“To be emotionally self-sufficient is to have the key to the world in your pocket.” — Victoria McGovern
After spending the better part of the day with a certain person who shall remain nameless, I was sadly reminded of why I avoid spending time with her. Her emotional neediness knows no bounds. Even when she’s trying to mask this very unattractive emotion, it only returns with full force in the form of martyrdom. She’s a professional victim, and we all know how fun those people can be.
Everything was going fine. We were eating, drinking, and talking about everything and nothing at the same time, when suddenly, neediness reared its ugly face in the form of the following comment:
“Well, I never did anything in my life because of you!”
This all-encompassing comment was prompted by a conversation about Instagram creators. Do you see the connection? Yeah, me neither.
From that point on, the conversation went downhill.
I started noticing the usual expressions of anger and pride on her face. The expressions that let me know she always believes she’s right, and I’m always wrong. I’m the huge obstacle preventing her from living her best life.
Why Is Neediness So Ugly?
Neediness reveals more about the source than the target. Although the needy person’s objective is to shine a bad light on the target of their emotions, they put their emotional voids on full display for everyone to see. In their minds, they believe they’re perfect, and the one to blame is the person they make their target. This person is to blame because they haven’t showered them with the attention and praise they feel they so deserve. If only they could give their entire time and life to the needy person, then everything would be just perfect… at least for them.
The needy person fails to see that they are responsible for their own life. However, they take the easy way out and blame their failures on the closest target.
Neediness and Guilt
If the needy person cannot get their emotional hunger satisfied, they will resort to blame and guilt-tripping. If you don’t make this person your entire reason for living, then you’re failing miserably at life. How dare you go out into the world to make the most of your very limited time on Earth?
Guilt-tripping can be a very effective technique to get the target of the manipulation to do what is being demanded of them. The weight of the guilt placed on the target person can be so heavy that it can force them to yield to the pressure faster than microwaved plastic. If the target of such manipulation is new to this form of control, they will truly feel they have failed the needy person.
Needy People Are Professional Victims
An Oscar is not enough to recognize the level of expertise the needy person can display when playing the victim. They’re masters at their craft, and you, the unwilling audience, will need a keen eye to detect their act.
Here are a few things to watch out for to detect their Oscar-worthy performance:
1) Words such as “always” or “never” used to describe you or your behavior.
2) A subtle tilt of the chin upwards to convey arrogance in a way that says, “You’re stupid and selfish, and I always know better.”
3) Watery eyes. (This is a good one! One of their most useful techniques. It’s effective on me 97% of the time).
4) Dismissal of your desires and goals, prioritizing their own ahead of yours.
As your experience in dealing with these people increases, you’ll be able to spot behaviors that are unique to your needy gremlin. Keep an eye out for any behavior of theirs that makes you feel lower than crap. That is usually a red flag for shameless manipulation.
How My Deep Loathing for Neediness Has Affected My Own Behavior
I strive to need no-one. I know it’s an unattainable dream, but it’s a dream of mine, nonetheless. I’ve made a one-woman island of my emotional life, where very few people are allowed every now and then. Even those people see very little of me, and it’s usually them reaching out to me. I rarely reach out to anyone. Unhealthy behavior? Sure. Do I need a therapist? My friends and family respond with a resounding “YES!”
But this unhealthy behavior boils down to one simple reason: I would hate for anyone to think I’m needy.
If you’re needy, stop it now!
If you’re not needy, then keep on keeping on, my friend!