How neediness can affect our self-belief

People who feel dependent on others often jump into relationships too soon. And as a result often discover that their needs do not get met. Yet they may stay in the new relationship - this can feel better than being alone. If they do decide to leave without reflecting on what is happening, then they may find that their pile of unmet needs has just got bigger.  

When clients come for therapy they sometimes discover that their own neediness leads them to be vulnerable to other 'significant' people in their lives who are critical about them. This can lead to an erosion of self-belief and an escalation of anxious thinking.

As a result, the 'needy' client feels driven by the fear that they cannot take care of themselves. They feel useless and feeble.Even though in therapy it emerges they have shown considerable personal strength many times in the past. And often against incredible odds. Yet they now find themselves seemingly running - emotionally at least - to anyone who welcomes them with open arms. Somehow they need someone to make up for the things they never had. To make the hurt go away.  

Dependent people can behave in ways which are draining and demanding. They can be manipulative and controlling. The client often does not know why there is change within them. And often don't recognise who they have become.

The good news is that there is another way.

In therapy clients are able to explore the idea that we can choose to be anyone we want to be. And if we want to activate that choice then we need to be ourselves. And if we feel empty and unfulfilled then it's helpful to resist denying those feelings. We can feel dependant without behaving that way.

If we want to overcome these feelings of 'neediness' then what action can we take? I suggest we:

  • look out for activities that are fulfilling
  • tell ourselves the truth
  • become aware of our dependencies: it is just as unhealthy to be over-dependant as it is to be dependant.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Walsall, Staffordshire, WS6
Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP,Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert. in Supervision
Walsall, Staffordshire, WS6

I offer a supportive, confidential therapy service especially for those living with anxiety and stress.

I have acquired considerable expertise and knowledge having worked in the social care field for many years. Having experienced ups and downs myself, I understand life's road can be rocky and therapy often helps us to discover a new way.

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