Why don’t parents meet their children’s emotional needs? First of all, even the most well-intentioned parents often fail to meet their children’s emotional needs, and, in most cases, emotional wounds have nothing to do with parental love.
Oftentimes, childhood emotional wounds are by-products of parenting style or our parent’s unhealed wounds or family issues, such as financial challenges, divorce, or a family member’s addiction, disease, mental illness or chronic depression.
Although parental judgment, criticism, and comparison to siblings or other children are the most common causes of the worthiness wound, almost any dynamic can set the stage. For instance, when a parent is over-protective or over-controlling, a child may feel disrespected and develop the belief he is unworthy of respect, and he may conclude he is untrustworthy, or when a child is told to be seen but not heard, she may develop the belief she is not worthy to speak, or she may believe she is not important.
In most cases, a child’s emotional wounds deepen over time, and as the child matures into adulthood, the wound matures accordingly; manifesting as problematic relationships, financial concerns, career challenges, and health issues, while also making it difficult to pursue one’s dreams and desires.
Many adult children protect themselves from parental judgment and manipulation by closing their hearts and putting up energetic barriers, but despite the defensive quality of anger and blame, it doesn’t protect us from emotional pain because the shield actually keeps the pain inside while it also prevents healing.
Regardless of age, every time your parents fail to meet your Primary Emotional Need, feelings of disappointment feed unworthiness and often lead to powerlessness.
Do you still need parental approval, acceptance, validation or permission to feel worthy? If so, do you conceal behaviors that don’t meet your parent’s expectations?
This dynamic is quite common in most adults but there is a huge cost involved because whenever you suppress authentic expression in exchange for approval or acceptance, for example, you inadvertently give away your power. In fact, it is impossible to expect your parents to meet your emotional needs and make you feel worthy without giving them your power.
Consequently, the relationship is based on dysfunctional dynamics where you remain a powerless child who is vulnerable to being hurt. Not only does this make you susceptible to parental judgment and criticism, it also makes you vulnerable to manipulation through guilt and obligation.
Although blame is a natural response to powerlessness, it actually tells your subconscious mind that the parent you are blaming has power over you, and, therefore, blame perpetuates more powerlessness. Indeed, you won’t be able to heal your emotional wounds or forgive your parents as long as you blame them for making you feel powerless and unworthy. This is why self-responsibility is the cure, and, in fact, self-responsibility is the only thing that can solve your issues.
Self-responsibility means that you must own your unconditional worth and you must take back your power by releasing the expectation that your parents meet any of your emotional needs, and this also includes releasing the need for apology, acknowledge, or retribution.
Give to yourself what you need from your parents!
As you take responsibility for your life and your choices, you must stop seeking parental permission and emotional support, and, in fact, you don’t even need your parents to believe in you or your dreams. The same reasons your parents didn’t meet your needs in childhood are the same reasons they still don’t. So you can let them off the hook and release all expectations!
Finally, when you know your unconditional worth, and you own your intrinsic power, your parents can’t hurt you emotionally, and, consequently, forgiveness becomes possible.
As dysfunctional dynamics dissolve, it gives way to a new paradigm of relationship based on unconditional worth and self-empowerment. The foundation of this deeper connection is clear boundaries, and, in fact, boundaries can take you from a powerless child to an empowered adult in a heartbeat. Indeed, your personal power is only as strong as your boundaries.