When one was a child, they had certain needs and wants. And for some people, these would have been met in the majority of cases. This doesn’t mean that one would have needed to have had a caregiver that was always available. As it is unlikely that this would have been possible and not only that, it wouldn’t have been necessary for this to be the case.
Caregivers are only human and therefore they are not perfect; they make mistakes and do things wrong. So what does matter is that they were there enough and met ones needs and wants in most cases; that would be a more realistic expectation when it comes to these early years.
However, even though it would be realistic to have expected that while growing up, it doesn’t always take place. One would have been completely dependent at this age and therefore needed to have experienced consistent care.
And to not receive this from ones caregiver’/s is going to have resulted in different levels of pain during these years. It is unlikely to just end there though; with there being the potential for one to still be in pain many years later.
What can create the illusion that it’s all over, is that people can still develop physically, even if their emotional development has being inhibited in some way.
There will be some people who didn’t get their needs and wants met on the odd occasion. And on the other side of the spectrum, will be people who had to pretty much go without getting their needs met altogether.
But as human beings, we all interpret experiences differently and this is the same when one is growing up. So just because one persons experience of growing up could be labelled as less severe than other for instance, it doesn’t mean that this has made any difference. As how one interprets what happens plays an important role in the whole process.
Physically then, one will grow and take on the appearance of an adult and they could even act like one. They could be someone who is incredibly successful in certain areas of their life, just as they could be the opposite and anything but successful.
The pain one of not getting their early needs met is going to have remained in one’s body, and while it might not be consciously felt, it will still greatly influence what one does or doesn’t do.
One might be someone who is completely in touch with their feelings of the past or they could be someone who has become cut off from them. And these could cause one to feel depressed, lethargic, and empty and that something is missing in their life, amongst others things.
As so much time has passed, one might not connect their present day challenges to what they didn’t get as a child. And as one’s mind has been educated and conditioned since those years, it can make it difficult to get in touch with what happened.
Plus, the mind would have disconnected from what happened as a way to protect itself from pain. So a kind of amnesia could arise, as well as the usual defence’s mechanism, such as, denial, minimisation and projection.
When someone says that one needs to deal with their past, it is only natural that some people are going to think that it’s a waste of time and even a distraction. One outlook could be that: the past is in the past, so why bother with it.
What this doesn’t take into account is the fact the while the past is in the past, the consequences of the past can still be in one’s body and mind. And like the reamins of a house that has fallen down, these things need to be dealt with. If they are not, they will get in the way of what one is creating in the present.
One primary area where one is going to try to get their unmet childhood needs fulfilled and this will often take place unconsciously, is in their intimate relationships. Other people will be looked upon to fulfil these needs and as most of them are unfulfillable and insatiable, there is a strong chance that it will result in yet further pain and a sense of betrayal.
Another person might meet them for a short time and then before long, leave the relationships or just stop being there in the same way. Or one could have turned their backs on intimate relationships altogether; because, to relive their early pain could be far too overwhelming.
If ones caregiver/s were not there, then one might have come to believe that everyone else will be the same. This could have created a kind of learned hopelessness for example. But while it was only learnt and doesn’t represent the truth, it has left a deep wound.
So, as these needs relate to a child and not an adult, it means that it won’t be possible in most cases for another person to meet them. If one is in a conscious relationship with another adult, they could help them to process these needs.
These needs can relate to the following feelings that will have been trapped in one’s body since they were a child: powerless, hopeless, abandoned, rejected, grief, burdened and death, amongst others.
But whether one works with their partner or through a therapist or a healer, these feelings that have stayed trapped in their body will need to be faced and released. The reasons professional support is often so vital here is because one could have a lot of feelings in their body.
And when these are brought to the surface, it could be overwhelming and too much for one to handle by themselves. This is also not going to be something that will happen over night and could take quite some time.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, 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.