How a Child Who Was Denied the Luxury of Being Selfish Can Become Quite Indecorous as an Adult

In an emotional animated essay, the very insightful School of Life gently explains how children who were denied the of luxury being selfish, demanding beings, but rather had to grow up quickly to please an inattentive, fragile or uncaring parent. Instead, these children put on their polite false selves very early in life and later suffered from emotional deficiencies of never experiencing that luxury of their true selves. This theory comes from child psychoanalyst Donald Winnicolt, who posited that healthy development requires a child to experience their true self of selfishness before the put on their well behaved false self, otherwise it will come out in more indecorous ways as an adult.

One of the most surprising but powerful explanations for why we may, as adults, be in trouble mentally is that we were, in our earliest years, denied the opportunity to be fully ourselves, that is, we were not allowed to be willful and difficult, we could not be as demanding, aggressive, intolerant, and unrestrictedly selfish as we needed to be. Because our caregivers were preoccupied or fragile, we had to be preternaturally attuned to their demands, sensing that we had to comply in order to be loved and tolerated; we had to be false before we had the chance to feel properly alive. And as a result, many years later, without quite understanding the process, we risk feeling unanchored, inwardly dead and somehow not entirely present.