Unmet needs. Feeling cut off at five years old we need something to help soothe us. The job of our parents is to help us regulate our emotions as we are not able to do that for ourselves. They do this by providing structure and by being attuned to our emotional state and helping us with it.
If we had that it would mean that our world around us is safe and secure. We would create healthy relationships with our caretakers, who really represent the entire world for us at that age, and so we wouldn’t need any coping mechanisms.
Most of us don’t get this and so we find ways to help ourselves feel grounded and soothed. These are called coping mechanisms and we’ll cling onto anything that helps us feel better.
This girl in the picture has created a relationship with her teddy bear. She gets what she needs by talking to him and pretending that there is somebody there to see her, understand her and help her feel connected.
She also uses him for touch, to simulate somebody else hugging her so that she can calm down and so that her cortisol level can be managed.
There are many other ways that kids cope with the chaos that they feel inside because the environment around them isn’t nurturing enough. Some children suck on their thumb, or their blanket or turn to toys or TV. Many children do or use those things in a healthy way, to explore and get comfort from, but when it gets to be the only source of solace then becomes a problem.
Actually it’s more of a symptom of what is lacking in her life. As a child that’s all she can do, but as an adult she now has to get her own needs met. This is done by reaching out to the important people in your life and being as honest as you can be while holding yourself for support.
“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”
― Conrad Joseph
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