Your needs are valid.
If you have been impacted by developmental trauma, there are certain core needs for safety and validation of your emerging self that simply went unmet. And they didn’t go anywhere. Your personality and ways of functioning in the world had to develop around them – perhaps over compensate in some way, or pull back and try not to have the needs or put down having needs at all.
These developmental needs might drive behaviours in yourself you don’t like, as you try to live in the world without these needs having been met. Your nervous system and self-identity are ‘incomplete’ and in a constant state of:
- Ignoring the need
- Trying to be bigger than the need
- Trying to numb out from the feeling of the need being unmet
- Coming from a ‘push’ or control energy to try to get the need met
- Focussing too much on meeting the needs of others over your own, because somehow that’s easier to do
The longer you use these strategies, particularly when you’re using them unconsciously, two things will happen:
- You will start to feel more hopeless or despairing, because the strategies don’t really solve the problem of the unmet developmental needs
- The strategies themselves will start to cause problems:
- people may find you ‘clingy’ or ‘needy’ and not want to be around you,
- people might find you pushy or controlling or needing to have the last word and not want to be vulnerable around you
- people might see you as ‘super-human’ and feel like they can’t get close to you
- the stuff you do to numb out becomes a problem habit or an addiction (drink, drugs, spending money, over exercising, controlling eating or over eating, over working, disconnecting from people)
- you become exhausted from the never-ending pit of other people’s problems and don’t learn to recognise and more effectively meet your own needs or invite meeting of them by another
See if you can slow down a moment and notice what your needs are right now. Validate them for yourself – ‘it’s normal and human that I would want or need that’. See if you can kindly acknowledge and validate to yourself what you genuinely need right now – go down through the layers.
Whether this need is being well met now or not, whether you can see a pathway for it to be met or not.
Slow down a moment, take a breath, make contact with your body in some way and allow this need. Make kind, validating contact with it. And perhaps for all the patience and twists and turns and silent agonies your life has taken while this need has not been met,
Acknowledge and love on the need.
rewire 4 life blog
Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.