What someone may find is that it is typically a challenge for them to not only listen to their needs but to also fulfil them. In general, they could overlook them and go along with what another person wants and/or what they think they want.

They could find that this is something that just takes place as opposed to something that they consciously choose to do. It can then be as though they are a programmed machine who has very little control over their life.

The Norm

If they were to think about how long this has been going on, they may find that they have behaved in this way for as long as they can remember. Therefore, they could believe that this is just what they are like.

What this will mean is that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about what is going on and they will merely have to put up with it. If they come to this conclusion, they are likely to end up feeling helpless.

Out of Balance

Being this way is going to mean that they will spend a lot of time running on empty but that doesn’t mean that other people will realise this. They could be used to receiving positive feedback from others about how kind and helpful they are.

However, although they might often be this way around others, they are not going to be very kind and helpful towards themselves. They will often neglect and deprive themselves of a lot of the things that they need to truly thrive.

A Mask

But, thanks to how well they cover up what is truly going on for them, the average person is not going to know that they are suffering. Once again, it is unlikely that they will consciously choose to cover up their needs and feelings.

So, regardless of whether one has a few or a number of friends, these people are unlikely to know who they really are. As a result of this, they might not feel close to most of the people in their life.

Drawing the Line

What will be clear is that they will have had enough of living in this way and they will be desperate for their life to change. Now, it is unlikely that this is just what they are like; most likely, they learned to be this way.

This then means that they can change their life; they don’t have to neglect themselves forever. Upon hearing this, they could be filled with hope and start to imagine what their life would be like.

An Exercise

If they were to imagine putting their needs first and living a life that reflects their true self, they could find that they feel good, greatly relieved and grateful. After a while though, their inner experience could go from being very positive, to very negative.

This could be a time when they experience a lot of guilt and shame, and they could have the need to return to how they were before. What this is likely to illustrate is that they won’t just experience a small amount of guilt and shame; they will be overwhelmed by these feelings.

The Message

Putting their needs first and living a life that is in alignment with their true self is then going to be seen as something that is wrong and bad. Ergo, it is not going to be much of a surprise that they have neglected themselves for all this time.

Being there for others and abandoning themselves will be a way for them to avoid a lot of pain. Along with this, they are likely to believe that this is the only way for them to be accepted by their fellow human beings and thus to survive.

A Strange Scenario

They could struggle to understand what is going on at this point; as far are they are concerned, there could be no reason for them to feel this way. How they feel will then be ‘irrational’.

Nonetheless, if they were to take the time to reflect on their early years, they may soon realise why their life is this way and why they have these feelings. If they are unable to remember much about this stage of their life, it could show that their brain has blocked out what took place in order to protect them.

Back In Time

During their early years, they may have had at least one caregiver who often did what they could to make them to feel guilty for having needs. So, if they expressed a need, this caregiver may have ended up crying or looking sad, acted like a helpless child, and/or accused them of being selfish, for instance.

Ultimately, this caregiver, irrespective of what they did, wouldn’t have been able to accept that their child was a separate being who had their own needs. Instead, they would have made their child responsible for their own needs and wellbeing.

Greatly Undermined

In all likelihood, this caregiver was also made to feel responsible for one or both of their caregivers when they were a child. And learned, during their early years, how to be manipulative, with this being a way for them to get some of their needs met from a depriving caregiver.

By being made to feel responsible for their one or both caregivers, it would have caused them to lose touch with their true self – their needs and feelings. Also, they would have been deprived of the nutrients that they needed to be able to grow and develop.

An Important point

Their early years would have caused them to believe that their needs were bad and that they could only survive by neglecting themselves. As in addition to being disproved of when they expressed their needs, they may have also been abandoned.

The truth is that their needs are not bad, and they can survive and thrive by putting their needs first and feel both comfortable and at ease living their own life. But, for them to know this at the core of their being, they will have a number of beliefs to question and emotional wounds to work through.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author of 25 books, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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