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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Need vs Needy

Uploaded: May 27, 2022
Need definition: a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.

Needy definition: marked by want of affection, attention, or emotional support.

Being needy is a huge no-no in our society. And yet when you look at the definition of needy, those are all needs. The brain is wired to need affection, attention and emotional support. Those are required for one’s well-being.

Being a self-sufficient adult is a requirement. Having street smarts is sure helpful. Having situational awareness (and acting upon it) is critical.

Yet what your brain needs is to have all of those traits/actions, and more: interdependence.

If you grew up knowing you couldn’t count on anyone to be there for you, you learned to take care of everything yourself. Maybe your parent(s) were unable to care for themselves well, or they were too busy for you. So now you’re in a relationship, and you need to learn how to let another help and emotionally support you. Otherwise, you’re an Island attachment style.

If you grew up with too much parenting, being smothered, or helicoptered, you’re also going to push people away. It will be hard to let someone be close to you, to be vulnerable. Or you’ll be lacking the traits of self-sufficiency, street smarts, situational awareness, and especially goal setting and decision-making abilities. Or you’ll find a partner who will run the show (i.e., your life) for you. You may be passive, and possibly passive aggressive since you don’t have skills to be otherwise.

If you grew up in a volatile environment, you’re either really good at fighting and yelling (Wave attachment style), or you’re really good at being a wallflower so you’re not in the line of fire (Island).

If you’re not an Anchor, and you’re either a Wave or an Island, your parent(s) didn’t live and teach you Anchor, or secure attachment. They likely didn’t know either. If they knew, they would have behaved and taught you how to be an Anchor.

What do you actually need? Make a list. Are you needy for needing human connection, secure attachment, healthy communication? No.

Here’s the caveat: No, unless you act helpless and expect others to do/provide all of it for you. However, if you do that, you’ll be a blank slate in relationship, and do whatever you think your partner wants/expects of you. But then, who gets loved? Your persona. And your ability to thoroughly love your partner is without the foundation of your authentic self.

If you feel needy, take action for yourself. You may ask others for help, but you have to do the work.

Since you have needs, as all people do, be clear and communicative about them. Have boundaries. Be vulnerable. Be generous. Be kind. Be interdependent.
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