Mom I’m not needy – I just have needs!

By Val Boyko • December 10th, 2010

As part of my own Mother Whisperer journey I’ve been reading about the needs we have as children and what happens when we don’t get them fully met. Interesting stuff!

British child psychiatrist D.W. Winnicott defined the family as a “holding unit” that allows and supports the healthy growth of the child.

As John Welwood writes in his book “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships”:

“There are 2 essential aspects of holding: contact and space. Contact involves meeting, seeing, touching, attunement, connection and care. When children experience good contact they are likely to develop confidence, inner support and self acceptance. Children also need space – room to be and to be themselves.

Contact without space can become intrusive and smothering.

Too much space without contact makes the child feel abandoned and unloved.

When a mother (or either parent) acts intrusively and doesn’t provide enough space, then children grow up fearing that close contact with others threatens them with control and manipulation. Engulfment will lead them to withdrawal in relationships.

When children don’t have enough contact and too much space then it will lead to fear of abandonment. They become clingy to others.

John Welwood also talks about how it is impossible for any parent to give unconditional love. It would take so much time and energy to ensure we met all the needs of our children all the time. He talks about our parents being “good enough”. Not perfect. Good enough.

I like that a lot!

Accepting our mother as being “good enough” can free us from old blame or resentment. It can also free us to have loving relationships with others. I would highly recommend John Welwood’s book if you want to explore more in this area.



Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

Thanks for asking!
You can find us on Facebook at
We are also on Twitter at Mother Whisperer (there was not enough room for the ‘s’ at the end 😉


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