Primates are unusual among mammals. In times of danger or crisis, most mammals run somewhere. We humans tend to run to someone. We need each other, the comfort and support of other individuals and of our chosen tribe or group.
These social needs can be broken down into five areas:
As children, some of us got more of a number of these needs fulfilled than others. Some of us might even have gotten too much of a few of them. One can get smothered in what may have been labeled as “affection,” but might really have been a parent’s reluctance to let go, to “allow” us to become our individual selves. We tend to seek adult partners and grown-up experiences that either reverse or repeat our original experiences.
Awareness is the first step to understanding and growth. The more we understand how our personalities were shaped and formed, the better we can do remedial repairs and build a solid foundation for success as wise, mature, capable, coping adults. This is a never-ending process! Being a life-long learner is a joyous experience with new vistas of opportunity always opening up.
If we find our current relationships rocky or mired in an emotional jungle, it may be because we are unknowingly opening old wounds or re-living old painful experiences.
Reflecting back on how well our 5 A’s were met in our formative years and how well we are receiving and addressing them now (and how well we are doing with the 5 A’s of those close to us) can create fascinating insights into possible paths to emotional peace.
(Source: “Five Things We Cannot Change… and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them,” by David Richo, author of “How to Be An Adult in Relationships.”)