It’s Not Being Needy: Communicating Needs

Before I begin, I need to make addendum regarding Monday’s post. I had a chat with a friend about the weight I was carrying about always being the planner (and always saying yes). I’m not sure if I willed it into the universe, or I have egg on my face. I’ll go with a bit of both. I found out that this friend was planning something, but some of the same patterns I mentioned were at play. I was glad I spoke up about what works and what doesn’t. Does one need to be flexible about these things? Absolutely. Balance is something we’re all learning.

Today’s post can link to that addendum: communicating needs.

Do you suck at this? I complete suck at this.

Growing up, I learned quickly how to take care of myself. I was either left alone a lot or with an abusive, mentally ill father (whom which I can only give credit for financial needs). It was usually 6-year-old me making sure he was okay. My mother traveled a lot for her job, and when she was home, it was all about keep him from exploding. It’s only been in the past four years (their separation) that I can finally talk with my mum.

Anytime I would seek a need, I was every word under sun: spoiled, greedy, needy, ungrateful etc.

Thanks to the deprogramming (therapy), I’ve learned that asking for something isn’t the same as being needy.

Needs – Things required that must be fulfilled for healthy living. Needs are not all equally important, but exist in a hierarchy (shaped like a pyramid), with the most important, basic needs at the bottom. Breathing, water and food, security, belonging, dignity, and self-actualization are all examples of needs. [1]

Needy – Attempting to compensate for the lack of attention experienced in childhood through others. Latching on to others to bolster confidence.

I’ll strait up admit that I did go through a needy phase. I’ll make a separate post in the future on how to break that unhealthy coping pattern. Shout out to my former, extremely patient tDoc who bared the brunt.

Alright, so, how?

Figure out if you require another to achieve the need, make sure you’re asking the appropriate person, and don’t assume or jump to conclusions. If the need does require another, and for some reason it’s still too difficult to approach the other party, consider talking with a professional to help you find the cause that makes this task difficult.

It’s better to act early and talk to someone about your concerns rather than wait until things get worse. Holding things in for a long period of time feeds all mental illness. Be ready to be vulnerable and willing to the situation.

When you’re ready:

  • Do your best to pick a time without interruption and both parties are calm.
  • Plan what you’re going to say.
  • Keep the message simple, factual, and to the point.
  • Use ‘I statements’. When this happens, I [lack, get, need, feel etc.].
  • Listen to the feedback and take responsibly for your side (if applicable – the person may have been neglecting that need as a result of a behaviour that you weren’t aware you were doing).
  • Be ready to to negotiate.
  • Be in the present.
  • It’s okay to say no, making sure that no is rational.

This is something I know I’ll be working on for a while.

What are some things you do when you need to communicate your needs to another?

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