Sometimes, a “truth bomb” lives up to its name.
While reading The Real Cause of Neediness over at Elephant Journal, there was one on the first page. Here it is (though the whole article is worth reading):
So many of us internalize our sensitivity and our cries for emotional
support as something negative—something that we need to fix.
Truth bomb: You are only as needy as your needs aren’t being met.
That ain’t no joke.
If someone’s needs aren’t being met in a relationship, it can be really frustrating for everyone. And not just in the obvious way where, hey, a need isn’t being met.
Too often we aren’t aware of our needs and how they are, let alone whether or not they’re being met. There’s little guidance in either during our formative years. Most of us learn by screwing up, over and over and over again.
It’s most frustrating when not only is a need not being met, but that nobody’s even aware what the need actually is.
Remember that our brains are tricksy little buggers. If they can’t address the actual thing that’s going on, they’ll snatch up something else to latch onto.
So that unmet need will get expressed somehow. Maybe it’ll be picking fights. Or dissatisfaction with a different part of the relationship. Or even that the disagreement or problem will continue to shift while the main need is unexpressed. It’ll come out sideways.
Here’s an example of how something can come out sideways:
In my day job, I work with big imaging machines, and somewhere around 5%-7% of the population is claustrophobic. This can be someone who doesn’t like the machine too close to their face to people who can’t let their big toe go under the camera. It’s no big deal to me if someone can’t deal with the machine. I respect other people’s baggage. If someone is claustrophobic, they’re claustrophobic, and that’s that.
Sometimes, though, a person will seem nervous and complain about everything but the size of the machine. They’ll say it’s anything except claustrophobia. I’ve learned over the last twenty years that when there’s difficulty after difficulty (and fixing each one doesn’t do anything) and they finally decide to refuse the test, they’re almost always going to say they’re claustrophobic.
We do the same thing in our personal lives. If our needs aren’t met, that will come out, one way or another.
It’s far, far better (and easier) to address them directly.