Deep down, in their unconscious mind, someone can carry numerous unmet developmental needs. But, because they are outside of their conscious awareness, this won’t be something that they are aware of.

However, even though this is the case, it doesn’t mean that these needs will lie dormant and won’t have an effect on their life. No, from behind the scenes, so to speak, these needs will shape their life.

One part

One thing that can occur, as a result of them carrying these unmet developmental needs, is that they can be extremely driven. Practically from the moment that they wake up, then, until the moment they go to bed, they can be on the go.

Now, if they lived in a society that typically understood the impact that unmet developmental needs have, they could be encouraged to look into why they behave in this way. Yet, as they are likely to live in a society that doesn’t even acknowledge these needs let alone the impact that they can have, this is unlikely to occur.

The Norm

Additionally, being extremely driven is largely seen as a sign that someone has ‘high’ self-esteem and values themselves. Moreover, they can be seen as grabbing life by the horns and not wasting their life.

It can be as though there are only two options; either someone is more or less always on the go, or they don’t do anything and are lazy. Consequently, as opposed to their behaviour being seen as a sign that something might not be right, it is likely to be seen as a sign that they are living in the right way.

An Escape

But, behind their drive, will be the need to avoid coming into contact with unmet needs and the pain that goes with them. Still, if they were to slow down, they probably wouldn’t come into contact with this material.

What is likely to happen is that they would simply feel agitated and have the need to do something. If so, this will show that they will be well-defended against what is going on for them at a deeper level.

Releasing Tension

If they were not well-defended, what is repressed inside them would rise up and end up overwhelming them. Therefore, the defences that they have in place - with these being both mental and physical defences - will be allowing them to keep it together and function.

What they will be able to do, by taking action and being on the go, is to release the tension that accumulates inside them as a result of carrying these unmet needs and this pain. With this in mind, spending so much time on the go will take its toll on them, but it will also serve as a kind of pressure valve that allows them to function.

The Other Part

Along with what they will be unconsciously trying to avoid by being in this way, there will also be what they are trying to receive. When it comes to what they are trying to receive, it will be the love that they missed out on during their formative years.

This stage of their life is then likely to have been a time when one or both of their parents were emotionally unavailable and lacked the ability to truly be there for them. Subsequently, they wouldn’t have received the love that they needed to grow and develop in the right way.

One Scenario

Of course, this stage of their life is over and this means that it is too late for them to receive this love. However, as these needs and the pain that they experienced by not being loved were repressed at this stage, they won’t be aware of these needs let alone realise that they can’t be met.

Taking this into account, in order for them to wake up and be aware of what is going on, something significant might need to take place. For example, this could be a serious illness or them no longer having the energy to behave in this way.

A New Relationship

After something significant has taken place and they are no longer able or willing to behave in the same way, it will give them the opportunity to reconnect with themselves. By looking into how they behave and exploring how they feel, either by themselves or with external support, they could gradually reconnect to their unmet developmental needs and a lot of pain.

This can be a time when they will feel like a powerless and dependent child, toddler or infant. They can then have the need to be held, touched, looked at, and protected, and feel alone, helpless, unloved, unwanted and hurt.

A Strange Time

At this point, it could be as though they have gone back in time and are no longer an adult. Parts of themselves that had been held inside their unconscious mind, that have now entered their conscious awareness, are going to want to receive what was not available all those years ago.

These parts won’t want to accept that this stage is over and that these needs will never be met. Ultimately, these needs had to be repressed at this stage as it was too much for them to accept the reality of the situation - that they wouldn’t be loved - and it will take time for them to accept this now.

Moving Forward

Fortunately, as they are now an adult, they have the ability to reach out for external support. Facing this pain and working through it and experiencing these unmet developmental needs 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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