When we are children, we come into a specific environment and are thus socialized in a specific way, so as to conform to that environment and the people in it. But we come in with specific needs. And those needs change over time. Currently, parenting is all over the map with regards to a child’s needs. Some parents do an absolutely terrible job of meeting their child’s needs. Some parents do a good job of meeting their child’s needs. And there are all shades of grey in between. Most adults that are raising and socializing their children today, only recognize and honor SOME needs that the child has and not others. But it is important to know that the further away the structure of human society gets from tribe, the less children’s needs can be met, because people are too under resourced themselves to meet the needs of a child. And two people, much less one, cannot meet all the needs that a child has.
Going back to the process of socialization, to varying degrees, a child learns that certain needs they have are not ok to have and will not be met. To conform to the environment they are born into, they must suppress, deny and disown those certain needs. The problem is, you can’t actually do that. A need will not be denied. All that will happen is that it will become subconscious and you will start to find unconscious ways to meet that need in round-about ways. And find creative ways to force other people to meet the need, even if it is against their best interests.
And this is the current human condition… I can’t admit to this need, so I have to get it in a roundabout way, and entrap others into meeting this need, even if it is against their best interests to do so. Currently, people are operating at a subconscious level and are running around doing this with each other day in and day out. And they are constantly causing conflicts in their relationships because of this.
So that you can grasp this concept, here is a tiny sprinkling of examples.
A woman needs the feeling of support, so she plays the victim.
A person needs to feel secure and thinks that the way they will get it, is if their partner stops doing a certain thing. So, every time their partner does it, this person gives them the silent treatment.
A man needs a sense of brotherhood and belonging. So, he joins a gang.
A woman needs a feeling of love, friendship and validation, so she has a child.
A person needs a positive self-concept, so they get into a relationship with someone dysfunctional and enter the cycle of unhealthy enabling.
A person needs to fit in and get a sense of inclusion, so they let go of their identity and mimic a certain group of people.
A person needs approval and alignment with their family, so they follow in the footsteps of their parents, despite it being in the opposite direction of their passion and purpose.
A person helps a friend because they need a sense of esteem through appreciation.
A person needs significance, so they befriend someone popular.
A person who is alcoholic, needs a sense of family. So, they never recover and never leave rehab because they find this sense of family with the people there.
Let’s go one step deeper. Because they can’t admit to the need they have, they can’t go for their need in a direct way. So, instead, they try to find a situation where they can sneakily get that need met by becoming what another person wants. They advertise to be what that person needs and wants with this unexpressed expectation that the exchange will be their need (that they aren’t even consciously aware of) being met. But because the transaction isn’t overtly expressed and agreed to, that need rarely does get met. And when they don’t get that need met, all hell breaks loose. They suddenly flip. They either flip against the person. Or they simply turn into what they really are, rather than what they advertised themselves to be. In other words, they suddenly aren’t what they advertised to be and suddenly don’t meet the need they advertised that they could meet. And from there, having already entered into the incompatible situation and already created arrangements and attachments that are not easy to untangle from without consequences, they start to create situations that force the person to meet their covert need. And just like that, the cycle of never-ending conflict ensues.
To give you a concrete example of this, Alex needs a relationship where he feels totally free to pursue his own free time and fun. He meets Teagan and in Teagan, he sees a hyper responsible single mother and career woman, who is competent and independent. Alex senses that what Teagan needs is a man to come into her life and provide for her, so not all the responsibility is on her. So, he starts to shower her with gifts and provide for her and hire people to do things to take responsibility off of her plate. He does this with the unexpressed expectation that getting into a relationship with such a stand-alone woman will finally make it so that he can be in a relationship where he can pursue his own free time and fun and where she will make it possible for him to come and go as he pleases. But this is not an expressed transaction. And this is not what Teagan actually needs. She needs a man to come into her life and really live life with her, shouldering responsibilities and being present and reliable every day because he doesn’t want to be anywhere else. Soon, Alex realizes that his need is never going to be met by Teagan. And so, he stops showering her with gifts and he quits his job instead of continuing to provide for her, making her the principal earner for the household. He convinces her to move herself and her child with him to another city which just so happens to be near a great surfing site, so he can surf all the time. And he drops his responsibilities, especially to be present with her, in favor of whatever adventure calls at the time. By doing this, he forces her into the position where like it or not, Alex’s need of being in a relationship where he is pursuing his own free time and fun, is being met in the shadow. Needless to say, Teagan was duped. Their needs are actually in conflict. And their relationship devolves into constant conflicts, until it ends.
This Covert Need Pattern is solved by one very simple thing: Acknowledging your needs and finding direct ways to meet them. Direct ways that are compatible to others, because they are a win-win.
To figure out the need you have, you have to figure out your why. You need to sit down and figure out the WHY behind what you are thinking, saying and doing. What are you getting or what are you wanting to get out of what you are doing? To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Secret to Self-Awareness - Become Aware of The Why.
What makes acknowledging needs hard, is that we often have a great deal of shame about the needs we don’t want to acknowledge. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Self Concept, the Enemy of Awakening. The key to avoiding the absolute pain fest that will inevitably happen as a result of the Covert Need Pattern, is to see that the pain of facing the shame you feel about the need you have, is actually far less for yourself and everyone else that would be involved than the alternative. And to face that fear and lean into the pain of the personal truth of that need.
Humanity needs to get out of this pattern and quickly. The life we actually want and the relationships we actually want (because they are actually compatible to us) are on the other side of being brave enough to acknowledging our needs and find direct, win-win ways to meet them.