Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 26 October 2009

Does need /= needy?

I was IMing a friend about my tiredness last week, due to lack of sleep. He asked why I wasn’t sleeping and I said I just found myself waking up and then lying awake listening for sounds in the house... It turned into an interesting conversation and gave me food for thought, including wondering if my degree of independence and self-dependence is actually not that appealing at all. It could even be causing me problems...?

This is some of the conversation:

me: I think subconsciously I feel a bit vulnerable alone in the house with the kids.

but rationally that just annoys me, because I want to not need anyone ever. ;)

JD: Can't blame you for that. That's a normal feeling. After all, you're not very big. And you're responsible for those 2. There's no shame in needing someone... You do know that, don't you?

me: hrm...

JD: I've always been a bit taken aback by that with you...

me: what?

JD: Why do you see it as a problem?

me: deep question. do you really want the answer?

JD: Of course. Unless you prefer not to give it... I don't ask questions unless the answer interests me.

me: in short it is a defence mechanism. and a learned behaviour. I was not very nurtured as a child.

And had little to no mothering/ mother-figure. I learned pretty early to be independent and self-sufficient

I also expect to be abandoned and/or rejected - especially if I show weakness or neediness. So I try not to

JD: But most people like to be needed... You like the fact that your boys need you. Needing people is natural.

me: is it? really? I always approach it from a want perspective...

JD: Want perspective? Don't you think that you might scare people away by not needing them?

me: I always think people should be together because they both WANT to be, not cause they have to or need to... know what I mean?

This is making me think... but experience has taught me not to trust or rely on people very much

JD: I see what you mean but I have a different theory about this.

me: but someone told me a few months ago 'Independent is good, but a bit less fiercely independent would be nice'. So you might be right...

JD: good point for that person

me: BUT when I split up with xyz he said it was because I 'needed' more. <-Note: He actually said he thought I needed more. Something I hadn't considered as a separate point before!

JD: What did you need?

me: ...which confounded me because I really didn't think I did. Although I had allowed myself to open up and be emotional (and in my mind vulnerable)

JD: So you are autistic too :)

me: yeah seems so. I think I have a conflict between being strong, capable, brave etc

and inside sometimes just being a little girl who wants someone to make her feel safe/loved.

and I think our time is up. Psych session over! ;)

JD: ;) You don't have to stop. I won't charge you extra.

me: not sure why I am compelled to spill my guts to you all the time... I can't even blame alcohol!

JD: I like the way you use 'am compelled' to avoid the verb 'need'

me: do you think I 'need' to?

JD: There's no harm in that. And certainly no offence meant.

me: oh and I was going to challenge you on the liking my kids to need me. So I am actually going to give this some serious thought

me: I am pretty strongly focused on not needing anything ever. To the point that I don't even get addicted to stuff. I simply don't NEED anything.

but maybe that's all down to control...?

JD: Interpersonal relation are all based on needs

me: and being in control of myself

JD: acknowledging your needs is not necessarily losing control

me: you are right

JD: Like you did now, you mentioned that sometimes, you want someone to make you feel loved and safe...

want, need, in that statement, they're almost interchangeable.

me: yes

JD: but need would be a more accurate statement

me: true

JD: Because, taking your example for sounds in the night, you'd sleep much better if you knew that there is someone to go walk around in the corridor with a cricket bat if you hear something distressing

me: yes I guess so

but then my rational mind thinks why should that burden fall on someone else..?, AND

I don’t always feel the gender roles are fair. So if there is a sound in the night is it fair to wake up the guy and say 'go look?'

JD: totally with you on that.

me: or 'deal with that spider' etc

JD: But the guy is likely (despite his original annoyed remarks) to go do it anyway.

me: so I have always thought I should do that stuff myself and not shift the burden to someone else. Maybe I am wrong...? (but I do fully accept that men ARE stronger and bigger etc)

JD: Guys like being needed.

me: do they really!?

JD: Of course. As I said, everyone does.

me: how has it taken me THIS long to get to know that??

(section removed about a specific situation and person and which way to go)

me: I think I may be a bit emotionally inept actually

your 'autistic' may be spot on

JD: So that leaves you back were you started... If you don't take an emotional step in his direction, he might leave you and if you do, he might break your heart.

Autism rules!

me: BINGO!

So I still don't have any answers, but I need to examine this idea in more depth.

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are, when you don’t come home at night. ~ Margaret Mead

We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death. ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. ~Tom Bodett


  1. you are me
    i am you

    that conversation is de ja vu. thank you for sharing it.

  2. ahhh you are me
    i am you
    together we cover the window sill