Every second of every day, there is some relationship being damaged or lost because of neediness. But neediness is not a disease. It is not genetic. It is not inevitable. And, it can be completely overcome. In every relationship that I help to reconcile, there is some aspect of overcoming neediness. I work with the real down and out relationships. You know, the ones where one spouse wants out or cares little for the emotional well being of the other. Most counselors believe the best thing to do in this situation is to help the couple to end their relationship—amicably or otherwise. Well, I can agree that in many aspects that is easier. But, most of the time it is not necessary.
What is necessary is that one person have the strength and the love to do something that is absolutely necessary to improve the relationship. They must stop being needy. They will have to give up trying to get their partners to love them and instead focus on being secure, being loving, and having good boundaries. None of my clients will become doormats or people who just shower their partners with love, love, love. Because, contrary to what you may have heard or read, in a bad relationship, these actions will not get you the love you want. If you have ever tried to save a relationship by showering your partner with love, you will know exactly what I mean.
If you just give in to your partner’s wishes, it will just get you disrespect, while just giving love, love, love will get you rejected, rejected, rejected. And, if you are needy, when your efforts to get your partner to change his or her mind about you do not work, you will go right back to the needy behaviors that drove him or her away in the first place.
What is the way forward in these situations, without driving your partner away? A big part of it is overcoming your neediness. Needy partners vacillate between chastising their partners for not being the way they want them to be and placating their partners for fear of being rejected. The alternative is being able to see and accept your partner’s positive aspects as well as limitations, and to be able to love him or her anyhow—using boundaries, as necessary, to prevent ongoing damaging behavior from your partner. Good love is tough love, but it is neither demanding nor abusive.
How Neediness Is Messing Up Your Life
Neediness creates emotional fireworks when relationships are new. When needy people find others who love them, all their feelings of emptiness disappear. It’s like finally being able to scratch an itch that that they couldn’t reach before. It is a great relief for needy people to find partners—people to love who will actually love them back. All their doubts and fears vanish and are replaced by euphoria. The initial experience of new love by needy people is like a rush that one could otherwise only get from drugs.
If being needy creates such wonderful, intense, passionate feelings of love, then what could possibly be wrong with it? This chapter spells out the numerous sacrifices that needy people make in order to have only brief periods of passion. This passion exists at the beginning of their relationships and when making up after a breakup or serious conflict. Both of these times have more to do with relief than love.
What is neediness?
There are several characteristics of needy people. Each of these characteristics tends to go unnoticed by needy people who believe that these needy characteristics are normal. After all, it is all they have ever known. Each of these characteristics causes needy people to behave in ways that make long-term, happy, healthy relationships very difficult. Because you are reading this book, you have already begun to recognize your neediness. It will help to continue to discover the differences between being needy and being secure. The more you can discover, the more you can change. The more you can change, the better your relationships will become.
Dr. Jack Ito ( Coach Jack) is a licensed clinical psychologist, who works as a marriage and relationship coach and specializes in reconciling on the edge marriages. He believes chat most people divorce not because their relationships can't be improved but because people don't know how to improve them. His teaching is based on the principle "when we change the way we relate to others; they change the way they relate to us." Coach Jack holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary Graduate School of Psychology and has over 20 years of experience in the field of counseling and relationship coaching. A former clinical assistant professor of psychology at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., Coach Jack has also worked with the U.S. Navy, helping Marines cope with post-traumatic stress and reconnecting with their spouses, post-deployment. He is the author of four books, "Overcome Neediness and Get the Love You Want,""What to Do When He Won’t Change,""Connecting Through Yes!" and "Therapy Beyond All Expectations," published by Loving Solutions Publishing. For more information about Dr. Jack Ito and for free relationship articles, please visit www.coachjackito.com.