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How to Satisfy Your Needs Without Being Needy

How to Satisfy Your Needs Without Being Needy

Many people avoid people who are needy and clingy. I surmise you are one of us — people who avoid them like they have communicable, deadly disease. Am I right?

I would understand why if you are. You have to prioritize fulfilling your needs before even thinking of meeting others’ needs. No need for apologies there. That’s a logical thing to do.

On a personal note — needs are needs, whether simple or not. If they’re not met, and sometimes that’s the case, you feel miserable, or at the very least, uneasy. Especially if you’re the sensitive type. You can’t work well when your needs are not met. For instance, you’re a Coke drinker like my wife, and you can’t grab a can of your elixir because the 7-Eleven branch near you ran out of cans of Coca Cola. You can’t have Coke so you can’t put out your usual performance. Your inability to get an instant sugar fix from Coke makes you needy and a poor performer.

Your need for Coke is not being met, thus your work suffers. No-brainer, correct? Wrong! It’s not as simple as it seems. Steve Pavlina can explain further. I have to clarify, though; that Steve has great points about this topic. However, with all due respect to him, I have different sentiments on some sub-topics.

Let’s check Steve Pavlina’s viewpoint on his article “How to Meet Your Needs Without Being Needy”…

On the one hand, we’re taught that we have certain needs as human beings, including survival needs (food, water, shelter, etc), emotional needs (belongingness, love), self esteem needs, etc.

Whether or not all of these concepts qualify as true needs is debatable. The idea of there being a clear hierarchy of needs, such as Maslow’s, is debatable too — and as far as I can tell, that model has been pretty well debunked. But we can probably agree that some non-essential aspects of living can preoccupy us at times, giving us the perception that these unsatisfied elements qualify as unmet needs.

On the other hand, we’re also taught that it’s undesirable to be needy or clingy, as if needy people have been afflicted with a disease that we wouldn’t want to catch.

Needs vs. Neediness

What’s the difference between having needs and being needy? It has to do with how you approach getting your needs met.

There’s nothing wrong with having needs and wanting to see them met. That’s perfectly fine and doesn’t automatically lead to neediness. What causes neediness is when the supply is scarce. This can lead to a competitive stance, whereby meeting your needs requires that someone else must necessarily have their needs unfulfilled.

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If you need water and there’s a scarcity of water, that can certainly put you in a needy situation. You may experience thirst, and when you’re in that state, you’ll go out of your way to quench that thirst. If other people want water too, but there isn’t enough to go around, the landscape becomes competitive. Someone may end up going without.

What about emotional needs? The same situation can come up. For example, if you perceive that you have a need for touch and affection, then whether you’ll experience neediness or not depends on the scarcity or abundance of people willing and able to help you meet that need.

If you perceive this supply as scarce, you’re likely to feel needy, which encourages you and others to assume a socially competitive posture.

But if you have a need and there’s an abundant supply that you can access, you’re unlikely to feel needy. You can simply go and access that supply whenever you want, and you won’t deplete the supply enough to feel that you’re in competition with others.

Accessibility

Accessibility is a key factor here. For some emotional needs, there may technically be a vast supply available, but you may find that supply inaccessible at times. Often this is due to a lack of skill or some limiting beliefs that prevent you from having full access to the resource.

Suppose you perceive a strong need for sharing touch with other people. The supply is readily available. There are billions of other people on earth, and many of them would love to share touch.

But how easily can you access this supply? Have you developed the social skills to invite people to share touch with you, such that your invitations are accepted often enough to satisfy your needs?

Also, do you have any limiting beliefs that might be getting in the way of accessing the supply of available partners? Do you feel it’s odd or problematic to invite someone to help you meet this need? Would you feel uncomfortable issuing such invitations?

Do you artificially constrain the supply, such as by holding a belief that you can only share touch with someone you’re in a committed relationship with?

Chasing and Clinging

Usually when people feel emotionally needy, there’s a ready supply of people who could help them satisfy their need with ease. The neediness is really caused by self-imposed and/or socially conditioned limitations that artificially limit the person’s ability to access that supply.

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When a person feels needy, they’ll often exhibit behaviors that can be classified as chasing and clinging.

Chasing occurs when someone perceives a potential supplier for their need, but the supplier isn’t completely willing to meet that need. But since this person doesn’t perceive many other viable options, it becomes their goal to convince, persuade, or manipulate this supplier into a position of satisfying the unmet need.

Clinging occurs when a supplier is secured, but the person still doesn’t feel they have many other good options, so they do their best to cage or trap this supplier, warding off any potential threats to the supplier relationship. The perceived difficulty of replacing the supplier incites clingy behavior.

Both of these behaviors are artifacts of a competitive scarcity mindset. Fortunately they can be overcome, sometimes by building better social skills, sometimes by overcoming limiting beliefs, and sometimes by a combo approach.

Acknowledging Your Needs

One of my emotional needs is that I need to be touched a lot. It’s not a core survival need — without touch I won’t die — but I’ve seen that I function much better physically, mentally, and emotionally when I share a lot of touch. Ideally I like to be in direct physical contact with a woman for at least an hour each day, if not several hours (such as by cuddle-sleeping together at night).

With an incompatible partner who doesn’t like to be touched so much, I could end up being very needy and clingy if we were in an exclusive relationship together. That type of relationship would bring out my worst qualities. I’d feel a sense of scarcity. I’d feel sad, frustrated, or depressed that I’m not getting my needs met very well. I might spend a lot of time talking to my partner, trying to convince her to be more touch-friendly. I might blame myself for being so needy. I might try to let go of this need. In the long run, I might become resentful towards my partner, or numb and apathetic (turning off all my emotions to avoid feeling the sadness and disappointment), or just plain helpless. If I couldn’t meet this need, it could be difficult for me to function at my best. It would feel like something important was missing from my life.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead I could go another route entirely. I could clarify, acknowledge, accept, own, and then broadcast what I desire. I could recognize that if I like sharing touch so much, and if I feel it benefits me, perhaps there are some women out there who are very much like me. And perhaps it would be really nice to connect with a woman like that. Then we could cuddle each other as much as we wanted — for hours per day if we felt like it. I’d be happy with that arrangement for sure. And if she’s like me, then she’d be happy too.

Meeting Your Needs

Now if you have a difficult need to meet, you might conclude that it’s not worth the effort. Maybe you should just do without it and try to let it go. And perhaps with some effort, you could succeed. But this could consume a lot of extra mental and emotional effort.

On the other hand, what if there’s a ready supply available? What if the main obstacles are your own limiting beliefs and lack of skill? Then you just need to overcome those blocks once, and afterwards you’ll be able to meet your need with ease, as much as you desire, whenever you desire.

That’s the approach I used to satisfy my need for touch. I tried the old route of suppressing the need, but I always found that approach lacking — and rather distracting.

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Several years ago I decided to explore the opposite approach. First, I worked on my beliefs. I was able to release my limiting beliefs about sharing touch largely by acknowledging that if I appreciate touch so much, then probably lots of other people feel this way as well. So all I really need to do is find some of those people (or make it easy for them to find me) and invite them to touch. If they feel as I do, then there shouldn’t be any problems. We share touch, such as by cuddling together. We feel good. And everyone is happy. And we can do this repeatedly as much as we want.

I can also do other things while sharing touch with someone, such as having an interesting conversation… or sleeping… or watching a movie… or holding hands while going for a walk. So I don’t necessarily have to dedicate a lot more time to meeting this need. I can simply adjust my lifestyle a bit to make touch a more integral part of it.

Then we have the skill-building aspect. First there’s the skill of inviting touch. And then there’s the skill of actually touching. Those both seemed like fun and interesting skills to further develop. I embarked on a path of developing both sets of skills.

I practiced inviting women to share touch in a variety of ways. And I got very good at this — and felt very comfortable with it. Even when I was just beginning to explore this, almost every invite resulted in a yes, which was encouraging. So my assumption that many women felt as I did turned out to be accurate. All I really needed to do was to start putting out invitations… and to let that develop into an ongoing habit.

I also practiced the skill of sharing touch, which involved trying different things to see what felt good to me and the other person — cuddle sessions, spooning, light touch, massage, sensual touching, head scratchings, kissing, etc. That was simple, easy, and fun. It was rewarding to develop more experience and confidence in making people feel good through touch… and in teaching them how to make me feel good.

I remember one time when a woman asked me what I liked, and I told her that I loved head scratchings. She then proceeded to give me a really delightful head scratching while I rested my head in her lap — for 30 minutes straight! I was totally blissed out by the end of it and thanked her profusely. She replied, “Well, you told me what you liked, so why wouldn’t I do lots of that?” I told her I wished more women were like her.

It turns out that there are indeed a lot more women like her. I just needed some time to find and connect with them.

Abundance

The result of this approach has been a feeling of abundance. Now my life is rich with sharing touch — full of hugs, cuddling, and more. If I go some days without touching, it’s normally by choice, not because I can’t access the supply of potential partners.

Meeting this need doesn’t require any chasing or clinginess. The supply of people who enjoy touch is vast enough that I can simply focus on connecting with women who already appreciate touch as much as I do. There’s never a need to try to convince someone to share touch. If I perceive any resistance to such an invitation, I let go and move on. I know I can get this need met elsewhere, so there’s no point in getting clinging with a single unwilling non-supplier.

I’ve also noticed that as I’ve become more comfortable with this approach, and as I’ve stepped into the reality where I know how to meet this need very easily, all the neediness has left me. Now I can continue to meet this need abundantly without doing much inviting at all, largely by accepting invitations from others.

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I’ve had many similar experiences with respect to shifting from scarcity to abundance. The same process plays out with financial abundance, for instance. Learn to release limiting beliefs and develop the necessary skills, and you can eventually earn more money than you need. Then you may find that after you’ve released your financial neediness, the money continues to flow with even greater ease. New opportunities start coming to you, so you don’t even have to seek them out anymore, even though you could if you wanted to.

Gratitude

When I go through the process of releasing some form of scarcity thinking and replacing it with an abundance mindset and heartset, the result is a feeling of gratitude. This helps to lock in the new reality, making it easy to maintain.

One reason I receive invitations to share touch with other people is because I no longer feel any neediness. I expect and anticipate that this need will continue to be well met henceforth, even with minimal action on my part.

Most days people spontaneously offer me hugs. Women frequently offer to cuddle with me. Or a pre-existing cuddle partner is readily available. It’s nice to be on the abundance side for sure, and I’m grateful for it — because I still remember what it was like to be on the scarcity side and how that felt.

The benefit of experiencing scarcity first and then growing into abundance is the gratitude effect. When I’m holding a woman in my arms and we’re both feeling lovey-dovey towards each other, I feel immense gratitude that I’m able to invite and receive that kind of experience. I often tell women this too. These experiences are such a gift to me. I never take them for granted. Every experience of touch is precious to me.

When your needs are well met, you can essentially release them. Eventually you stop thinking about them as needs. Your old needs transform into new sources of gratitude and fulfillment.

By adding an extra thread of gratitude in your life, while simultaneously replacing a previous thread of neediness, you can significantly upgrade your default vibe as well as your overall quality of life. I find a cuddle-rich life to be of higher quality than a cuddle-scarce life. I’ve explored both possibilities, so I speak from direct experience. Cuddle abundance feels better to me.

It can take some time to feel that you’ve completed such an upgrade (often years), but when you reach the other side at least once (financially, socially, or otherwise), I think you’ll agree that the investment is worth the time and energy required.

Where in your life are you feeling neediness or scarcity? Where do you catch yourself chasing or clinging? Are you willing to commit yourself to a long-term, two-pronged approach that includes upgrading relevant skills and releasing limiting beliefs? If so, then I expect you’ll eventually succeed. It may take a while, but those years are going to pass anyway. You might as well emerge at some point in the future with the ability to meet your needs so abundantly well that you no longer perceive them as needs. When that future time becomes your present reality, you’ll be grateful that you made such a commitment.

I’m immensely grateful to my past self for making such a commitment to inviting and sharing touch with willing partners. I wouldn’t say it was particularly difficult, but it did take a certain level of dedication to growth in this area, as well as dealing with some occasional awkward moments. In my opinion it was worth it though. I must say that I absolutely love life on the other side of this need. It’s quite rewarding to land in a country I’ve never visited before and know that even if I don’t make a conscious effort of it, my desire to share touch will be easily fulfilled by delightful, heart-centered people. It’s also nice to know that I’m helping to meet their needs as well. 

:)

    If you want to read Steve’s article in full, please click the link below.

    How to Meet Your Needs Without Being Needy | Steve Pavlina

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    Anthony Dejolde

    TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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    Published on April 7, 2021

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

    While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

    1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

    Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

    If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

    In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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    2. They Make Everything Transactional

    Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

    For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

    Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

    A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

    Some statements to be wary of include:

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    • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
    • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
    • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
    • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

    3. They Criticize Everything

    One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

    However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

    Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

    • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
    • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
    • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
    • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

    4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

    We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

    For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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    This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

    5. They Socially Isolate You

    Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

    Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

    This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

    In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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    6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

    It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

    Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

    Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

    • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
    • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
    • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
    • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

    Final Thoughts

    It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

    More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

    Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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