Lecture 92 – Repressed Needs—Relinquishing Blind Needs—Primary and Secondary Reactions | Abbreviated Version

P1             Basically, there are two kinds of needs: the instinctual needs, and those of the idealized selfimage. Instinctual needs derive from the two basic instincts of self-preservation and procreation. These needs can be healthy and normal. However, if repressed, they will turn into potent forces of destruction. Among the needs of the idealized self are, for instance, the need for glory, the need to triumph, the need to satisfy vanity or pride.

Not only do the superimposed, unhealthy, and artificially created needs of the idealized self create guilt feelings, but just as often the healthy, normal, and legitimate needs of every healthy human being cause equally strong guilt feelings. This is due to the influence of the environment, to mass images, and to mass misconceptions.

P2             As already stated, if your needs are repressed, the urge for gratification becomes much stronger. Awareness will enable you to make a choice: to relinquish one thing in order to eventually obtain what is more rewarding for you. The ability to relinquish indicates maturity. Repression, on the other hand, creating blind needs and their blind pursuit, makes it impossible to see what the issues are.

Only awareness of your needs will enable you to tolerate temporary frustration. You will be capable of relinquishing the urgent pressure for immediate gratification if you keep in mind the farsighted knowledge that postponing the gratification serves the interests of your healthy needs, if not right now, then at a future time.

P3             All neurosis is built around a nucleus of repressed needs and contains the inability to give up certain gratifications. This then causes the neurotic symptoms of helplessness, dependency, inability to make a choice, and of seeing only two equally dissatisfying alternatives. Only as you learn to maturely go about fulfilling the healthy, natural needs, will you become capable of giving up the false needs. However, the actual fulfilment will produce much greater happiness, in spite of its lack of perfection, than the childish fantasies.

Such realism is a consequence of the strength and self-reliance you have acquired on the way, and of the knowledge that your fulfillment is up to you and not up to others. That knowledge will more than compensate you for the difference between reality and illusion. Do not even attempt to forcefully stamp out these false needs. It would do no good. All you can and should do is to become aware of them, while gradually learning to do what is realistic and adequate to fulfill the real needs.

P4             But you will find out, once all this reaches consciousness, that there is no reason to feel contempt for one’s healthy needs. You will see that the real reason for self-contempt is your inner unwillingness to relinquish. Moreover, as you find the subtle point of relinquishing, you will no longer be a slave to your needs, because you are now conscious of them. Furthermore, you can go about finding the best way to bring fulfillment to yourself.

The inability to relinquish is the most basic factor in your feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. The ability to relinquish will give you strength, selfconfidence, and a healthy self-respect that nothing else could give you. And just because this strength develops within, you can first give up the false, distorted, superimposed, artificial needs, and then you can go about doing what is necessary, step by step, to obtain gratification for your real needs. Beware of finding a quick answer as to what the point of relinquishing is.

Do not take a particular surface desire and sacrifice it in the mistaken idea that here you have found it. There will be no doubt in your mind. Most of all, there will be no sense of loss, of giving up something precious. Neither will you feel especially virtuous. You will relinquish it in the full knowledge of what you are doing and why. You will want to do so because you will fully understand that this serves your own interest. Only when such feelings accompany the point of relinquishing have you truly found it. If you relinquish something that is not yours to begin with, you do not sacrifice.

P5             Because, the less enslavement exists, the more one will be capable of having primary reactions. That is, you will react originally and spontaneously to another person or situation if you are not caught in the trap of your own repressed needs with the consequent negative condition. If you are unable to stand frustration, unable to relinquish, because you dare not face an unwelcome reality and cope with it, you cannot be spontaneous.

In a primary reaction, free of the illusion of hoping to bring gratification for repressed needs, you are capable of seeing what actually is. Only the capacity to experience primary, original, direct responses brings out the intuitive reliable picture based on solid ground. It derives from yourself, from your own freedom, from the ability to face and cope with a situation, even if it is against your liking—thus making you capable of relinquishing your illusion.

For example if your need to be liked is so strong that you cannot face the possibility of not being liked, then you are incapable of objectively and freely observing the situation, of finding out what it really is. You dare not allow yourself to like the other person until you are sure you are liked.

P6             If you are free enough to cope with not being liked, you will react spontaneously to that person, uninfluenced by your need. Thus you have relinquished for the sake of truth the pressing need to be liked. The inability to have primary reactions comes from the repression of needs, the clinging to illusion, and the subsequent inability to relinquish the illusion and to see the real situation. Let us suppose you discover a need to gratify your vanity.  

You know perfectly well this is not a life necessity. Or let us suppose you discover a need to triumph over others. One can very well live without that. However, such discovery cannot and should not be used to moralize and force the need away. This would only lead to further repression. Find out why these needs exist. QUESTION: How do you determine which is an artificial need and which is a natural need?

P7             The fulfillment of a false need brings a shallow, temporary, and short-lived gratification, often at the expense of another person, or at the expense of a more urgent need of yours. On the other hand, the fulfillment of a real need produces something constructive for everyone concerned.

—The Pathwork® Guide