For most women, one of the worst things we think we can be is needy. We don’t want to burden anyone, annoy anyone, or come off as “too much” to handle. We assume that it’ll be easier for everyone if we just shrink ourselves (physically and emotionally) so that we don’t take up too much space or impose on anyone else.
I’ve lived a lot of my life believing that. I didn’t consciously think of it that way, of course, and no one told me to shut myself down, but in hindsight, I see how my actions and attitudes about myself were formed around this idea that my needs made me weak and that I didn’t want to be a burden for others.
My new view: Fuck. That.
Here’s the thing, the idea that needs are somehow a fault is completely ridiculous; it’s just one more way that society has made women smaller throughout history (and has distanced men from dealing with their emotions). Well, the jig is up. Women have needs. Men have needs. Can we all be cool with that, please?
Also, by assuming that our needs are negative and we couldn’t possible impose them on our friends/family/partner/lover, we are actually doing more harm than good. We’re not “protecting” them from our crazy, needy nature, we’re shutting ourselves off from being truly understood and loved.
We’re also shutting the other person (or people) out, which could lead to a whole chain reaction of negativity.
An example: you’re feeling low because your needs aren’t being met → your boyfriend sees you’re upset, but you say you’re “fine”→ he assumes it has something to do with him → he starts getting self-conscious and feeling shitty about himself for not being able to make you happy → you notice he seems off, so you ask what’s wrong → he doesn’t want to bother you, so he says he’s “fine” → now you’re both in a funk and the cycle continues. See what I mean?
Now, what would happen if you’re upset and your partner asks what’s wrong and you give him/her an honest answer? There may be a little voice inside of you that says that if you really told them what you need, they’d say “I can’t deal with this,” slap you in the face, and walk out the door. Here’s a secret: that little voice is fear, and it’s usually wrong.
Is there a chance that the person you love will say they can’t deal with your needs and leave? Sure. But if that’s the case, then that’s a shitty move, and one thing you certainly don’t need is that kind of crap in your life. I would also say you should reevaluate how you choose a partner because clearly you chose poorly. You deserve to be with someone who you can be open with, who you can ask for what you need, and who will do the same to you in return.
Owning and addressing our needs is not a clean and easy business. It can be hard, it can be messy, it can scare the bejeezus out of you. Do it anyway. Ask for what you need and watch how your decision to be open will grow and nurture relationships instead of slowly tear them down.