Sunday, February 20, 2011

Humans and Need

My grandchildren came to spend the night last night. Our youngest is almost 7 months old. She is a delightful child, but can be very demanding when she knows what she wants. This got me thinking about human behavior.

Last night, I attempted to sleep, but our youngest woke up several times. Each time I met the need and put her back down to sleep. Her needs were necessities to her comfort, a bottle or a clean diaper. It would be ludacrous for anyone to think that I "knew better than she" about her needs. Suppose I took that assumption. I thought she needed to learn a lesson about being so demanding and I refused to meet her needs. What would have happened?

We can only surmise, but would she eventually fall asleep from exhaustion due to crying out from hunger or discomfort? Would it build trust that her needs would be met the next time she felt the hunger pains or the need for a dry diaper? Would I have a different analysis if she were 4 instead of 7 months? What about adults that are emotionally 7 month old? Do I handle them the same way I do my grand-daughter? How much should be taken into consideration in dealing with another human being? Shouldn't aduts become self-aware about their emotional needs, so that these can be acknowledged and then, it would become easier to negotiate relationship?

I think not understanding the hidden desires or needs, so often leads to miscommunication between adults. These needs come from deep longings of the heart, not upfront "facts". These needs may not even be known to the person, themself, and certainly not the person who interacts with them. Adult humans have ways to meet the needs they fear will not be met, and so often it is not a straighforward way. These needs could be "met" throught self-destructive behaviors, such as self-denial, or addictions. And the needs can also be met by some form of manipulation.

Manipulation has its own problems, besides being a demnad, it is also a denial to mutually beneficial relationship. And it undercuts the basis of a healthy trust in relating to the other.

My granddaughter is building trust about the world. Will the world be seen as a "good place" or will it be seen as primarily a bad place. This balck and white childish view is compounded by the way one understands the world through religion, as well. Sometimes these images can be self-defeating because of the stark contrast of "bad versus good". When one is trained to see in black and white, the world doesn't fit and this lack of understanding can lead to simplistic solutions that undercut real problems, and don't meet and address the real needs..

It is hard enought to communicate with healthey individuals, that have had stable backgrounds, because all humans seek their own self-interest, even when it looks like alturism. (there is some kind of "pay-off" that subverts the "costs" upfront). But, when self-interest is submerged under "altruistic concern" or religious "care", it becomes doubly hard to communicate, negotiate and come to terms in the relationship. The manipulator has a lot to loose, at least in their eyes. And they can scape-goat anyone that stands in their way.

No comments: