How to avoid neediness

This is a list of (by no means exhaustive or original) things that you can try if you have the excruciating, stomach wrenching experience of feeling rejected and unable to let someone go. There are lots of different ideas here so keep reading, as one or two may strike a chord with you.


All the best!

  • Focus on your own needs rather than what the other person might think or feel about you.

  • Stop and notice how impulsive and wretched you feel. Remember - this is an addiction coming from your core wound.

  • Remember - this is about your history, so look after that hurt part of yourself.

  • Stay with the feelings and be kind to them. This may help to shift the experience from the immediate situation and dependency to where the feelings come from.

  • You do not have to stay with this process all the time. You need breaks and relief. You will be processing in the background.

  • Know that the person you feel dependent on to like you is 'in power' right now, and you are not feeling your own power. It is likely that, if you regain personal power, the other person will come towards you and seem to want you again. Be aware of the dynamics and game going on here between you. The best way to influence them or step away from them is to work out how to feel good about yourself again. List characteristics you like about yourself.

  • Identify with the fact that you probably don't really want this person. This is not what you want. Realise and practise this when you are not feeling co-dependent, so that you can call it up when you are.

  • Let other people have their own feelings and experiences.

  • Practice pointing at their name or photograph saying 'That is them/him/her'. Then, physically point to your own heart (touching this area) saying 'This is me.' Repeat this many times.
  • Notice that you may be upset with the person for not wanting you enough. Focus on wanting yourself that much. Recognise that it is probably unrealistic to expect the other person to fulfil this role right now. They simply cannot see what you see right now, and are possibly wrapped up in their own defensive response to core wounding. It is a possibility that you can communicate your disappointment in their behaviour to them. But if they are likely to deny their behaviour or your feelings, wait until you feel stronger about the treatment you deserve and the kind of relationship you want to do this. Look forward to this time.

  • Notice that, when you are obsessive about someone, you are unavailable to others.

  • Remember when other things were more important to you (suggestions: people, friendship, career, work, real love, good company, being kind, enjoying activities/ hobbies, your home, appreciating being single, freedom, cultures, travel, humour, the unpredictability of people and life...). Practise this enthusiasm (fake it until you make it.)

  • If you're afraid of being alone, face this feeling and make plans to become less lonely (there are lots of great ideas on the internet. Notice whether you may need to become available a little in order to do these).

  • Be aware that you have inside you a critical parent voice (e.g. 'he doesn't like you anymore') and a child who responds to this voice unhappily. You also have an adult voice who can mediate between and offer positive perspective. Practise this.

  • Safe Place – think of a place where you've felt safe and remember it, call it up.

  • Safe Person – think of a person you feel safe with. Think about what they would say now and practise their positivity.

  • You can also ask friends to list all the things they like about you.

  • Mantra – is there a word or phrase that can give you a moment's respite in difficult situations (suggestions: choice, breathe, you're worth it, etc).

  • You can use an elastic band on your wrist to snap to remind you to ground when you feel impulsive or obsessive.

  • Make a list of non-harmful strategies for self-soothing (suggestions: spend time with people who like you, spend time with people or things that make you laugh, phone a friend, go for a walk, pamper yourself, reading, listening to music, finding time to relax, watch a film, read something that really interests you etc).

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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Bristol, Somerset, BS4 2DS
Written by Shelley Treacher, Therapy for anxiety, depression & relationship difficulties.
Bristol, Somerset, BS4 2DS

Shelley Treacher BACP Accred supports people through the process of understanding and overcoming loneliness, and finding engaged love, whether in relationship or single. Having experienced and overcome loneliness to the point of finding love, Shelley now empowers people from around the World, with compassion, depth of knowledge, & a touch of humour

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