Now that someone is an adult, they could typically ignore a number of their needs. But, if this is just what is normal, they might not be aware of this.

If so, apart from their basic needs, most if not all of their other needs will seldom be met. To be specific, they can generally take care of their need to sleep, eat, and have the right clothing, for instance, but their need to be seen and heard, receive affection and relax, for instance, could generally be overlooked.

Running on empty

Thanks to this, they are likely to spend a lot of time feeling drained and they could have moments when they are well and truly exhausted. Naturally, not being fully there for themselves is going to take its toll on them.

However, as they are not aware of the fact that they are neglecting themselves, they won’t be able to join the dots, so to speak. Due to this, they could believe that they just suffer from depression.

Missing Out

In reality, what is going on for them will be there to let them know that they need to start paying attention to and meeting certain needs. Until this takes place, the messages are likely to get louder and louder.

But, sooner or later, they might get to the point where they are unable to behave in this way. If this takes place, they might not have the desire nor the energy to ignore themselves.


Anyway, as they are not fully there for themselves, it is likely to mean that they will spend a lot of time being there for others. This is likely to take place without them even thinking about it and be what feels comfortable.

Therefore, although they will be neglecting themselves, they can be used to receiving a lot of positive feedback. The people in their life can give them a lot of support and make out that they are living in the right way as they are ‘selfless’.

Out of Balance

This is likely to show that these people don’t realise that they are neglecting themselves and some if not all of them might not even care. Ergo, some if not all of these people could be consumed by their own needs.

In these relationships, they are going to be giving a lot while receiving very little. They could then be more like a parental figure than a friend.

Drawing the Line

If they were to end up coming to see that they are neglecting themselves, perhaps after they have hit rock bottom, they can come to the conclusion that they can no longer live in this way. Yet, if they were to reconnect to some of their denied needs and merely imagine changing their behaviour, they could feel guilty and ashamed and experience fear and anxiety.

No longer neglecting themselves is going to be seen as something that is wrong and a threat to their survival. Something that should feel comfortable is then going to feel uncomfortable.

A Strange Scenario

At this stage, they can wonder why abandoning themselves is something that feels comfortable. Nonetheless, what is likely to shed light on what is going on is if they take a closer look at what took place during their formative years.

This may have been a time when one or both of their parents were emotionally unavailable and unable to truly be there for them. As a result of this, they are likely to have often been ignored, rejected and perhaps abandoned.

Out of reach

Along with this, they might have often been ignored, criticised and humiliated when they expressed a need. Instead of their parent or parents generally being warm and empathetic, they would have generally been cold and unresponsive.

And, as they were egocentric, it would have caused them to personalise what took place. They would have come to believe that their needs were bad and that they would only be accepted by hiding them.


To handle what was going on, their brain would have repressed how they felt and a number of their needs. This would have caused them to develop a disconnected and externally focused false self.

Most likely, their parent or parents had also been deeply deprived during their formative years. Consequently, they would have looked like adults, but, deep down, they would have felt like needy children.

Another Part

As they were in an underdeveloped state, being around their child, who was needy, would have probably unconsciously reminded them of how needy their parent or parents were. The anger, rage and hate that they had to repress all those years ago would have risen up and been seen as being caused by their child.

Moreover, their needy child would have probably reminded them, at an unconscious level, of the needy child inside them. To keep it together, they would have unconsciously done what they could to make sure that their child only had a few basic needs.

Moving Forward

With this in mind, their parent or parents deprived them as they had been deprived and were unable to face and deal with some of their inner wounds. This shows how what one generation doesn’t deal with is passed on to the next.

For them to gradually change their life, they are likely to have a lot of pain to face and work through and unmet developmental needs to experience. This will take courage and patience and persistence.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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