Neediness ruining your relationships?

Why do some relationships not work out? Why do some divorced persons have huge difficulties maintaining a relationship?

Nidhi has been divorced for ten years now. She’s still single although she’s had a number of relationships none have lasted longer than six months. Understandably, she’s a little disheartened and has been introspecting about what she does instead of brushing aside as jerks all the men she has dated and who have left her life.

One of them called her ‘needy’ a few years ago but he had also behaved unforgivably so she brushed this aside as just another one of his nasty remarks.

Last week she thought about the pattern of her relationships and realized with a start that she is needy, anxious in relationships and far too excited at the start of a relationship to the extent where she bombards her new friend with texts, information, love and availability. Admitting this to herself was a big step and lead to some self loathing, depression and anger, finally winding down to a desire to research the condition and do everything in her power to cure it or work within the boundaries of it – whichever was required. Since neediness, or codependency can be cured if one works on it that’s what Nidhi is doing.

The first step was to try to identify what could have caused this personality trait.

“Though partly genetic, our lifelong attachment style is largely a result of how we as young children learned to relate to our parents.

There are three basic types—secure, anxious and avoidant. Secure people are warm and loving and most likely were raised by a consistently caring and responsive caregiver. Avoidant people, whom psychologists also call “dismissive,” try to minimize closeness and often were raised in an atmosphere where neediness and insecurity weren’t tolerated.

Anxious people are the ones who typically are seen as needy. They worry about whether their partner loves them, and they most likely had parents who were inconsistently nurturing.” This is taken from a heartening and knowledgeable WSJ article is called ‘Being needy is a relationship problem with a cure.” Good to know.

Is neediness the same as codependency? A codependent gets their needs met by taking care of others – so in a sense a codependent is also needy but not being honest about his or her needs.

Codependency is much more common than we’re aware of and the symptoms get worse if left untreated. The good news is that codependency is reversible.

This article from Psychcentral lists the symptoms of codependency. They are

Low self-esteem


Poor boundaries




Dysfunctional communication




Problems with intimacy

Painful emotions

The good news is that there is hope and if you do identify yourself as codependent there’s a lot you can do. Consider joining an organization like Codependent’s Anonymous and start working on yourself. Alternately, go for therapy, or read all you can and work on yourself. Work on your self-esteem, identify your needs, learn to communicated honestly, acknowledge your feelings.

And finally, after the lists of symptoms and the ways to identify whether or not you are needy, here is a wonderful article from Dr. Craig Malkin, with concrete steps you can immediately put into practice if you do think you are needy.


Get connected – make clear requests.

Practice emotional mindfulness – instead of getting rid of the feeling try to understand it

Take stock of your relationships

Make room for your needs – how you express your needs will change dramatically once you start taking them seriously because you will know what they are and where they come from.

In his reassuring Huffington Post article Malkin writes “When all is said and done, the key to overcoming neediness is to respect your needs for connection instead of fearing them. When you do, the chaos of neediness gives way to the clarity of intimacy. And everyone’s happier for it.”

When relationships don’t take off, it’s useful to take a long hard look at oneself, as Nidhi is doing, and identify behaviour that should be ringing warning bells. The most exciting thing about Nidhi’s journey is that the end goal is no longer a relationship but a more balanced Nidhi who’s comfortable with herself. That’s worth a dozen relationships.


About Kalpana

Trying to change the world one blog post at a time. I write. It's the best thing I can do. I am the Hanged Man, the Fool, the sometime Magician. Whether I travel in my imagination or in real life I write about it and show you pictures either through my photography or through the pictures I paint with my words. I read books and write fiction. During working hours I teach English as an Additional Language. I edit.

Posted on January 13, 2014, in codependency, communication, control, Divorce, habits, love, therapy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: