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Crisis – a matter of Unknown Needs ?

You may be somewhat familiar with the concept of the Human Needs through Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’.

The Human Needs are our most powerful drivers. They determine our choices and our behavior. If necessary, you will compromise your beliefs and your values in order to meet your needs. But what if your needs have been ignored or denied? Let us examine the relationship between the occurrence of a crisis and suppressed needs.

Crisis as a Manifestation of Subconscious Needs

A crisis is defined as being ‘a time of intense difficulty or danger’.  Here, the emergency or calamity has reached a critical point. This can indicate a turning point, a cross roads with the necessity of making important decisions. Thus, a crisis harbours both danger and possibility.

A crisis hardly ever occurs suddenly, although it may appear to be a sudden development.

A crisis develops over time. Repeated warning signs, discomforts, and conflicts may   have been ignored, neglected or denied for some time. But the imbalance remains and intensifies until there is no longer merely an imbalance, but an emergency.

The occurrence of a crisis in one’s life is often the result of some fundamental needs that have been ignored, neglected or denied for a long time. Needs are not ‘wants’; they are absolute necessities and suppressed needs will eventually emerge as a crisis.

On a personal level, a crisis, be it in a relationship, in health, in finances or in one’s emotional life, represents neglected needs. Needs that have been ignored or denied for some time. 

What does your Crisis hide?

If you are confronted with a crisis in some area in your life, it may be of help for you to consider: what are the needs within me that have been neglected and denied? Do I have a need for certainty, stability and safety? Do I have a need for belonging, for love and connection? Or maybe my need to express my unique self has been ignored? 

Childhood Deprivation

Needs indicate what we experience as lack. Your strongest needs represent what you feel is most missing, and those needs will define your behavior, your choices and your expectations.

In this, strong needs can represent what you found most lacking in your childhood, and they run as a theme throughout your life. If, for example, you experienced abandonment or little or no love and connection as a small child, that deprivation could express itself in an understandable need for acknowledgment, acceptance, belonging and love. This need then translates into a certain behavior and as an expectation regarding relationships, or with regard to a social group you join and so forth.

Now, by stepping into a personal relationship or a professional relationship out of strong needs, puts that relationship under pressure of the expectations you impose on it. Maybe for some time the relationship can answer those needs, or so it seems, but when the pressure continues, that one-sidedness will become detrimental and the relationship suffers.

In order to understand the crisis and, eventually, to break the pattern, it can be helpful to recognize the needs that lie at the foundation of the imbalance. This could lead to a painful confrontation with childhood deprivations and you can, possibly for the first time, really experience what you lacked in your emotional world as a young person. 

And yet this may well be the very thing that is necessary to break the pattern and for you to develop emotional freedom.


A time of crisis heralds the potential for renewal. In the facilitated program ‘Resolve a Crisis in 12 Steps’ therefore, you will recognize that your crisis is about certain issues, but also as an event in your biography.