Both the Early and the Late positions result in distortions of the Self and relationships. For example, in the Need Structure the collapsed or early position is termed Despairing; the rigid or late is termed Distrustful; and the healthy or balanced position is termed Self Satisfying.
Imagine a small infant whose very survival depends on having her basic needs met. If the baby does not experience safety around this, she will fall into deep despair. Another infant may sometimes have her basic needs met, and at other times not. That baby may become distrustful of his caregivers. The child whose needs are met by a good enough mother will likely experience the feeling of being self-satisfied; whether it is for contact, food, safety, love, play, or a clean diaper.