Babies that are soothed learn and are modeled behaviors that they eventually use to soothe others as they grow older.Babies that learn how to self-soothe become children, teenagers, and adults who know how to self-soothe and know how to soothe others.Babies that DO NOT learn how to self-soothe become children, teenagers, and adults who DO NOT know how to self-soothe or soothe others.Children who do not know how to self-soothe, will act out to gain the fourth cousin twice removed of nurturing- that is, negative attention. They take the negative attention because that is all they feel they can get. And you need to celebrate their acting out, because their acting out is a cry for help. The cry for help although the baby or child may not know it, is also a cry of hope. Babies that stop crying have lost hope. This can result in the failure to thrive syndrome. Children who stop acting out have also lost hope and may slide deeply into depression.
Why? Because teenagers and adults who do not know how to self-soothe, will use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, self-injury, and any number of other dysfunctional behaviors in order to self-soothe. If they lose hope, they may also fall into patterns of short-term gratuitous or hedonistic behaviors that can be self-destructive. Long-term goals or dreams become irrelevant with life experiences and views of hopelessness and helplessness.Teenagers and adults who do not know how to self-soothe, will get into a relationship with you- the family member, friend, and/or professional, and demand that you always perfectly soothe them when they are in need. And, if for some reason, you fail to soothe them when their distress spirals immediately into despair, they will lash out and punish you for your betrayal. This can be borderline personality disorder tendencies in action. This type of behavior can become endemic in problematic couples and other relationships. Or, they may not know how to soothe YOU or others effectively or appropriately. Other personality disorders may arise from the same issues.
- They must learn how to be alone. As much as good people: friends, family, fellow 12-steppers, church members, and so forth can give support, there inevitably will be times when one is alone. Being alone is not intrinsically horrific, but can be quite wonderful if one is good with oneself.
- They learn how to alone without being lonely. As stated, being alone can be great- a time to reflect, to consolidate, or to commune with one's inner soul. However, some individuals struggle to be alone without being lonely. Loneliness happens.
- They need to learn how to be lonely without getting desperate. As attachment anxiety (or attachment despair), trauma is re-triggered, and/or real and existential fears and anxieties amplify when alone and lonely, some individuals become desperate.
- And most importantly since the cycle and sequence of this dynamic is often powerful and not readily amenable to conscious restriction or muting, they need to learn how to be desperate without being STUPID! In kinder language, they need to learn how to be desperate without making bad choices: using alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, spending, toxic relationships, or other destructive behaviors to self-soothe the intense emotional and psychic pain. It is not being alone, lonely, or desperate that makes life crazy and unmanageable. It is the bad choices made when desperate.