In a nutshell, I know first-hand what it means to and feels like to depend on substances, people, accomplishments, validation, etc. to fill a deep void inside me. And I have experienced the gamut of emotions which come from such dependence – guilt, shame, self-criticalness, need for control, self-righteousness, entitlement, fear, anger, anxiety, depression, sadness, despair, hopelessness – just to name a few. Interestingly, as dependent as I was, I covered that up by being hyper independent in many areas of my life. “I’m fine” or “I’m good” were my staple responses to “How are you?” even when things were really intense. I have been told I have a high tolerance for pain which I used to view as a badge of my strength, but not anymore.
I guess the fear of admitting my core need was more threatening than pretending to be okay when I wasn’t. My core need is to be loved. I know I am not alone in this. The first time I saw that need clearly in therapy, I felt I was drowning internally, in my own head. I guess I had never allowed myself to touch the vulnerability of my core longing and need for love. I could offer many analytical reasons why that is, but I would rather stay with the emotion here. The Eidetic image I saw in therapy was me seeking to be loved by a woman who had become a mother figure to me. In focusing on my desire for love and that woman’s inability to satisfy my need for love, I saw myself as a 4/5-year old girl curled up in a ball in a barren room. That’s how Eidetic images work – they are vivid and can transport us back to an age and a time where feelings are heightened and visceral. That image helped me see and connect my little girl’s (and therefore my) need for love which can now to revealed, acknowledged and worked on. It was very poignant for me to see that my need for love was perfectly natural and beautiful and I had made it wrong because of having felt so unmet and isolated as a child. In time, I also saw how I was putting my need for love on mother fill-ins to help satisfy it. When a core childhood need is unmet and subsequently made wrong and kept in the dark, it is like a forcefield that gets put on other people which leads to messy, co-dependent and unhealthy relationships. I have lived out many of those patterns until I became aware of the script and energy that was underlying my tendencies. And as images of wholeness got ‘unlocked’ within me, I felt more whole complete within allowing the love I am and felt to flow in me and through me, rather than doggedly depending on others to give it to me.