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Why are we the way we are?  “Oh boy, here we go, he posts a list about himself on Monday and goes all existential on Thursday” you must be thinking.  Relax, I will shortly be amusing you on my behalf, just wait.  However, why do we do what we do?  Why do others do such annoying, distasteful, horrible, if not just inconvenient things?  Although not all inclusive or exhaustive I would argue that most of it really comes down to unprocessed hurts manifesting themselves in emotional needs.  I have introduced emotional needs in an earlier post but here I would like to expand a bit…or at least illustrate.  Notice the emotional needs (in bold) that were in play, unmet, hurt, or just present throughout this unfortunately true story.

It was the first day of school in seventh grade.  I was lost (security) in a world of 6 elementary schools being thrown together into one junior high “who were these people?”  I simply wanted to make it through the day and not truly embarrass myself (acceptance).  As  long as I didn’t fall up the stairs I would be OK  You see, if you fall down the stairs, nice people will help and feel bad for you.  If you trip and fall up the stairs, even a nun will point and laugh.  It was the last period of the day and I was home free.  Sure, Mr. Joralleman or “Jolly J” as he became known had already pointed out that he knew my brother and sisters (having 4 of them precede me through school made this nothing of note) but I wasn’t afraid of a littleattention.

So we began to take one of those “let’s see what you know” tests.  Then, “it” happens.  I button pops off of my shirt.  No big deal, last period, I’m home free.  I don’t need help(support), I got this.  I just hold it in my hand while I take the test.  Well, call it absentmindedness, call it self sabotage, call it being an idiot…the button is gone.  Where could it be though?  In my hand?  No.  In my pockets?  No.  On the floor?  Nope.  Well, it has to be somewhere…right?  Ah, there it is…IN MY EAR!!!

“Don’t panic (security).  Stay calm.  Just get it out.”  I push it further in.  “I know, use your pinky” (support…no need for).  Boom, further in.  “Your pencil tip!  You can hook the tip in one of eyelets and drag it out.  Yeah, it’s the first day of school, the pencil is still sharp enough, you can do it!”  Crack.  It’s gone.  The button and the pencil tip are now pushed the entire way into my ear canal.  Sweating, much sweating, horrific fear (security) sets in.  “What do I do (now needing support)?  Oh man, I don’t want this, not now (acceptance) not here, HELP ME (comfort)!!!” I scream in my head.

I figure I’ll just ignore it.  No, that won’t do.  It will probably get infected and kill me (security) or I’ll just end up looking like more of an idiot (acceptance).  I slowly walk up to Jolly J.  In barely a whisper I mention to him that I, in fact,  have a button stuck in my ear and need to go the nurse.  He so gently says in the loudest voice known to man, “OH MR. MITLO!!!  A BUTTON IN YOUR EAR!?!?!?”  “Sign the hall pass, sign the hall pass, sign the hall pass (security, acceptance, comfort, support, encouragement, respect, attention all flooding through me)” I think.  With my head down, head shaking, I go and see Smoky the Nurse (that was back in the days when adults smoked in school).  From the crypt she called a nurses office she dragged out this giant magnifying mirror with lights around it button removal from the ear tool thingy that must have been standard issue in 1984.  She was able to get it out (support).  “I have to call your parents” she said.  Of course you do.

Walking past my mother she simply asked if I was ok (affection, attention).  I told her I was as I quickly walked past.  I knew there were going to be many laughs at my expense at the dinner table that night (approval, security, support, encouragement).  There were.

Now, I ask you this.  As a 13 (12 now that I think about it) year old, do you think I could identify any of those needs as I experienced that “traumatic” event?  No.  I just described it as a really bad afternoon.  Why do we do what we do?  Mostly unresolved hurts and emotional needs.  Why did I stick that button in my ear?  Perhaps because I was a moron…or at least into self sabotage.  Hard to say.

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