I’ve talked to SO MANY of you amazing souls this week and one of the biggest concerns I’ve noted from my Anxious and Fearful Avoidant followers, is their unwillingness to express their needs and desires to their partner in fear of appearing too “needy”. This honestly breaks my heart because:
A) There is nothing wrong with having “needs”. Every human has needs and communicating them to your partner is essential in maintaining a healthy relationship.
B) Not communicating your needs due to fear of appearing “too much” or “too needy” only breeds resentment, passive aggressive behavior, relationship disastisfaction, and most importantly, self-neglect.
By not acknowledging and communicating your needs, you’re subconsciously sending a message to yourself that someone else’s needs are more important than yours…And that you’re willing to ignore your needs or suppress them in order to make sure that others are happy and comfortable.
But really, if you’re Anxious or Fearful Avoidant, the real reason you’re afraid to express your needs is because you have an underlying fear of abandonment and/or betrayal. And therefore feel that if you “ask for too much” then you will eventually push your partner away.
Now here’s the thing, anxious and avoidant types generally tend to be attracted to each other (due to reasons I’ll explain in a later post), but what ends up happening is that they end up in this push/pull dynamic because Anxious and Fearful Avoidants need a more consistent amount of closeness and connection, where as Dismissive Avoidants need more space and freedom. So therefore, in order to keep our more avoidant partners happy, anxious types will usually be the ones to neglect and sacrifice their own needs in order to keep the relationship afloat.
It’s important to note that Anxious and Fearful Avoidant Attached individuals generally do have more needs than other attachments styles, so learning to meet some of those needs yourself (incase other’s can’t fulfill that for you) is a vital part of your healing process. However, another really important part of healing is to accept and honor your needs!
For some clarity, here is a short description for general needs of each Attachment Style:
Anxious Attachment: You have a general need for deep connection, closeness, communication, attention, validation, consistency, reliability, stability, reassurance & transparency!
Fearful Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant): You also have the same needs as the anxious type, but you also desire a good amount of freedom and independence.
Dismissive Avoidant: You have a general need for space, independence, flexibility, freedom to engulf yourself in work and/or hobbies for long amounts of time.
This is why it’s crucial to know and really understand you and your partners attachment style so that you know each other’s needs, and most importantly, not take it personally when the other expresses their needs to you.
Lastly, I will say that it can be really difficult to authentically express your needs when you’re with someone that dismisses it, rejects it, criticizes it or gets defensive.
If this happens:
- Make sure you pay attention to how you’re communicating this need. Tone and language are really important.
- If your partner is not able to meet these needs, learn ways to meet them yourself & to self-soothe in healthy ways (This is where therapy or coaching can be of help).
- If you’re unsatisfied with the little amount of effort your partner is making to meet your needs, then also seeking help from a professional can be useful. Either your partner consciously makes an effort to compromise or you have to accept the reality that they aren’t going to change.
I want you to know that there are people out there that are willing to meet your needs. Trust me, I’ve had multiple experiences in this arena! And generally these types of more compromising people tend to have a primary or secondary secure attachment.
We can (and should!) always learn ways of becoming more self-sufficient and secure, however it’s vital to remember that having needs is normal and necessary for every human relationship. You might just have more needs than others, and that’s OK.
Neediness shame can go f%*K itself.