years.
When it comes to their job or their career, then, they will do something because it is in alignment with their adult needs. That is, of course, unless they are simply doing something just for the money.
What they do might not fulfil many of their needs, but it might give them the money that they need to survive, for instance. Other than this, they will do something that gives their life meaning, not something that merely pleases other people.
If they are in a relationship, they will be with someone who they actually want to be with; someone who enhances their life and allows them to grow and develop. Being with this person won’t be about pleasing other people or a way for them to fit in.
If they are single, on the other hand, they may have been with someone who was like this, only to grow apart from them. This could now be a stage of their life when they are taking a break and waiting until they feel ready to share their life with someone else.
A Different Reality
However, while there are people out there that experience life in this way, there are people out there that don’t. In this case, someone’s adult life can be a way for them to try to meet their unmet childhood needs.
From the outside, they will look like an adult and it can even seem as though what they are doing is a reflection of their adult needs, yet this will be nothing more than an illusion. And not only can other people be totally unaware of what is going on, one can also be just as unaware of what is going on.
One will believe that what they are doing is a reflection of who they are, but if they were to go deep inside themselves, they would see that it is a way for them to try to receive what they were unable to receive as a child. It won’t matter if they are at the beginning of their life or at the end of their life, as their life will be controlled by a stage of their life that has passed.
What this may show is that their early years were a time when their needs were rarely, if ever, met. Perhaps this was a time when they were abused and/or neglected, which would have meant that they didn’t receive the love, care and attunement that they needed to develop in the right way.
In order for one to become aware of what is taking place so that their adult life can be a reflection of they actually are, they will need to stop what they are doing and to reflect on their life. The trouble is that as they are so caught up in what they are doing, this is unlikely to happen.
For this to happen, something ‘negative’ might have to happen in their life so that they are able to wake up. What could do this is a setback or something that really shakes them up.
A Blessing in Disguise
If something like this was to happen, they could end up wondering what is going on and even feel hopeless for a little short. Nonetheless, it might allow them to take a step back and to look deeply into why they are doing something; that is unless they go back to what they were doing.
They could come to see that the reason something isn’t working is due to the fact that their heart isn’t really in it. Thus, if they were able to make progress or something external hadn’t got in their way, they would have gone down or stayed on the wrong path entirely.
A Closer Look
During this time, they could look into what unmet childhood needs they are trying to fulfil as an adult. This could be a time when they might see that they have a strong need to be accepted, approved of, loved, valued and seen, amongst other things.
The child that they once were will be living inside them, and this part of them will be exerting a lot of control over their life. The adult part of them will see people as just people but to the child part of them, other people will be parental figures; parental figures that can give them what they need.
Trapped In Time
What this shows is that the child part of them has no sense of time, unlike the adult part of them. This is why it doesn’t matter how many years pass; this part of them will continue to see life in the same way.
But, this part of them won’t change by receiving a certain amount of approval or acceptance, for instance, from other adults. This part of them will change by being seen and heard by their adult self and grieving the needs that were not met all those years ago
Said another way, one will need to connect to the child that inside them and to be there for this part of them. Through being there for it and allowing it to express what it wasn’t able to express all those years ago, one will gradually heal their inner child or children (as there is likely to be more than one part inside them).
Another way of looking at this would be to say that one will be re-parenting themselves. As this part of them starts to settle down and one starts to feel more whole and complete, some of their needs will begin to change.
This is a process that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 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.