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Unmet Emotional Needs


Social Problems and Unmet Emotional needs

Identifying Our Emotional Needs

Unmet Emotional Needs and Parenting

Some Ways We try to Compensate For Our Unmet Emotional Needs

Core Topics

Respect | Empathy
Caring | Listening

Free EQ for Everybody Book


After living 40+ years in the USA I started asking myself what had gone wrong there. Why was there so much killing, violence, drug use, abuse etc? I decided it wasn't a lack of material things since the USA has an over-abundance of those. It wasn't a lack of food or shelter. So it wasn't a problem with a lack of physical needs.

Nor was it a lack of religion. America is one of the most religious countries in the developed world with something like 90 percent of the people saying they believe in God. Fundamental religions are growing there, yet the problems in America are getting steadily worse.

So I decided the problem must be based in a lack of what I call "unmet emotional needs." Ever since I formed this theory, I have seen abundant evidence to support it. I believe we will begin making rapid progress in improving life on earth when we start to closely examine our emotional needs to help us avoid raising children with many of those needs still unmet as adults.

S. Hein

Social Problems and Unmet Emotional Needs

To summarize my beliefs about unmet emotional needs (UEN's), I will begin with this principle:

Social problems come from unmet needs

Some of these needs are physical, such as food shortages which lead to violence. But most of these problems, in developed countries at least, are due to unmet emotional needs. Therefore, one way to make a major improvement in society is to study our emotional needs, identify them very specifically, determine which are not being met in the current social systems, then come up with a plan to fill more of these unmet emotional needs.

John Powell, author of Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, believes that unmet emotional needs are one of the two major causes of anxiety. He says the other is supercharged repressed emotions.

American Psychologist Jack Westman asks this question: "Why has our unprecedented material wealth not given us emotional or physical security?"

The answer, may well be that we are failing to meet each other's emotional needs. It is likely that once we learn to fill these emotional needs, we will see a decline in violence, crime, suicide, depression and all forms of unhealthy behavior.

Identifying Our Emotional Needs

See this list to help learn what our human emotional needs are. When we don't feel enough of one of these, we have an "unmet emotional need."

Unmet Emotional Needs and Parenting

Parents cannot give what they do not have. If their emotional needs have not been met by the time they have their children, it will be difficult for them to meet their children's emotional needs. This is just like if they are financially bankrupt, they won't be able to give their children much financial support.

Some Ways We Try to Compensate for Our Unmet Emotional Needs

By managing/controlling/manipulating others

By feeling superior to them.

By seeking status, money, fame.

By competing and trying to be the fastest, the smartest, the best, etc.

All of these are attempts at making it appear that we are okay, that we are worthy. These fill some of our needs, but neglect many others. When we are behaving in ways that don't address all or enough of our emotional needs, this behavior is ultimately unhealthy for us. Often instead of realizing that we have other unmet needs, we try to compensate for what is missing by seeking more of what we already have enough of. Some needs then become a substitute for the others. But we can never get enough of the substitutes, so we never truly feel emotionally fulfilled.