There are two ways that she can handle this situation. She can identify with the need and wait for rescue, or she can project her need onto others and then try to fulfill their needs. The first method leads to the pure merging pattern, the second to the compensated merging pattern. These are fundamentally the same survival pattern, but in the compensated merging pattern the feelings of need and helplessness are covered over by a pretense of self-reliance and power.
A child in the pure merging pattern will be clingy, fragile, and need a lot of attention. A child in the compensated merging pattern will act self-reliant too soon by rejecting her own needs and focusing on helping others instead. While the second child looks more functional, the compensation is only a mask covering the unfinished work of this stage of development. In both situations, she practices referencing others, but avoids referencing herself. The gift of this strategy is that she then becomes skillful at sensing the needs of others and providing what’s needed.
The Personality Traits
of Each of the Patterns