As children we all have three basic needs that when met, they help us to become thriving and resilient adults. The basic need to feel seen, worthy and knowing you matter were taken care of by the amount of attention and power given to you each day by your parents.
If any of these elements were missing from your childhood then as an adult, they keep showing up in your life until you become aware of them and start to take action.
Issues such as anxiety, anger, frustration, a need to people please and an inability to see your talents are typical of adults whose childhood needs were not met. Then, as an adult if you still feel they are not being met, you will be easily triggered in everyday situations.
Let me give you an example, if you were told as a child that children should be seen and not heard, you were probably not encouraged to have an opinion. In fact, if you tried to contribute to a conversation, you were probably silenced with a withering response.
So, if you have children, or a partner, or a boss that you feel doesn’t listen to you, subconsciously that unmet childhood need is being triggered over and over again.
When triggered, the reaction is likely to be anger, frustration and helplessness that has you turning inward wondering why nobody ever listens to you.
However, once you realise what is happening, you can begin to recognise your triggers and accept them for what they are rather than beating yourself up about how you reacted.
Instead, you can begin to consciously parent yourself from a place of understanding rather than mirroring what you have seen and experienced before. A good place to start, is to address your inner dialogue. Instead of criticizing yourself, begin to praise your efforts and notice the things you do well. Remember what you focus on you will find.
Maybe now might be the time to start giving yourself the praise you always wanted to hear as a child. I invite you to write a list of the things you wish your parents had said to you but didn’t, include all the achievements you wish they had acknowledged. It is important to also include your positive attributes that they may have missed.
When looking to identify your triggers, you may need to write out your feelings because they are not always instantly recognisable. I’ve written about expressing your feelings in this way before, you can read about it here.
It’s worth doing this work because being able to recognise your triggers for what they are, unmet childhood needs, rather than people ‘doing’ things to you, is both liberating for you and for whoever may have been in the firing line for your angry reaction.
Adulthood often comes with so much responsibility, whether it is perceived or real, relaxation and playfulness are both essential components of good emotional health.
I suggest bringing all those things that brought you joy as a child back into your life. Maybe you enjoyed colouring, or playing hopscotch, or rounders with your friends or long bike rides, whatever it was, find a way to incorporate it into your life now.
If your childhood lacked positive experiences, reconnecting with your playful side and making time for fun can really help to heal the pain of missing out on what you might have needed as a child.
Remember it’s never too late to heal. By learning to nurture your inner child, you can validate these needs, learn to express emotions in healthy ways, and increase self-compassion and self-love.
Things we can never have too much of💛
If you need help with any of this, please get in touch xx