Healing NeedinessBy Dr. Margaret Paul
October 04, 2021
Discover when you have a legitimate need and when you are being needy, and how to heal neediness.
Neediness is often a primary cause of relationship problems.
We are needy when we abandon and reject ourselves and then expect others to take responsibility for our feelings and make us feel lovable and worthy. Neediness is the foundation of codependent relationships: takers demand that others take responsibility for their happiness and wellbeing, and caretakers accept this responsibility in the hope that then the other person will love and approve of them. Neither is taking responsibility for their own feelings, instead abandoning themselves and creating their neediness.
"I already see - many times a day - when I am needy and having unrealistic demands from friends. Still, the tendency is to want to react needy with pulling and so on. I see it now more, and can stop myself more often now, but what are the next steps in this process of not 'acting it out'? How can I stop feeling rejected a lot?"
I would say to Erin that the key to understanding the next steps lies in the fact that she feels rejected a lot. Feeling rejected by others indicates that she is rejecting herself in numerous ways. One thing she is doing that is self-rejecting is making others responsible for her feelings. Imagine you have a child and instead of loving this child, you try to keep giving the child to others to love. Wouldn't the child feel rejected by you? Her inner child feels deeply rejected by her when she pulls on others for approval and attention.
What do you do that is self-rejecting?
Do you judge yourself harshly? Do you stay in your head, ignoring your feelings, rather than being present in your body and attending to your feelings? Do you numb out with various addictions? All these ways of abandoning yourself will make your inner child feel rejected by you.
When you practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself, you will likely find that you no longer feel rejected by others.
Needs vs. Neediness
"After 7 years of being single, I recently met a very kind and caring man after taking your 30-day 'Attracting Your Beloved' Course! He appears to have all the intrinsic qualities that I was looking for in a person to share my love with and my inner child has never felt so safe with someone. However, on a more practical level, he has little money and no secure job. We are both responsible single parents of one and I am just getting on my feet financially. It's starting to bother me in terms of the future regarding money. Is this a NEED or am I being NEEDY? After all, I'm only responsible for myself and my son financially, right? If this is a genuine need, how would I communicate that to him in a loving way? Or is that trying to control?
I would say to Vrinda is that it’s a legitimate need to expect your partner to take care of himself and his child financially. I encourage you to open to learning with him about his money beliefs and how he would see it working if the two of you lived together. Be very honest about not wanting to take financial responsibility for him and his son. This is a VERY important issue to resolve before moving into a permanent commitment.
"When I feel needy with my partner, I sometimes feel indecisive between asking him to hold me and attending to my feelings on my own. I'm not sure whether to cuddle next to him or go do something by myself. I am uncertain why I have this internal conflict and how to decide what to do in those times."
What I would say to Jacqui is that we all have legitimate needs for being held and receiving support. When you come to your partner as a loving adult, wanting responsibility for your feelings, but needing extra support, you are not being needy. When you come to your partner as an abandoned child, wanting him to take responsibility for your feelings, you are being needy. It's all about your intent.
I would tell her to ask herself, "Do I want him to do it with me or for me?” If you are honest with yourself, then you will know what to do.
When you learn and practice Inner Bonding – learning to take responsibility for your own feelings – you heal the self-abandonment that results in neediness. You CAN move beyond neediness!
Heal your relationship with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
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Today, think about what you do that makes you feel invisible to others. Do you give in to others rather than stand in your truth? Do you avoid asking for what you want to avoid rejection? Do you act like everything is okay when it isn't? Do you agree with others to avoid conflict? Do you ignore your own feelings but attend to others' feelings? If you sometimes feel invisible, notice what you may be doing to create this.
By Dr. Margaret Paul