Needs Are Non-Negotiable
Growing up in a rough home for many is a reality with few ways out. It’s the hand that was dealt. At a crucial time in a young person’s development, the people they need are not who they need to be. Or they’re not around at all. There are many reasons it happens but it’s more than anyone can manage. Life is hard for both sides. Parents, caregivers, and children. So people do the best with what they have. They adopt logic like “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” When you’re hurt it’s only for a short time. It will heal. It will become tough scar tissue and someday you’ll wear it as a badge of honor. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. It may help someone feel a little better knowing they can benefit in some way by going through terrible things in life, but in the end it’s a net negative. Humans are left damaged. Oftentimes many years after experiencing the initial trauma. Generations of humans have developed this thinking as a coping strategy but it is simply not true. Even the way the quote itself is used is wrong. It’s used in the wrong context. The quote, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger,” was originally used to describe how punishing kids for lying will in the end just make them learn to become better liars. Or sending criminals to jail will only make them become better criminals. The quote's origin did not intend to relay the inspirational connection it carries today. It has simply been twisted into a creative way to cope, justify bad behavior, or not take responsibility because it’s just too hard sometimes. Especially when a person is hurting. But the truth needs to be known. Broken Needs cause trauma. With every passing moment, there are more and more people carrying emotional baggage from their past. The weight of which has become too much to carry.
When peoples Needs are lost, everything goes off the rails. The fight or flight response happens and they will overcompensate with their other needs. There are different names for it but at the foundation it looks a lot like getting sad, mad, and messy. These topics are sensitive. They come with a lot of specializing and diagnosing. It’s a complicated field. To keep it simple the fight or flight response shares many of the same symptoms as anger and depression. And people can get stuck feeling this way
When people's needs are lost things can go off the rials. They can go into a fight or flight response or overcompensate with other needs and lose control. There are different names for it but at the foundation it looks a lot like getting sad, mad, and messy. These topics are sensitive. They come with a lot of specializing and diagnosing. It's a complicated field. To keep it simple the fight or flight response shares many of the same symptoms as anger and depression. And people can get stuck feeling this way
Anger and depression are extremely complicated. Part of the scenario is related to deep mental conditions attributed to a person's biology, but it’s also related to the person's environmental surroundings. Researchers are still unable to answer the Nature, Nurture, or Neighborhood hypothesis. If it’s even preventable. The point is, our needs are non-negotiable and when they are lost, broken, or threatened we will get angry, vigilant, frustrated, mad and rage. Or we will run away, become sad, depressed, shutdown, turn inward, and lose hope. Extreme coping may surface, the individual will begin to focus on the needs they do have control over and become obsessive and controlling. Sometimes swinging from one to another all in the same day. It’s a pattern.
If a person experiences a breakup, separation, or loss they often will express it with sadness, or depression, or turn inward because their Love & Belonging Need is broken.
If a person experiences injustice, inequality, or oppression they will often express it with frustration, anger, or rage because their Transcendence Need is broken.
If a person experiences physical abuse, mental abuse, or neglect, they will often express compulsive and obsessive behavior because their Safety Need is broken.
May Actually Hurt You Later
What’s more, researchers at Brown University found the idea “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is simply false. The team examined 1,160 Chileans in 2003 and 2011 both before and after the six most powerful earthquake on record struck their country in 2010. Before the study, none of the participants had a history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder. After the earthquake, 9.1% of the survivors were diagnosed with PTSD and 14.4% with MDD. Those survivors who also experienced pre-disaster trauma such as injury, loss of a loved one, divorce, or financial struggles (one or more of their Needs broken) were ever higher. Tragedies can happen at anytime in life and it plays an even larger toll when it happens early in life during childhood.
Giving Further Evidence
We come into the world with a few things decided for us. We don’t choose our parents, brothers, sisters, and in most cases how we grow up. For far too many young people home is not a safe place. Research confirms that if a young person had a traumatic childhood they may be more likely to have health problems later in life. The researchers accounted for different types of abuse and neglect and came up with a scoring system. After answering some questions, a score can be tallied. A score higher than a four comes with a warning for potential health problems. This scoring system is called The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scoring system and an individual can determine their personal level of risk based on any childhood trauma they endured. The ACE scoring system gives further evidence people’s Needs are extremely important especially in early childhood.
A Critical Time In Life
The Attachment Cycle
There’s a critical moment in an infant's development when they learn they’re not alone. At this stage they begin to trust. Trust is largely accredited for the development of empathy. It’s called the Attachment Cycle. It goes like this. When a baby cries because they are hungry, the caregiver is alerted, in most cases Mom attends to her baby to cuddle and feed it until her baby is satisfied. The same goes for any of the other basic Needs the infant has, diaper change, need for rest, or interaction. Having their Needs met the baby feels rested, cared for, and safe. The more times the cycle is completed the greater the trust the baby has for their Mother. Over time this most important thing develops, attachment. Attachment gives way to empathy, it is associated with the development of the anterior insular cortex where empathy lives in the brain.
It’s not that people can’t develop empathy throughout life, it’s more that this is the critical way they do. This cycle is crucial to every person having a healthy and happy life. It is the essential ingredient for relationships, friendships, families, and having a loving, caring, understanding society. When we don’t have it we begin to lose our empathy and our humanity.
Of Broken Attachents
Unfortunately many adopted children have experienced multiple broken Needs. The adopting parents and caregivers have good intentions and are committed and loving. However, because the child had their Attachment Cycle broken many times, as infants, the child has learned they can’t trust anyone. The ones they loved the most have hurt them the most. So anyone who takes the role of their caregiver becomes a threat. This distrust carries on through their adulthood and future relationships causing struggles in connecting and forming bonds. Every potential connection is a threat so they push others away before they get close. The risk of being hurt is so much they subconsciously decide to never love again. It’s a flight response to protect whatever is left of the Love and Belonging Need they have. This is called RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Empathy is not something you have because you're naive or weak. It’s necessary for healthy relationships. If love isn’t enough to see the importance of empathy the lack of it may convince you. The lack of empathy is the primary reason a person becomes a narcissistic, sociopath, bully, or even psychopath. When a persons Attachment Cycle is broken over and over they learn they can no longer trust anyone and the world is no longer a safe place. Trust becomes increasingly hard to gain and is easily lost. For some it’s an unfortunate reality causing them to become aggressive, combative, defiant, hostile, or a conspiracist. Even causing them to get stuck in the fight or flight stress response.se.
The Enemy Of Empathy
If you’ve ever been in a fight you know it’s one of the worst experiences a person can have. Adrenaline rushes through your veins, your hands shake, your chest tightens, talking becomes impossible, and your involuntary systems shut down to save energy needed to fight for your life. It is exact the definition of what it means to be stressed. It’s even called a Stress Response. But here’s the most important thing. When it happens the last thing you're thinking about is trusting anyone, caring for anyone, and it’s the farthest thing from love. It is the exact opposite of being empathetic. What’s more is people can go much of their lives this way. Stuck.
Empathy is arguably the greatest asset needed to feel truly human and experience intimacy. What it does in families, relationships and lives is the essential ingredient to a loving, caring, and understanding society. It’s essential. The proof of this is in what happens when we as a society have more and more individuals lacking empathy. It’s a culture of chaos. This is the greatest cost. As a humanity, this is our greatest loss. When we lose the ability to understand, to care for another human because we can’t empathize how the other person feels is a dangerous place to be.
If you’ve ever been in a fight you know it’s one of the worst experiences a person can have. Adrenaline rushes through your veins, your hands shake, chest tightens, talking becomes impossible, and your involuntary sytems shuts down to save energy needed to fight for your life. It is exact the definition of what it means to be stressed. It’s even called a stress response. But here’s the most important thing. When it happens the last thing your thinking about is trusting anyone, caring for anyone, and it’s the farthest thing from love. It is the exact opposite of being empathetic. What’s more is people can much of their lives this way. Stuck.
Empathy is arguably the greatest asset needed to feel truly human and experience intimacy. What it does in families, relationships and lives is the essential ingredient to a loving, caring, and understanding society. It’s essential. And the proof is what happens when we a society doesn’t have empathy. It’s a culture of chaos. This is the greatest cost. As a humanity, this is our greatest loss. When we lose the ability to understand, to care for another human because they we can’t empathize how the other person feels is a dangerous place to be.