When core needs go unmet, unhealthy coping mechanisms result. This is natural, because a child needs to keep themselves safe and over time, learns how to get their needs met, however they can. For many people, having needs at all can feel incredibly distressing, especially if you were shamed for having them. If you cried because you fell over and needed comfort and reassurance and heard “Don’t be such a wimp, get on with it” and nobody comes to tend to you. You quickly learn that it is not safe to have needs and there is not much point in trying to get attention, when the attention is so negative.
It can be useful to reflect on what needs were and weren’t met in your childhood and adolescence to provide you with a starting place for your healing work.
Remember, this is not about blame. All parents are people. All people have a history. I like to remember, ‘hurt people, hurt people’. This is about honestly assessing YOUR starting place, discovering what patterns you may need to unlearn over time.
Unlearning is a process. It takes some time and focus, but it CAN be done.
Reference: Farrell, J. M. & Shaw, I, A. (2018). Experiencing Schema Therapy from the Inside Out. The Guildford Press: London, UK.