There are a number of reasons why people become so needy and desperate for love and attention.
Most needy people either did not have enough emotional nurturing in childhood, or had too much! It is easy to see that if a person is reared by cold, unresponsive parents they will be denied a basic need in childhood, and never grow past the stage of needing to have their worth confirmed.
The needy or desperate person has an overwhelming anxiety regarding rejection. They are sensitive to any indication that someone is withdrawing their attention from them.
They will view people who ignore them with intense dismay. They will try to change such a person’s opinion by falling over themselves to please them. But if such attempts fail they get bitter, retaliate and can even get harsh and nasty.
For the needy person, those who ignore them or who are hurt by their swinging moodiness, they are then considered to be enemies. They will be obsessed about such individuals, often bad-mouthing them to others.
A needy person is in an arrested stage of development, still looking desperately for the emotional support they lacked in their younger years. People who grow up without the presence of their parents, often have issues about knowing that they have “worth” as adults.
Now understand something here. We all get needy at certain points in our life!
There are days when we feel especially vulnerable. There are times when we crave encouragement, when we need to vent our feelings, or when we just require someone to tell us how special or wonderful we are.
Nothing is wrong with that! But… if we require such constant validation and extra special attention from every person we meet, every boss we have, every accomplishment we undertake, then we have an unhealthy need.
If we become angry or hurt every time someone fails to pay attention to us, then we are caught in an unhealthy struggle that can bring us only suffering.
There are many key behaviors that that define unhealthy neediness.
It is first, totally never satisfied or at rest. No matter how much confirmation or praise you give the needy person, the next day they will demand the same all over again. They seem to have a never ending need for attention and affirmation.
The reason is that they won’t stop needing affirmation until a basic but very real “inner transformation” takes place. That is, until they love themselves!
Making such an impossible request for support makes needy people very frustrating to deal with. Their need is absolute. You just spent an afternoon reassuring them, and perhaps helping them with a problem.
But a few days later you don’t pay careful attention to their complaints because you are just too busy or tired. They will be disappointed, surprised or even distraught that you deny them such necessary attention! They see your behavior as a dismissal! You can support them till the cows come home, but the next day is like starting over.
Another unhealthy behavior of needy people is that it’s driven by anxiety. Their major fear is being rejected. Such a fear makes the unhealthy needy soul behave irrationally. They will interpret events and actions through the “filter” of this fear.
They will judge you and your behaviors through the filter of their anxiety. So, if you pay less attention to them because you are busy, they believe (unconsciously) that you don’t care about them any more. They quickly start to panic as a result. They are also quick to only see your flaws, not their own.
One last example of extreme neediness is lack of insight.
Needy people are usually not aware of their unhealthy tendencies, and would not even describe themselves as needy. Particularly if they are a martyr type, they will never admit to themselves that their behavior is extremely selfish.
They expect something in return for their generous service. They are manipulative, and will use guilt or emotional blackmail to get attention if they feel slighted or corrected, or… they will draw attention to their deeds to gain praise. Yet, they have no clue that their behavior is destructive and that they are sneaky and deceitful in their dealings with people.
The only way to be “freed up” from this lifestyle of destructive behavior is to work with skilled and godly professional counselors or pastoral counselors who can’t be manipulated or fooled by the patterns of escape or blame that many use to avoid addressing (and being free) from the heartache and prison of desperate neediness.
God is wanting to show His compassion and mercy to the needy and fearful. But, there are times when painful events must take place in order for a personal reality check to stir and awaken the raw pain of past wounds, losses, shame, or even lack of childhood boundaries.
Christ came to cleanse out wounds, and bind them up to heal. Let Him have honest, full access to your heart. Face the pain, fears and misconstrued expectations that you place on those around you.
He can…. …. Set you free.
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray,” Proverbs 10:17.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
Duplication and sharing of this writing is welcomed as long as complete message and website information for Mary Lindow is included. Thank You!
Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.