3.1 Childhood


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Video Transcript Hello, and welcome back, we are now up to stage three. And in this stage, we’re going to go into the roots of the roots of the problem. You should have learned by now that the roots of the problem are well basically toxic shame, aka inadequacy. And now we’re going to go into the roots of inadequacy, we’re going to talk about the initial way that this is formed. And for everyone, in fact, this is going to be formed in childhood. Everyone has what we’re about to talk about, everyone will have a tiny little bit of inadequacy. Usually, for most people, it’s not very much. And it’s not enough to actually turn into something that has symptoms like the Fetish and like everything that we’ve spoken about before. Hopefully, you’ve had a bit of time, maybe you’ve had a break and learned more about nonviolent communication. Hopefully, you took that in. If you’ve had a bit of time away, then maybe you’ve had a chance to think about the internalization that we spoke about the conscious and the subconscious shame, maybe you’ve become aware of reliving and dwelling on shame experiences, maybe you’ve tried to be a bit more self compassionate, and aware of the control and release that we spoke about. And also, of course, importantly, being connected to your needs. We’re going to talk a little bit more about needs because it’s really the root of the problem. Let’s talk about how inadequacy is formed. This is formed in childhood. There are six main factors that can lead to inadequacy formed in this way, the most impressionable time in a child’s life is from In fact, in their whole life is from birth to about five years. During this time, this is when our paradigms begin to be established. This is when our worldview comes about in the way that we see the world is established from birth to five years. And the strongest influences during that time are usually a child parents, or caregivers and extended family if they have that. So this is where we’re going to begin our examination. First things first, all children are born totally helpless. They are completely dependent on their parents to fulfill their needs, that being food, water, obviously, everything they are completely dependent on their parents. They’re apparently dependent on their parents for 15 years. But we can certainly say that for the first few, they are completely helpless. They can’t survive on their own. They obviously can’t feed themselves. They depend on their parents. And because of this, any child’s greatest fear is abandonment. If their parents leave, they’re screwed. They will die. Abandonment literally means death to a child. This is the scariest thing. It’s the greatest fear, because it is death. All children are ego centered. What this means is that they can only actually conceive of themselves. They can’t think of other people as other people. They can’t think, you know, mom and dad have lived all their lives up until this point. They just they just think of themselves. They think they are the center of the world, the center of the Universe, and Everything revolves around them. Therefore, they believe that they are the cause of everything that happens to them. All children can and will have numerous abandonment experiences. All that means is their needs are not met in a timely judicious manner. Because they’re dependent on their parents. They need their parents to meet their needs. And let’s just say it’s food and water. Obviously, it’s a lot more than that. It’s attention and it’s touch and it’s love and it’s it’s mirroring and it’s a lot of things. Let’s just say for simplicity. It’s food and water. Now, if if their needs are not met, that is to the to the child that’s abandonment. It’s quite dramatic, I think but in psychology is called abandonment. It doesn’t mean when their parents leave and never come back. It can be something as simple as he is hungry and no one feeds him or he cries and no one holds him or he’s lonely and no one pays ATTENTION TO HIM. It can also be things like a parent gets angry at him or a parent neglects him, or even a parent puts unrealistic expectations on him. And on the darker side, it can be things like a parent hits him, or a parent doesn’t want him. And it can literally be a parent leaves him. Every child is born into an imperfect world and into an imperfect family and every child has these abandonment experiences of one form or another. Like I say, it’s a dramatic turn for what it is, they’re hungry and no one feeds him. That is abandonment in psychology terms. Now, because children are ego centered, and they believe they are the cause of everything that happens to them. When a child has an abandonment experiences, he believes that he is the cause. When a child is young, especially from birth to five years, the most impressionable time in their lives. They can’t think that, you know, maybe mom and dad are busy. Maybe they have their own problems, maybe whatever, but they believe that they are the cause they believe that if they cry, and no one feeds them, they are the cause. This is it stupid. Obviously. It’s a naive misinterpretation. And this creates a belief that he is bad and he needs to change to be good enough. This is toxic shame, aka inadequacy, the belief that he is bad. Because children are born totally helpless. They’re dependent on their parents. Their greatest fear is abandonment. And they do have numerous abandonment experiences. Because of this third step that they’re ego centered, they believe that they are the cause of the abandonment experiences. Because of that naive misinterpretation, they then have toxic shame, they believe that it’s because of them, that they’re not being fed, it’s because of them that they’re not. They’re not being given attention. And that’s awful, because for the children, it means that it means that it’s not acceptable for them to be just as they are, they will conclude that there must be something wrong with them, which causes the important people in their lives to abandon, abandon them, they have no way of comprehending that their abandonment experiences are not caused by something about them, but by the people who are supposed to recognize and meet their needs. This is the source of toxic shame, or inadequacy. Now, if you want to read more about that book, no more Mr. Nice Guy, by Robert Glover goes into this in a bit more detail, although this is pretty much literally taken from the book. And of course, if you think the title applies to you, then it’s good book to check out. So as a result of these abandonment experiences, and the faulty interpretation of these events, children develop survival mechanisms, or coping mechanisms, although for them, of course, it is survival, because abandonment means death to them. And these survival mechanism mechanisms will help them do three very important things. Firstly, to try to cope with the emotional and physical distress of being abandoned. They just need to cope with the obviously that’s a massive emotional thing to think that they’re not good enough and to think that they need to change. The second thing they’ll do is they’ll try to prevent similar events from happening again. If abandonment means death to them, they will do everything they can to prevent this from happening again. The last thing they will do is try to hide their perceived badness, aka inadequacy, aka toxic shame from other people, and from themselves. Children will find a multitude of creative ways to try to accomplish these three goals. But obviously since as a child their insight and their experiences and their resources are pretty limited. These survival mechanisms that they come up with are often ineffective, and sometimes seemingly illogical. For example, a child who is feeling lonely, may misbehave in a way that is sure to attract his parents attention in a negative way. Even though it may seem illogical for a child to do something that invites painful or negative attention. The consequences of the behavior may not feel as bad as being lonely or isolated, one of the possible paradigms that they could develop or, or scripts for their life is that they need to try to become what others believe they want him to be or what what he believes others want him to be, or try to become what he believes others want him to be. This is definitely the cause of the nice guy syndrome, and have a lot of the masks that you can put on literally just becoming what he believes others want him to be. And that’s the result of what’s known as abandonment. So when their needs are not met, they believe they are bad, and they need to change to be good. But on a more literal level, this happens again and again through childhood, when we are taught by our parents how to behave. From the moment we are born, we are handed rules demands expectations about how to behave, how to act, how we should be, we get a very clear distinctions about what is bad and what is good. So for example, if you cry in a public place or too loudly, you are bad, you are told to stop crying. We are repeatedly told what we need to do to be good. And we are repeatedly reminded when we do things that are bad. So for example, you need to eat your vegetables to be good. Or you need to work harder to be good. You need to not be too loud, or else you will be bad, you can’t cry or else you will be bad. All of this just communicates that we are not good enough, just as we are. Even though some of these may have completely logical explanations. You know, being too loud. I mean, no one likes the loud child in a movie theater. But all this communicates that we’re just not good enough just as we are. We need to change to be good. So I’ll give you an example. In my family, I was taught that to be good, you have to be quiet, and you had to do what you were told you had to never be a problem or ask anything of someone else. So I grew up as a quiet child for that reason. I was kind of a pushover for that reason. I grew up thinking that I could never asked anything of anyone that I couldn’t really ask them to help to ask them for help, or ask them to help me meet my needs. I learned that my needs were not important. This probably sounds very strange and abstract. But the point is that I mean, your example, your experiences might be different point is that we had to change something to be good. We weren’t good enough, just as we are. If we just act as we are, we’re told that certain things are bad. We are fundamentally inadequate. So from the slides, you’ve hopefully learnt that it starts with abandonment, ie needs not being met. Then because of the naive misinterpretation that all children have. It creates toxic shame and inadequacy, believing that that child is bad and needs to change to be good enough. Obviously, it’s stupid and it doesn’t make sense but children are stupid. We all are when we’re children, and hopefully also learn the survival mechanisms. Basically just hiding the badness, changing to be good. Learning that we’re not good enough just as we are

The most impressionable time in our lives is in childhood. This is the time when we are learning everything about the world and ourselves. If we experience anything during that time that may suggest we’re inadequate, it will leave a huge imprint on the brain that will last the rest of our lives – or until we address it.

There are 6 principles which can cause a child to form a sense of inadequacy.

1. All Children Are Born Totally Helpless.

When we are brought into this world, we cannot take care of ourselves. We are helpless. We depend on our parents to fulfil our needs. Particularly, children need the four “S”s – to be safe, seen, soothed and secure.

  • Safe – Parents must avoid actions and responses that frighten or hurt children.

  • Seen – they must be seen for who they are, not just visually, but emotionally and personally. They must be mirrored, given attention when they cry, and empathised with.

  • Soothed – they must be helped to deal with difficult emotions or situations.

  • Secure – they must feel protected, stable, and be secure in themselves.

Of course these are not all our needs, only a few which play a large role in who we grow up to be.

The point is that we are 100% dependant on our parents to fulfil our needs.

2. A child’s greatest fear is abandonment.

Because children are dependant on their parents, if their parents leave them, they will die. Children are born totally helpless, so abandonment will lead to death. There is nothing worse – and so it is their greatest fear. If they can’t get their needs met, they will not survive. A child’s greatest fear is abandonment.

3. All children can and will have numerous abandonment experiences.

They will have times where their needs are not met. They will have times when their needs are not met quickly enough, or fairly. This is known as ‘abandonment’ even though it’s a very overdramatic term for what it is – not getting your needs met in a timely, judicious manner.

Abandonment experiences might include any of the following experiences:

  • He is hungry and no one feeds him – not getting his need for food.

  • He cries and no one holds him – not getting his need to be soothed.

  • He is lonely and no one pays attention to him – not getting his need for attention, or to be seen.

  • A parent puts unrealistic expectations on him – parents commonly push their children to achieve, mostly so those parents can feel good about themselves.

  • A parent uses him to gratify his or her own needs – for respect, attention, validation, etc.

  • A parent hits him – one of the most common and worst of all, it threatens their need for safety.

  • A parent leaves him and doesn’t come back in a timely manner – literal abandonment. Divorces cause this.

Because every child is born into an imperfect world and into an imperfect family, every child has abandonment experiences of one form of another. All children can and will have abandonment experiences.

4. All Children are ego-centered.

They have not developed the ability to realise that their parents are separate people with their own thoughts, feelings, and lives. They can only think of themselves. The other people around them don’t seem like people, almost robot-like because children can’t understand that other people are separate people. Children believe they are the center of the universe – they haven’t developed the ability to think otherwise.

Because of this, they also believe that everything that happens to them is because of them. They can’t understand that if their parents are busy, they might not get much attention. They cannot comprehend that other people have their own worries, emotions, and issues, instead they think that everything that happens to them is somehow because of them.

John Bradshaw, in his book ‘Homecoming: Reclaiming And Championing Your Inner Child’, writes: “Children are absolutizers. This quality of a child’s thinking is manifested by an “all or nothing” polarity. If you don’t love me, you hate me. There is no in between. If my father abandons me, all men will abandon me. Children are nonlogical. This is manifested in what has been described as “emotional reasoning.” I feel a certain way, therefore it must be this way. If I feel guilty, I must be a rotten person. Children need healthy modelling in order to learn to separate thought from emotion-to think about feelings and to feel about thinking. Children think egocentrically, which is manifested in their personalizing everything. If Dad has no time for me, it must mean that I’m not okay, that something is wrong with me. Children interpret most abuse in this way” (abuse is interpreted as being their fault).

5. This means that when a child has an abandonment experience, they believe they are the cause.

They believe it’s because of them that they’re not getting their needs met. If they didn’t get fed, they believe that they need to do something differently next time. If they didn’t get attention, they believe that they can change the way they act to get attention next time.

6. This creates a sense that they are not good enough, and need to change to be good enough.

When they believe that they are the cause, they believe that they are not good enough to get their needs met. They form a perception of inadequacy – and because this occurs during the most vulnerable time of life, when they are learning the way the world works and who they are, this becomes a very deep-rooted perception.

They will do everything to avoid the same experience happening again, because their greatest fear is abandonment. So children will develop coping mechanisms to try to prevent those experiences from happening again, and to try to hide their perceived “badness” from themselves and others.

Children find a multitude of creative ways to try to accomplish these three goals. Since their knowledge, intelligence, and experience are limited, these coping mechanisms often don’t work, and sometimes don’t even make sense. For example, someone who is feeling lonely may misbehave in a way that is sure to attract attention in a negative way. Even though it doesn’t make sense for a child to do something that invites painful or negative attention, at least they’re getting some attention.

Then, they might be punished for their misbehaviour, even though they were only trying to meet their needs, and perhaps this punishment threatens their other needs – going hungry (threatening their need for food), getting locked in their room (threatening a whole load of social needs), or being spanked (threatening safety as a child). To us adults, these things don’t seem that bad – it’s really just a small punishment. But we’re independent and can take care of ourselves. Children can’t. They’re helpless, dependant, and very scared of abandonment.

This is why a subconscious sense of inadequacy is actually very common. It’s not just people with this fetish who have this, it’s a significant percentage of the population. I would go as far as to say 90% of people have this to a small degree, because no-one’s childhood is perfect. It’s only when this is repeated, over many childhood experiences, and combined with other factors that it becomes the cuckold fetish. Of course, it’s important to note that other fetishes eroticize inadequacy too, from different angles.

Ultimately, cuckolding pushes on that painful emotional hotpoint of abandonment. It recreates those abandonment experiences by being literally abandoned by your partner, turning that sense of inadequacy into sexual pleasure as a way to be protected from that pain. John Bradshaw calls this the “original pain”. The cuckold fetish is just a way to push on that button of unresolved emotions in a subconscious attempt to resolve them.

So when their needs are not met, they believe they are bad and they need to change to be good. But on a more literal level, this happens again and again through childhood when we are taught by our parents how to behave.

From the moment we are born, we are handed rules, demands, expectations, about how to behave, how to act, how we should be. We’re given very clear distinctions about what is bad, and what is good. For example, if you cry in a public place or too loudly, you are bad. You are told to stop crying.

We are repeatedly told what we need to do to be good, and we are repeatedly reminded when we do things that are bad.

  • You need to eat your vegetables to be good.

  • You need to not be too loud or else you’ll be bad.

  • You need to work harder to be good.

  • You need to stop bothering your parents or you’re bad.

  • You need to stay out of the way to be good.

All of this communicates that we are not good enough just as we are.


In my family, I was taught that to be “good”, you had to be quiet, you had to do what you were told, you had to never be a problem or ask anything of someone else. So I grew up as a quiet child that was kind of a pushover, and I grew up thinking that I never had to ask anything of anyone, that my needs were not important.

This is just my example, yours might be different. The point is that we grew up thinking that we had to change something to be good, that we weren’t good enough just as we are, we are fundamentally inadequate.


I’m not spending too long on family dynamics – which is a massive area of psychology – because it can get VERY boring and it doesn’t give you much to take action on. It’s only good for understanding that this toxic shame is nothing to do with you or who you are, it’s a result of external circumstances. If you want to learn more about that I recommend reading ‘Homecoming’ by John Bradshaw. But it’s worth mentioning, albeit briefly, that your parents have a big role in this subconscious inadequacy. If one or both of them were critical/neglectful/smothering/needy/distant/overbearing/unstable/dependant/narcissistic, or pretty much anything, that’s going to cause toxic shame.

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Author(s) || Connor McGonigal

Website || howtostopbeingacuckold.com

Article || 3.1 Childhood

Date || Between January 27th and November 14th, 2018

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