Suicide and the unmet need

Updated: Sep 23, 2020


The psychological pain was excruciating. I rocked myself back and forth to the rhythm of the anxiety, I was rocking myself as a baby, but then the pace became faster and desperate. My body was shaking with tears flowing down. This was how my every day went by, coupled with a desperate wish that the pain would end.

Pyschache or psychological ache are the cries of help of someone who may be struggling with the frustration of unmet needs.

Where does this ache begin?

Human beings have a primary need for food, water, and shelter. Once those are met, we are motivated to have our psychological needs met.

These psychological needs are the intangible need for achievement, to affiliate, to dominate, avoid harm, to be loved and succored, to be among others, and the list goes on to about 20 needs.

These unmet needs begin in childhood and the pain of these unmet needs become deep painful voids that we carry on to adulthood. A void that is dark and all-encompassing.

Suicide and the unmet need.

Suicide is a complex phenomenon and is rooted in biology, psychology and environment and the interaction between these elements. Biology means the presence of a medical or mental health condition. Psychology and environment suggest the state of being and the nurturance during childhood. This includes aspects of childhood or adult rejection, disparity between siblings, the feelings of not being loved, and the imbalance between aspiration and achievement. Deeper rooted is an insecurity and instability of the relationship between the suiciding person and the primary caregiver. This is the feeling of being not good enough, or not worthy enough is developed during the early years of the person at risk. This develops into a chronic need and search for love, validation, worthiness which may not be met. There is a quest to meet this need symbolically or magically – in order to escape the pain of rejection that was felt and that left the deep void.

The person with suiciding thoughts and behaviors struggles to complete that void. A focus on having this need met leads to either developing a defense against the unmet need. i.e. If a person's unmet need is love and worthiness, if a person does receive it, they may subconsciously push it away to protect themselves from pain. They retreat inward into isolation or lash out.

Another way of dealing with this unmet need is to cling to persons they may receive love from and fear abandonment.

The fear is deep rooted and gets cemented leading to a constant state of underlying anxiety in many cases. The person finds that they have no control over their lives or the pain. The anxiety is debilitating and can unravel into self destructive behaviors like substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders and mental health conditions. An understanding of this can help a person recognize their unmet need, seek therapy and develop a health journey of self compassion.

What was my unmet need?

It was the need to be loved. A need that was unmet from my childhood. A story for a different blog I suppose. With time, I denied myself this need, forced myself to believe I did not need love and above all that I was better off without it. It hurt too much. I had an unmet need, I ignored it and began to push the need away. Each time love came toward me, I pushed it away, went inward and isolated myself from the person/people/the world. With the research I did, I realized I was not alone. The belief that one is unloved, undeserving of love leaves a human hurting. A hurt, that is so excruciating. A hurt that isolates. A hurt that develops deep shame. Therapy helped me understand my needs and to learn to nurture myself toward a healthier and more compassionate space for myself.


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