Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Needing Being Needy?

I think it's safe to say that romantic relationships bring out the baggage--some pretty bags and some ugly ones too. Having been married, separated, and divorced, I have a different view of romantic relationships than other singles.
Enter: the issue of neediness. I think women have been trained to be independent in their relationships with men--for fear of being "needy". We think that if we remain aloof and uninvested, a man will want us more. So then what happens once the man has married us? Do we continue to be independent? Is that healthy for any relationship? Or is it good to ask for what it is that makes us feel loved and important?
I've been confused. So I started investigating the topic. Karl, the sage of relationships, stopped me when I described my behavior as needy. He asked me to go deeper into what I meant. When I told him that I like to feel connected to the person I'm dating throughout the day through phone calls and texts, he told me that it's okay to express that--that it's not being needy. I wasn't DEMANDING phone calls and texts, but I had expressed that I like them. Apparently, there is a difference. :) When I asked for those little tokens of affection, I wasn't going to be mad or sad if they were not given. That would be needy. Communication is so important in the success of a marriage, so why not start off on the right foot?

By NLM in Creating Boundaries, Help Lists, Marriage, Surviving Sexual Abuse | 1 Comment

5 Reasons Asking for Love is Important

Excerpted from “Safe People” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Why is learning to ask for love so important? Here are a few of the reasons asking is helpful for us:

1. When we ask, we develop humility.
To request help or support from another destroys any illusions of self-sufficiency we might harbor. Asking helps us remember that we are incomplete, that we are needy, and that we are to seek outside of ourselves to take in what we need. This creates the position of humility in us, which opens us up not only to others, but to God: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

2. When we ask, we are owning our needs.
Asking for love, comfort, or understanding is a transaction between two people. You are saying to the other: ‘I have a need. It’s not your problem. It’s not your responsibility. You don’t have to respond. But I’d like something from you.’ This frees the other person to connect with you freely, and without obligation. When we own that our needs are our responsibility, we allow others to love us because they truly have something to offer. In other words, asking is a far cry from demanding. When we demand love, we destroy it.

3. When we ask, we are taking initiative.
Asking is the ultimate ‘Passivity-Buster.’ It helps us out of the trap of wishing and hoping someone will somehow sense our pain intuitively and come to our rescue. This also means that asking keeps us much more in control of our lives. We aren’t dependent on the clairvoyance of our friends (what a relief to them!).

4. When we ask, we are developing a grateful character.
God cherishes a grateful heart. He knows that gratitude will produce love in his people. Those who have been helped will help others. Those who have been loved and forgiven little, love little (Luke 7:47).

5. Asking increases the odds that we’ll get something.
Though it sounds too obvious to say, it’s important. How many times have you neglected reaching out to someone who is now absent from your life? Askers really do tend to get more out of their relationships.

What do I ask for? This is important, because many of us confuse function with relationship here. In other words, we’re not talking about borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor, or getting a ride to the airport. Asking for functional reasons is fine, but it will not help you develop relationships. In fact, it’s easy to avoid relationships by asking only for functional things.

Men tend to have a problem here. We’ll sometimes form relationships built on functional neediness. Sometimes this type of connection is called ‘foxhole buddies,’ where there’s a truly deep affection between two men who have depended on each other through tough times. Yet they may have trouble connecting emotionally.

Learn to ask your safe people for the very things you found them for: a relational connection. Learn how to ask for your emotional stomach to be filled just like you’d ask for breakfast for your physical body. Ask someone to be with you spiritually and emotionally, the same way that Jesus asked his closest friends in his darkest hour.

Sound difficult? It is. But asking for help will enable you to internalize your safe people in places of your heart that are darkened, alone, and cut off. Take the first step. Ask.

1 comment:

angela said...

Isn't it funny how afraid of asking we are? I remember when Trav and were first married and I was explaining some of my frustrations to our counselor and she simply said: have you ever asked for what you need?

Well DUH. It was like lightbulb went off. Why on Earth would I just assume this other person would read my mind simply because we were married and in love??

Glad you are back blogging here. It suits you. :)