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Stories about Unmet Emotional Needs
Humans have emotional needs, just as we have physical needs. Some of our emotional needs are to feel accepted, appreciated, important, valued, cared about, understood. When we don't feel enough of one of these, we have an "unment emotional need." Here is a list of human emotional needs.
Social problems generally come either directly or indirectly from unmet needs.
Some of these social problems come when basic physical needs are not met. If people are not getting enough to eat, they are likely to rebel. If someone is attacked and their need for physical safety is violated, they can be predicted to attack back.
But most social probems, at least in what we call developed countries, seem to be due to unmet emotional needs. The United States is one example. America is the richest country in history, yet there are enormous social problems. These problems cannot be attributed to a lack of anything material or physical. Some people might say the social problems are caused by a deficit in religious belief, but the growth in church attendance has done little to stop the shootings, drug use and youth sucides.
If it is true then, as we believe, that most social, and interpersonal problems, come from unmet emotional needs, then perhaps one way to make a major social improvement is to address these unmet emotional needs. To begin, we could carefully study our emotional needs. We could attempt to identify them very specifically and determine which are not being met in the current social systems. Then we could begin work on a plan to fill more of these unmet emotional needs.
John Powell, author of Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, believes that unmet emotional needs are one of the two major causes of anxiety. He says the other is supercharged repressed emotions.
American Psychologist Jack Westman asks this question: Why has our unprecedented material wealth not given us emotional or physical security? The answer, may well be that we are failing to meet each other's emotional needs. It is likely that once we learn to fill these emotional needs, we will see a decline in violence, crime, suicide, depression and all forms of unhealthy and anti-social behavior.
Note - Many people believe social problems come from a lack of "discipline" or more specifically, a lack of punishment. Our belief however is that just the opposited is true. The more people are punished, the deeper their unmet emotional needs, thus leading to more social probems in the long run, not less.
See also section on "discipline."
See this list to help learn what our human emotional needs are. When we don't feel enough of one of these, we have an "unment emotional need."
Parents can not give what they do not have. If their emotional needs have not been met by the time they have their children, it will be difficult for them to meet their children's emotional needs. This is just like if they are financially bankrupt, they won't be able to give their children much financial support.
All of these are attempts at making it appear that we are okay, that we are worthy. These fill some of our needs, but neglect many others. When we are behaving in ways that don't address all or enough of our emotional needs, this behavior is ultimately unhealthy for us. Often instead of realizing that we have other unmet needs, we try to compensate for what is missing by seeking more of what we already have enough of. Some needs then become a substitute for the others. But we can never get enough of the substitutes, so we never truly feel emotionally fulfilled.
Here are two exercises to help you identify your own unmet emotional needs.
This a story told by Dr. Dan Edmunds. It especially caught my interest when I read these words, "Gradually as his emotional needs were met..."
Other EQI.org Topics:
|Unmet Emotional Needs as a Cause of
SH - This article talks mostly about separation from the mother, so if just separation and neglect of emotional needs can cause trauma, we can only begin to imagine what emotional abuse by the mother or parents can do to a child or teen. The article was found on weinholds.org/parenting/2010/01/unm.html
Article by Janae B. Weinhold