You don’t really grow up unless you learn to accept and love yourself. There are crowds of people, within the age range of 20 to 40, but one cannot really tell how old they are on the inside.
Our needs change as we grow up, which means that we come to expect to be loved differently by our parents as we grow.
Infancy revolves around building trust and a feeling of security, which if not built with compassion, leads to the child being lost, uncertain and even scared. If a child grows up to be an adult in an environment similar to this one, they end up facing problems in forming relationships with other people due to the inherent lack of security and ability to trust other people. Intimacy confuses them as it brings a sense of vulnerability with it.
The later stage of infancy (2-3) is the time the child learns to be a little more self sufficient and starts acquiring a sense of control over itself, imposed by its own self. If parents do not let the child develop these things by doing things that the child is capable of doing on its own, they end up raising an under confident, paranoid and obsessive individuals who are constantly bugged by the feeling of shame and fear.
As the infant progresses into childhood (3-6), it develops the need to take initiative and start enterprises on their own. This age requires encouragement and approval from the parents, and excessive reprimanding leads to unfocussed, aimless adults who suffer from a severe impotence of will and determination.
When the child starts going to school, it develops the understanding of values and ethics. The parents’ lack of faith and scepticism in the child’s abilities gives birth to feelings of inferiority and not being good enough for anything. These children grow up to be dysfunctional adults who struggle to make their own place in the world.
To be a functional adult, it is essential that one recognizes the child that lives within all of us and make attempts to understand and know it, without dismissing its feelings and perceptions.
Communicate to your past self and ask the child what it needs, what it wants and what it does not want or understand. A simple exercise to do the above would be taking two pens in both your hands and if you use your right hand to write, use your right hand to write as your grown up self and your left hand as the child you once were. Make conversation with it. Connect with it. Shower it with the love it lacks and ask questions… the answers might help you make peace with everything you have not managed to get over.