Have you ever been in a romantic relationship or friendship with someone who told you that you were too clingy or needy? We have all been there to one degree or another. In my opinion, I do not like the terms ‘needy and ‘clingy’ as being called this by another person who is significant in our lives – is very shameful and demoralizing. Being called this does not offer any help to the person who is strongly attached to someone on an emotional level. In actual fact, being labelled as needy has detrimental effects on our self esteem and it can lead to people feeling depressed, and in worse cases self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
So we need to come from a place of compassion, empathy and understanding, before we point the finger, blame and shame a person for their behavior. Usually people who are classified as ‘needy’ by others in society, have experienced some kind of emotional trauma when they were growing up as a child. This can be anything from having an alcoholic parent, being brought up in a household that didn’t have any emotional support (emotionally unavailable parents), loss of close relatives to illness at a young age, social isolation and shunning by peers at school and bullying. Emotional neglect and the lack of connection, safety and comfort when we were children, is possibly one of the biggest causes of needy behavior.
When we are children, we are heavily dependent on our parents to keep us safe, supported, loved and cared for. When these needs are not met by our parents, this is when dependency issues come in. Once we become adults, we subconsciously search for those who can provide us those needs that we didn’t get as children. In some cases, people can often be attracted to those who will continuously expose the same wound time and time again. It is very common for codependent people to be attracted and fall for narcissistic individuals who will emotionally abuse and abandon them consistently. This vicious cycle can last for many years, if not decades and it can destroy your emotional well-being completely.
People who have been through this, usually are desperate to feel validated, accepted and secure by others – it’s like there is empty part of themselves that needs to be filled so they feel complete and happy. It is very common for people with strong attachment styles to have an extreme fear of being alone, dumped and abandoned. This is because it opens up the same emotional wound of feeling unloved and unwanted, which can be extremely distressing for some people. So when they meet someone who makes them feel like they are literally walking on cloud nine, they automatically get hooked on to them because they believe that they can have the power to fill the emptiness inside themselves and complete them.
This destructive behavior pattern can tear relationships apart, due to the amount of pressure that they put on to the other person. The fear of abandonment can lead to extreme bouts of anxiety, jealousy, and dread. These people can sometimes go to the extremes of looking down their partner’s phone and inbox to make sure that they aren’t texting anyone else to replace them in the future. This sort of behavior, if it’s caught red handed can lead to extreme conflict, emotional pain and eventually a break-up of the friendship or romantic relationship.
The best way to overcome needy behavior, is to connect to your inner child through journaling or meditation techniques. Thank you for reading.