What are emotional needs?
Some of us grew up with the message that our emotional needs were too much, that we were too much. That message was wrong.
What are emotional needs? Emotional needs include needs for love, safety, connection, freedom to express emotions, acceptance of who we are, affection, autonomy and play.
Sometimes caregivers are not equipped to “see” their children’s needs as *needs*, let alone to meet those needs. Sometimes children’s needs trigger caregivers’ own unmet needs and the associated defences built to cope with the pain of those unmet needs (e.g., shutting down/avoiding emotion, or limiting emotional closeness in relationships) which can reduce a caregivers’ ability to respond sensitively to their child’s emotions and needs.
Sometimes caregivers’ own instability or emotional dysregulation limits their capacity to be consistently and predictably available and able to meet their child’ needs. Sometimes external factors create family stress that reduces a caregiver’s capacity to meet their children’s needs.
Regardless of the reasons why a caregiver may have difficulty meeting their child’s needs, the outcome is, often, that the child will grow up believing that their emotional needs are wrong, too much, or cannot and will not be met by others. Sometimes these messages are reinforced and perpetuated by the wider social group, schools, the media, and, in adulthood, by intimate partners who are influenced by their own attachment history and upbringing.
The truth is that your emotional needs are not the problem. You need what you need; trust that. But know that some people will be limited in their capacity to meet your emotional needs, and that’s not about you.
Even when someone can’t (or won’t) meet your emotional needs, it doesn’t mean your needs are too much. Needs are needs.
Even when people have not met your emotional needs in the past, it doesn’t mean there aren’t people who can and will now and in the future. Needs are needs.
You’ve got to see that sense of being “too much” for what it is: an internalised message from the past that became a belief that you’ve carried with you into the present. You don’t have to continue to hold onto that.
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