Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC
Me: “What stops you from getting together with a friend?”
Willow: “Well, I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, like I was too needy.”
Imagine it is a very hot and sunny summer day. You are outside, working hard, digging in a garden. You build up quite a thirst from the heat and hard work. You ask someone for a drink. They walk up to you carrying a pitcher with only a teaspoon of lemonade in it. They pour all of the lemonade in a glass and you drink it. You are still thirsty, but there is no more lemonade. What do you think of this? Are you “needy”? No, you are thirsty. What would you do? Many people say, “If there was no more lemonade I would drink from the hose.” If the person couldn’t do it, you would find another way to fill your need. But because we were talking about thirst, a physical need, usually there is no shame – we would just find resources elsewhere.
There are many reasons why someone would not have the resources available to fill our need – take for example a woman who is young when she has several children spaced closely together. If she did not learn healthy ways of coping with stress, her emotional resources may be stretched very thin. If one of the children is a sensitive soul she may need more than the young harried mother has to give. It is easier to say, “Buck up! Quit crying!” than it would be to muster the resources to fill the child’s needs.
If the child’s needs are repeatedly not met, she may internalize the Core Belief that “I am too much. I am too needy.” When this Core Belief is reawakened in the present with a Rubber-band Reaction, the old shame of being too needy will elicit the distorted thinking of emotional reasoning. As illustrated in Willow’s example, we need to use Self-energy and our Logical Parts to discern between the past and the present, between those people we can trust and lean on and those we cannot.