Basic Needs

I was reading a thread on Quora that discussed the "most unfair advantages a person can have." The list included good looks, operating on less sleep, an optimistic disposition, ability to resist temptation, and lastly, good parents. That was good food for thought, but the commentor who provided the last item included the following quote which I thought was worth sharing and reflecting on: 

"I wanted to emphasize other things necessary for well-being. Recently I've been thinking about this a lot after reading the practictioner's manual for Schema Therapy by Dr. Jeffrey Young.

Anyway, in a nutshell, the theory posits that as people, especially as children there are things we need and if these needs aren't met, we grow up incredibly mal-adjusted and if we get these things, well that's when we grow to be incredibly happy and able to solve our own problems efficiently.

(Sorry I know I am not doing the theory justice)

In a way, it's like Maslow's pyramid, but more on a clinical level.

These needs are: Safety, Stability, Nurturing, Attention, Acceptance, Praise, Empathy, Guidance, Protection, Validation of Feelings & Needs, Enforced Limits, etc

Notice that I didn't put Love as a need because the above needs together constitute love."


I thought it was a pretty good list of basic human needs. The emotional equivalent of the four food groups. Here is a good overview of the theory .

The post encouraged me to reflect on where I might be a little warped as a result of my own past experiences (from all past relationships).  

I found this particular paragraph pretty insightful:

""Rarely, a patient's personal perceived flaws may be intentionally with-held on the inside. When this occurs, instead of showing one's true self, the patient may appear to others as "egotistical", "attention-seeking", selfish, distant, and may exhibit behaviors unlike their true nature. In this mode, the patient might create a narcissistic alter-ego/persona in order to escape or hide the insecurity from others. Due to fear of rejection, of feeling disconnected from their true self and poor self-image, these patients (who truly desire companionship/affection) may end up pushing others away. This rare behavior can also be a self-soothing (yet unhealthy) self-therapy technique. It feeds the "abandoned child" delusion and becomes hazardous in the end."

It does make a lot of sense that we would seek to find whatever we lacked and that it might manifest itself in very warped ways as we grow older. Emotional trauma leads to self doubt. I can definitively say that past break ups have led me to doubt myself in key aspects of my personality.  I know I initially wanted people to tell me that wasn't true but I would often engage in roundabout behavior (a simple way would be fishing for compliments) to get others to tell me it wasn't true. It takes a while to really reclaim any measure of confidence when the source is criticism or dismissal by someone I really care about.

More specifically I also tend to have attention seeking tendencies which are probably a result of growing up (essentially) as an only child in an rural area. 

On a somewhat related note, short list of girls I considered dating, all have good relationships with their parents. They tend to be very well adjusted and consequently I tend to be more stable as well. It would be nice to do that independently, a little more frequently.... I have also, mainly as a result of online dating I have had the opportunity to see all types of people (even if just a few dates) and these vignettes of people have really added to my conviction about the role that parenting plays in the development of a stable and happy human being. I know working on the relationship with my own father was a quite transformative experience (before & after). It just baffles me that I carried around that weight for 25 years needlessly, simply because I was afraid to talk about it. I'd also add that for a long time I showed love towards others in the same way my dad expressed his love towards me. I had simply shared the only form of love I'd known. That being said I always thought he showed it too infrequently, and when he did there was too much left unsaid. Glad we talk more now...