I was recently told by a dear friend that my neediness is sometimes overwhelming and frustrating to deal with.
She seemed angry that my interactions or texts with her and others sometimes seem desperate, where I look unsure, unconfident, and helpless. I asked her why this bothered her so much and she said, "Because I don't want others to see you as this needy helpless person. You should have more pride and respect for yourself." Her concern was not selfish but spoken to help me see my actions and be a better person and act differently.
Since this conversation my Neediness has been on my mind. I am a confident person most of the time but when life circumstances or emotional swings occur all I hear in my head, are these words, yelled at me by my father throughout my entire childhood; "Your fat, stupid, ugly, never going to amount to anything." Those words, no matter how desperately I try to prove wrong, seem to surface constantly, especially in my interactions with friends. I do have denial and although I pride myself on being a very unselfish person, when it comes to my emotional needs being met I do tend to become very selfish with others at times, especially when I start to panic, and I want them to make me 'Feel Better."
It is not my friends, family or anyone else's responsibility to make ME feel, Loved, Appreciated, Accepted, or Valued. I must! I am the only person who can. These emotional needs stem from my lack of self-esteem, which was shattered, due to my childhood abuse and abandonment. I never see myself as a victim, however these traits are ingrained in the Adult Survivor and unless they are seriously dealt with by a professional and brought to light, the consequences WILL lead to many failed relationships and the loss of important people in your life.
My major fear is "Rejection," and that fear makes my behavior irrational at times. I interpret events or actions by other in the context of this fear. It is then processed and filtered through my anxiety and I quickly start to panic. I am usually unaware that I am being needy with people as these are habits and tendencies ingrained in me from childhood. I then think and act irrationally and become NEEDY!
Neediness is a weakness and I know I rely on my friends for much of my support, I always have and especially in high school, they were ALL I had. My family was not where I gained any emotional support or stability. It is where it was torn apart by my father's extreme abuse. I have taken this pattern into my adult life and until the other day; I have never really had someone hold a mirror in front of myself, causing me to not like what I see regarding my neediness. My friend has mentioned this before, but until the other day I dismissed her comments and continued to be selfish in my needs. I should never let anyone control my worth and happiness. I am the only person, through God's love and tender healing that can build me up. It is okay for someone to make me happy, but they cannot be my only source. I cannot get angry or upset when they are not around, demanding their time or constant interactions. Those people will soon feel guilty, obligated and eventually they may even become resentful towards you because you are just "Too Much."
Neediness also stems from lack of trust. As an Adult survivor of abuse I have tremendous trust issues and fear that I am not good enough for anyone. I feel that I am always the inferior person in whatever the relationship and I then take on the needy role. I am not a weak person, and in fact many of my friends have said in some form or fashion that, "You are the strongest person I have ever met. "If I am so strong then why am I needy and appear weak?
Even though I don't want to be in denial or make any excuses regarding this, I do carry "baggage" from my less than perfect childhood. I pray my friends; family will understand that I am a work in progress that I am actively pursuing change and to relate on healthy levels of equals with those I hold dear. I am not inferior, I am not weak, and I am not in need of someone else to make me feel better about myself.
An analogy I read that has really helped me in gauging my interactions with friends is viewing conversations and interactions with others as a game of Tennis. You initiate contact; you hit the ball into their court and wait for its return. You don't start to immediately panic, thinking they don't like you or you're not important enough for them to respond timely back towards you, when that ball is not hit back directly. They may be very busy, have many obligations, dealing with issues themselves or because, you are bothering them too much, becoming a nuisance, an energy zapper rather than a friend!
There are days when we all feel vulnerable and crave encouragement. Where we need to vent our feelings or just need someone to tell us how special and wonderful we are. There is nothing wrong with that. But if we require such affirmations continuously, then those relationships and friendships will soon crumble because people do not like to be so needed by another all the time. I know I don't like that either and it amazes me that the very thing I really can't stand about someone else, is within me.
Starting today I am actively aware now of my tendencies and will change this destructive pattern. I am growing every day and I am thankful I have true friends who do actually care by sharing with me the truth regarding my unhealthy actions instead of just walking away or bailing on me! I am thankful for my friend who shared this with me not to hurt me but to help me be a better person and friend! I am not helpless!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CW Seymore, read more at CW Seymore Shards of Glass.
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