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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Emery

The primal paradox

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

As an emerging earthling, all offspring of whatever species have various biological and emotional needs from their parents. These needs vary from species to species. The human infant is one of the most dependent of all species for the longest period of time and needs complete nurturing and unconditional love and acceptance to mature into a responsible and healthy adult.

Immediately after birth, the neonate needs to be held and cuddled close to the mother’s body while it sucks at the breast. For the first few months it needs to be held and kept close. Some tribes will carry and sleep with their newborn 24/7 for several months. Studies have shown these children grow and mature far quicker than western infants who were taken away from the mother at birth.

The child also needs to be acknowledged, recognised, valued and validated as an individual being to ensure strong and vibrant psychological growth and eventual emotional maturity. It needs to be accepted and loved unconditionally for who it is by both parents. This is no longer viewed as romantic sentiment but as an essential biological need for every child.

The other significant aspect of these needs is that they are ‘stage specific’. Moreover, if those needs are not met at that appropriate time, they remain unfulfilled within the biological system clamouring for attention. They have now been termed unmet needs and form the basis of most modern psychotherapy.

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who first recognised what he called stage specific needs in his seminal work on Cognitive Development in children which focuses on the development of knowledge in young children and the forming of a mental model of their surrounding world. I call this building their worldview.

Each and every one of us has built our own unique and totally different worldview which then becomes the psychological and neurological filters through which we process daily reality. Belief precedes reality.

When needs go unmet in the development of a child, they leave a legacy of psychological trauma which then creates neurotic patterns and faulty belief systems. This is the beginning of your personal paradigm which then determines the patterns and destiny of your life.

The really interesting thing is that once that stage specific time has passed, these inner needs cannot be resolved in the outer world even though most of us spend our lives chasing the fulfillment and resolution of their charge, for they do create an electrical charge in the body which needs to be discharged. This charge creates an impetus and a need to be released which later on in life becomes the basis of all neurotic acting out.

For example, if approval and recognition as an individual in one’s own right is withheld, one will spend one’s life seeking external validation and approval. If one is not loved unconditionally by either or both parents, one will spend one’s life seeking this love. If the natural rewards of success are denied in early development, the individual will spend one’s life seeking fame and fortune.

Unmet needs are the root of that insidious feeling within us all of ‘not good enough’. Most of us then spend our lives striving to ‘become good enough’. Just as we each have our own unique worldview, we each have our own unique not good enough syndrome. Although there are common themes, each one is completely unique, just as we all have common characteristics in our faces, but every face is our own distinctly recognisable, especially by AI.

One of my favourite sayings is that more is never enough. This is the basis of neurotic addictive behaviour, because one simply cannot discharge the unresolved childhood need once that stage specific time has passed. No amount of fame, fortune, recognition, approval, codependency, romantic love and so on will ever suffice or fill the void left by that unmet need. We become the proverbial dog chasing its tail to no avail. This is precisely why so many celebrities and famous people who externally seem to have it all end up either addicts or committing suicide.

We become the victim of our neurotic patterns which is the primal paradox. The more we chase the fulfillment of the unmet need, the greater the trauma becomes and thus the vicious downward spiral pulls us into the vortex of addiction. The more we have, the more we need precisely because more is never enough.

We are caught in the trap of recreating those childhood scenarios in the vain attempt to satisfy those unmet needs, to get what we wanted and needed as a child. Have you ever noticed yourself repeating the same patterns in your life over and over again, especially in intimate relationships and career opportunities. The patterns rule. All of a sudden, that wonderful new love or job that recently held so much promise and hope sours into the same old repetitive nightmare. Once again, you are left disappointed, empty and unfulfilled.

You end up where you began but deeper in the hole. This is the primal paradox. These unmet needs can only be met on the inner planes through self-love and self-acceptance.


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