Every child has real needs—for good feelings, attention, affection and appreciation of its uniqueness. Every child also has an unrealistic desire to be loved, cared for and accepted 100%. But since parents are humans with faults of their own, they cannot always give love maturely, and certainly cannot give 100% devotion as the child desires.

For the immature adult, false needs become demands: to always be loved, never be hurt, and have others be responsible for us.
For the immature adult, false needs become demands: to always be loved, never be hurt, and have others be responsible for us.

So in every little life, there will be the pain of having unmet needs. This pain will be experienced as anger toward the ones the child loves most, which often results in feelings of guilt. When this pain is resisted, these unfelt feelings become stuck in our beings and in our bodies.

Then, as a person grows older, these once-real-needs turn into false needs. Because what was a real need for the child is no longer a real need for the adult. A mature adult is capable of tolerating frustration, of delaying gratification, and of having genuine good feelings, even if they are not liked by everyone.

For the immature adult, these false needs become demands: to always be loved, never be hurt, and have others be responsible for us and our feelings of well-being. But for the adult, getting fulfillment this way is simply not possible. Even if it came to us, it could not provide the happiness we long for, because this is now an inside job. We must come to see that we are the one who can now fulfill our needs.

Spilling the Script: A Concise Guide to Self-Knowing

This resulting lack of gratification leads to the pain of frustration, which in an immature state, cannot be tolerated. Worse yet, this combination of lack of gratification and frustration seems to confirm that we were wrong to even have needs.

We then defend against this pain, using habitual, unconscious strategies that actually cause us to act contrary to our best interest and end up starving the now-buried-real-needs even more.

With part of us disapproving of even having needs, we repress our needs further. This saying No to our real needs is a blindness that disconnects us from ourselves. The result is a feeling of urgency. Urgency is always a blinking light that there is something unconscious that needs to be surfaced. But instead, we often mistake urgency for “proof” of how much we want what we want—which is often to receive 100% love and to be cared for by another.

Our inability to let go of our demand for fulfillment of false needs—to relinquish fulfillment temporarily—creates self-contempt, as we are not able to tolerate the frustration of “not having.” As such, we cannot love and accept ourselves, which leads to lack of self-confidence along with more demand for fulfillment from others.

And we are back where we started, but more lost in a maze of confusion, demands, buried longings and unmet needs.

Spilling the Script: A Concise Guide to Self-Knowing
When we see the vicious circle playing out in the moment, we have the opportunity to make another choice.
When we see the vicious circle playing out in the moment, we have the opportunity to make another choice.

The good news is that there is a way out. It is through the doorway of awareness. At first it will happen only in hindsight, and slowly we will come to see this vicious circle playing out in the moment. And that is when we have the opportunity to make another choice.

If we have not fully experienced our past, we must attract similar experiences later in life. So then, when a hurt, criticism or frustration arises, we need to become aware of the strong reaction taking place in ourselves, and become willing to express the unexperienced residual feelings.

It can also help to bring reason to our emotions by asking ourselves: Is it true that I must perish because I have endured pain? How much am I really hurt by this experience that I believe hurts me?

Real, Healthy Adult Needs

  • Harmony
  • Sexual Pleasure
  • Self-Assertion
  • Independence
  • Success
  • Happiness
  • Fulfillment
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Respect
  • Self-Expression
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Companionship
  • Love

We need to see how our misconceptions about life color our perceptions about others. And they contribute to the way we show up in life, making demands on others that can never be fulfilled:

  • Always needing to be loved and accepted.
  • Never being hurt.
  • Being dependent on others for good feelings.

To experience fulfillment of our real needs, there must be a conscious Yes to less-than-perfect fulfillment. We need to come into reality, seeing that actual fulfillment is not perfect, but it is better than childish fantasy. Then we will see that both giving love and receiving love are two sides of the same coin. That one cannot survive without the other.

We must also learn to relinquish—to be able to wait, to give something up for now—and to be able to tolerate that frustration. Being able to do this creates strength, self-confidence and healthy self-respect, all of which are signs of maturity. These are needed to give up false needs.

As children, we are dependent on our parents. But as we mature, we need to learn to stand on our own. Otherwise we grow up but remain emotionally dependent on something or someone other than oneself, which creates self-alienation. In truth, our ability to experience pleasure and peace does not depend on others.

It is denial of our original pain that creates suffering. Anxiety disappears when we look within for the cause of suffering. This is what it means to take on self-responsibility.

“Do not abandon the longing that comes from the sense that your life could be much more, that you could live without painful tortured confusions, and function on a level of inner resilience, contentment and security.

It is a state of experiencing and expressing deep feelings and blissful pleasure, where you are capable of meeting life without fear because you no longer fear yourself.”

– Pathwork Lecture #204

Learn more in Gems, Chapter 13: Landing our Desires by Letting Go of our Demands.

Spilling the Script: A Concise Guide to Self-Knowing

Humor is a divine quality that fulfills our need for pleasure. Sometimes, however, it gets distorted into sarcasm, cynicism, or in certain ways, irony, using humor as a defense. It is a way to rebel and express the violence and rage in us, giving it a modified outlet. It is as though a tremendous power is only allowed to trickle out in a very ineffective way. But this can put us in a greater problem with the world.

In this remembrance of Eva, included in a small tribute booklet printed after her death in 1979, someone close to her offered this humorous little anecdote, joyfully sharing his light after hers went out:

It is a privilege to have known Eva for twenty-one years, to be so long on the path, and to have had so many conversations with Eva and the Guide. When I met Eva, I was having breakdowns and was possessed by a spirit. The Guide told me how to exorcize the demons.

Before sessions, Eva would dial her own number so that the session would not be interrupted by telephone calls, and then she would put the telephone under a pillow.

One day, I sat down and the Guide started talking to me. Then, I felt a sensation in my ass and I said to the Guide, “Excuse me, but when the spirits speak, they usually come in through my back. This time they come in through my ass. What can I do?”

So the Guide said to me, “My dear son, I assure you that’s not possible, that a spirit could come in through there.” And he told me, “Before you get alarmed, figure out what it is.” He said to me, “Please look around you for what it is.”

So I looked under the pillow and found the telephone.

– Jose Asencio

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