Confession: My Struggle With Want and Need in Relationships

I never thought I was the saving kind; I ignored and bit at my parents when they tried to tell me over the years. I accepted it as my lot in life – I just attract people who need me, I always have and always will. Nothing wrong with that. Until you’re tired and burnt out, you’re credit is all shot to hell from giving too many leg-ups, and you forget what it feels like to be wanted. There were a thriving a few that stuck around because they genuinely wanted to, platonic and romantic relationships alike, most have passed silently through after they got whatever they needed from me with the odd reappearance to check in. I wrestled with it, wasn’t I supposed to be of service at all cost? But it never felt good, never felt right. Looking back, I’m not saddened by how much I gave without return; I’m saddened by how much I gave without thought to whether or not I wanted to give or could give responsibly.

I feel compelled to share this with you today because this has taken its toll on my life and in many ways I’m still making up for those choices. There were two driving limiting beliefs gave birth to this behavior of compulsive yes-sing. The first, if I’m needed in a relationship there’s a reason for the other person to stay (at least until the need is fulfilled); the second, that it’s not okay for me to need (or those that I need) people. I wore a sign that said, “Yes, I am a coat closet hang your burdens on me. I can take yours and hold onto mine too.” Not realistic, not sustainable. At all.

In the interest of full disclosure I present to you my exact thinking pattern in the relationship of want and need:

If I am in a relationship based on want then the other person could just up and leave anytime because it’s in the nature of want to change for no reason at all AND what would I have the offer them if I wasn’t there to fulfill a need? Why would they stay for just me? If I need someone or let them know that I need them they will leave, or chastise me for needing them, or fall short of what I need, or all of the above. I’m not enough… or maybe if someone really saw me I wouldn’t mean enough for them to stick it our when I really needed them.


Relationship of want and need

So this massive fear and misunderstanding of want and need sat heavy in my head and heart and those limiting beliefs *effed up a lot of my relationships. Sometimes I would decide I was done with it all; I wanted something healthier, more fulfilling. There’s always a few that slip through the cracks of your self-sabotage to give you a chance to choose something different. I would for a while, but as soon as shit got uncomfortable and shakey I high-tailed it right back into the familiar arms of my fears. Strange  how we can fight for the things that hurt us and push away the blessings that come into our lives. Have to love that Sacred Lie, we fight like hell to prove it true time and time again.

These limiting beliefs aren’t nearly as loud as they used to be, they speak in very hushed tones so it’s easier to hear the sane, self-loving voice that keeps me in check. I waiver from time to time, but I try to pay close attention to the foundation of my relationships and how they make me feel overall. Awareness people, know your patterns so you can keep them in check! I spend as little time possible dealing with energy drainers and drama and I have channeled my need to help into healthier outlets with this blog and the odd coaching session. These days I am far less inclined to carry the burdens of another into my life, but I am very willing to help them lighten their load.

I am enough. And so are you, and you, and you.


5 thoughts on “Confession: My Struggle With Want and Need in Relationships

  1. Pingback: The Road to Hell (and Ulcers and Debt) is Paved With Chronic People Pleasing | Live Hard Love Hard

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