Unmet Childhood Needs
Emotional support is something which goes hand in hand with the physical needs of a child. Not having this emotional support means the infant will attempt to find an alternative source of nurturing or try to parent themselves from an early age with no role model to learn from.
If a child has become independent from an early age, it might be difficult for her to be open in adulthood for fear of being let down. If the daughter felt emotionally or physically abandoned, she may find herself keeping others at a distance if her needs were not met at a time in her life when she needed nurturance most - she will do whatever she can to keep herself free from harm, real or imagined.
Children need at least one consistent person in their lives to fulfil their most basic needs and this may not always be the mother.
Mothers are nearly always doing the best they can, parenting, working and running a household as well as dealing with life’s unexpected challenges. Many do not mean to push their children away; they are simply busy or preoccupied. However, many daughters have shared with me how they felt discounted and unheard when they were told:
Don’t make a fuss
Be a good girl
I’ll give you something to cry about
Don’t say another word
Words can harm as well as heal and can last a life time. The words we heard as children or indeed the words of affirmation we would have liked to have heard impact our self-identity as well as what we believe we can do, be or have.
What every child ideally needs to hear, instead of the above is:
Talk to me
It’s ok to be upset
I heard you say how you feel and that’s great
I’m here for you
How can we work through this?
I love hearing your words
You are important to me
I love you
I believe in you
I forgive you
I’m proud of you
You must have been practicing you’re almost there
You can do it
I knew you could do it
You’ve got what it takes
You have great ideas
I like how you think
You did it!
Thinking about your own communications with children or indeed in your significant other relationships, do you come across as an encourager or criticiser? Starting today realising the impact of your communications what can you stop doing, start doing or do differenlty to improve the way you react and respond to others?
Suzanne’s Words of Wisdom (Case Study)
‘’I have ruined many a promising relationship when I’ve constantly questioned ‘but what if you leave me’, ‘what if you stop loving me’. It didn’t matter what my partners said or did, I didn’t trust they would stay with me. I realised my belief was my partners would reject me just like my mum did when she gave me up for adoption. I’m pleased I now have the awareness of an adult and how my limiting beliefs from childhood were jeopardising my own relationship success. I still have to catch myself when I project the past into the future but at least now I’m aware of it.’’
Marie’s Words of Wisdom (Case Study)
‘‘I’ve always sacrificed my own needs and plans choosing to prioritise my mother’s. I realise now in my attempt at doing everything she required of me, this was really my attempt to win her love.’’
Unmet childhood needs impact us in many different ways. Being aware of your unmet needs is the first step to healing.
To find out more about healing the mother - daughter wound you're welcome to contact me direct to discuss the range of support programmes open to you or as a starting point you might like to read Mothers and Daughters: The guide to understanding and transforming the relationship with your mother
A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as well as we are meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick - Brené Brown