In Attachment theory, we often express the importance of being able to communicate our needs to a partner or loved when they arise. The inability to express needs may come from early Attachment injury including Avoidant adaptations when the needs of the child were not met by the parents or caregivers, leaving the child to fend for him or her self, which can lead to an overreliance on the self that carries through to adulthood.

For individuals with Anxious, or Ambivalent, adaptation, needs were met sporadically, creating an unreliable source for comfort and connection. Because the individual found an unreliable source for having their needs met, they may become anxious when expressing their desires or asking for support. Oftentimes, this leads to neediness — continually seeking a source of comfort, even when inappropriate.

Here Are Examples of Need VS. Neediness

Expressing needs:

  • Asking for help
  • Expressing desires
  • Sharing insecurities honestly
  • Valuing connection

Expressing neediness:

  • Requiring constant connection
  • Fear-based insecurity
  • Skepticism when needs are met
  • Feeling “never enough”

Ask yourself, are my needs based on fear or out of an expectation for others to meet my demands at any cost? If you find your needs are actually neediness, practicing mindfulness and seeking the help of an Attachment therapist can help you sort out irrational expectations that continually leave you wanting (or needing) more.

Reach out and connect with the other person’s needs also in mind. When you can recognize your needs (and those of others) and express them with heartfelt and honest communication, you may find that loved ones recognize them for what they are and step forth to assist you. When meeting your own needs and those of someone you love, you can experience true intimacy.

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