Denial – Part 2

How Do I Identity Unmet Needs in My Life?

Many times, our felt needs are far from actual needs.  We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us the difference.  Let’s explore some of the areas where we are prone to experience wounding or brokenness caused by the neglect of legitimate needs:

  • Genuine experience of love. When relationships lack love, they are replaced by codependency and control.
  • Life nurturing and guidance. By not nurturing a child yet expecting him or her to ‘know life’, parents send their children false messages about God-given, legitimate needs.
  • A sense of protection. Children require the safety of healthy boundaries and protection from outside threats.
  • Healthy forms of discipline. Discipline teaches proper boundaries and a sense that their actions have consequences to a child.
  • Nurturing of identity and gender role. This distortion can lead us into many levels of toxic relationships and sexual identity problems.
  • Acceptance as a valuable and precious child. Without this, the root of shame will be planted, and the child will continually try to prove worthiness or will simply give up.
  • The loss of a carefree and fun childhood. Children aren’t meant to carry adult problems.  Children from these families have no understanding of the fun and carefree lifestyle a child was intended to live, and they tend to take life very seriously.
  • The instilling of self-esteem. A healthy self-esteem ensures a child has an accurate and balanced perspective of self.
  • Encouragement. If we never have anyone speak positively into our hearts in childhood, we have believed that nothing about us made us special or worthwhile.

When we’ve had unmet needs in childhood, we must recognize and grieve what we lost.  Today we have new choices.  We don’t have to continue down destructive paths, trying to replace the things we lost or missed.  By grieving over our losses (allowing ourselves to actually feel what we feel), we can move on in a healthy way and ask God to make up for our unmet needs.  If we ignore and stay in denial of those needs, we unknowingly continue trying ineffectively to replace what was lost.

Self reflectionSelf-Examination and Taking Personal Inventory

How do we know if we’re in denial?  How can we assess our unmet needs? Usually, all of us entering into this type of healing work may have many layers of denial.  However, the scope of that denial can range immensely.  That’s why an honest assessment process is necessary.

We must set realistic expectations as we approach an inventory.  At times, God may touch us and give us the ability to feel a supernatural healing instantly.  But often in the healing process, God simply exposes lies that we have accepted as our form of truth.

He takes the truth of His word and makes it a reality within us, so we are walking in the light rather than in the darkness of the deceit and lies we’ve carried.  A lengthy amount of time may be required to completely process the lies and false beliefs.  So be patient – with God, and with yourself.  Whatever your experience has been, be assured that the God who made you and loves you will walk with you through this process!

Breaking Free from Denial

Consider beginning an actual inventory of the issues in your life. Before beginning, spend time in prayer and meditation.  Only God can reveal these things to us, and He must be present for this to be effective.  Visualize yourself going hand-in-hand with Jesus as your guide.  Ask Him to allow you to experience whatever senses are necessary to connect to the event or situation that He knows will move you toward greater wholeness in Him.

  • Ways you have been violated or sinned against. Focus on the actual violation, not the person. It’s important to see and face the violation and the effect it had on your life. 
  • Immoral and sinful behaviors you committed. Try to begin with the earliest memory and work your way forward to recent experiences.  Consider specific, not general acts.
  • Painful and traumatic experiences. These are typically major life issues, such as a parent’s death, divorce, sexual assault, and so on.
  • Relationship patterns. Recall relational patterns so you can understand where unhealthy dynamics exist. Include all-important relationships in the family of origin, and all-important adult relationships.
  • Unmet needs. Explore things you needed and didn’t receive, or things you once had and then lost.  It is important to emotionally connect with these items, and at some point, go through an actual grieving process.

We look back only to emotionally connect with life experiences that had been repressed, disassociated, or not otherwise properly dealt with.  In essence, we must “feel in order to heal.”  Our inability to feel has led us to compulsive or addictive behaviors in the first place.

Now, instead, we face those things we have hidden by learning to embrace and trust the True Comforter, Jesus Christ.  By allowing ourselves to actually feel the pain of our past, we will begin to discover a new understanding of God who loves us infinitely more than we could even comprehend.   He carries our grief.  He is The Healer!

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