NeedinessBy Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
When there is no loving inner Adult to attend to our needs, the wounded self pulls from others to get the love, attention, approval and validation that it seeks. In this article, discover how to heal neediness.
The wounded self in all of us is needy. The wounded self, in one way or another, is always pulling from others to get the love, attention, approval and validation that it seeks. When there is no loving Adult present to attend to these inner needs, then the wounded self has no other options but to try to have control over getting what it needs from others.
We choose not to show up as a loving Adult and take care of these needs ourselves when we operate under the false beliefs that we can't do it, that another can do it better for us than we can for ourselves, and that our best feelings come from getting love rather than being open and loving with ourselves and others. These false beliefs can keep people stuck in attempting to manipulate others into giving them what they want, and never experiencing the incredible joy that comes from opening to Spirit and feeling the love that is always here for us.
The needy person operates under another false belief - that others cannot tell when they are being pulled on and manipulated into caretaking.
For example, Joseph came to an intensive because his marriage was falling apart. His wife had finally declared that she was no longer willing to be constantly pulled on to fill him up and take responsibility for his feelings. Joseph had never been any other way and had no idea what to do differently. He came to the intensive hoping to discover how to do it "right."
When Joseph was working with me, his intention was to figure out how to do it right so he could get my approval. Part of my job as a facilitator is to help people become aware of their intention. Joseph had no intention to learn about loving himself. He just wanted to learn how to better manipulate getting approval from others.
Joseph tried one form of manipulation after another to get me to be his loving Adult. First he was charming and complimentary regarding me and my work. Then he went into story telling and explaining. Then he plunged into his self-judgments. Then he withdrew and became silent. Each time he tried a new manipulation, I would gently ask him what he wanted from me and if there was anything he wanted to learn about loving himself. Each time he said he was open and he wasn't. He was interested in "doing it right" and giving right answers rather than in learning about loving himself.
How did I know he wasn't open? There is a huge different between action and energy. While his actions might have looked open when he was asking questions about how to take care of himself, energetically he was completely closed. The only way we can know a person's intent is to feel it within our own bodies. I could not feel Joseph. He was in his head rather than in his heart, so no open energy was coming from him.
Finally Joseph decided that he could get me to take care of him if he went into deep pain, so he started to sob and sob. He was in victim pain, the needy pain of the abandoned child that says, "Take care of me." I looked around the room. No one was moved my Joseph's pain. No one felt his pain in their own bodies. This is how we know whether or not a person is open or closed - by what we feel in our own bodies.
I did not move to comfort Joseph and caretake his pain. While I felt deep compassion for his abandoned child, it was he who was doing the abandoning and causing the pain. When I offered him this information and told him that his sobbing would not work to get me to take care of him, he became enraged. He screamed at me like a little child having a temper tantrum. I lovingly invited him to try every manipulation he could to get me to take responsibility for his feelings. I encouraged him to notice that he was not wanting to learn about what his abandoned child needed from him - he just wanted me to do it for him, just as he had been doing with his wife.
Joseph did try everything to get me to take care of him, and when nothing worked he finally chose an intention to learn about loving himself. He left the intensive in a completely different place than when he came, determined to learn how to take care of himself.
And he did. His marriage is thriving!
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Your emotions are a great gift, letting you know when you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior, or when you need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation. Today, practice learning what your painful emotions are telling you, rather than avoiding them with your various addictions.
By Dr. Margaret Paul