The biggest unmet need of this wound is to feel the love, attention, and support of others
With this wound, you have a deep seated fear of abandonment, loneliness, scarcity, and loss.
“I can never get enough.” “Don’t leave me!”
As a result of traumas from early childhood, individuals with this wound experience powerful feelings of deprivation, lack of fulfillment, neediness, and abandonment. There’s a feeling of “not enough” in the system, and a craving for abundance and contentedness.
Individuals with this wound constantly seek fulfillment and well-being through all kinds of activities, though they never seem to actually experience this.
If the emptiness is felt physically in the body, there may be attempts to bring comfort by stuffing the body with food, drink, drugs, alcohol or tobacco. The pattern of unattainable satisfaction can be seen in excesses of all kinds: sex, work, food, activity, talking.
If the deprivation is more emotional, soothing might be sought through shopping, watching television, travel, study, work, playing sports, exercising. Not that these are inherently bad activities ‐ rather, they are being used to try to soothe an inner sense of deprivation (which cannot be soothed in this way).
Another approach is to seek solace directly from other people through relationships. The person with this wound feels dependent, clingy or needy in such relationships, which quickly evokes a reaction of disgust and revulsion.
There is often a permanent worry about the future, leading to a tendency to accumulate, hoard and possess for the sake of self‐preservation against some imagined future scarcity.
The inner sense of being deprived or nourished can cause the body to develop as thin and scrawny. Or the opposite can occur, and the body can be overweight because of the stuffing behavior. A cluttered home or lifestyle can be evident, but there will still be a sense of deprivation rather than abundance.
In relationships there is an unconscious demand that the other person steps up to meet all kinds of needs, leading to behavior that can be demanding, manipulative or (when direct methods don’t work any more) seductive and then blaming of others.
Being in relationship with a person deeply experiencing this wound is a challenge, because so much is demanded, directly or through subtle persuasion ‐ but regardless of how much their partner gives, it is never going to be “enough”. The person living this wound feels that he or she “is not enough.”
Many individuals with this wound become caretakers. They have learned to cope by attuning to other people’s needs and neglecting their own. They are the givers of the world, the shoulder on which everyone cries, the ones who adopt stray animals and take care of lost people. They can be highly attuned to, and able to identify with and address, the needs of others.
The problem is that they are not attentive to their own needs. Because their own needs are not obvious to them, they often develop codependent relationships in which, on the surface, they are the rescuer, the need provider, and the caretaker. Identifying as givers, yet having difficulty attuning to their own needs, over time they can become burned out and bitter.
As infants, people with this wound did receive some warmth, love, and nourishment from others, but they did not get enough, and now they feel deprived. They are stuck at the stage of child development of feeling perpetually dependent and needy. One never has enough.
Satisfaction is obviously impossible since the sense of deprivation springs from a basic wound that needs to be healed rather than from real deprivation of something external which must be found.
Until the wound is healed, you’ll continue to attract people and situations that trigger the wound, and you’ll feel the “ouch” of this wound over and over.