Are you “Too Needy?” What does this title even mean and is it accurate?
“You’re too needy.”
“You expect too much.”
“Your expectations are too high.”
“Why are you acting like that?”
If you have ever dated, most likely you have been told at one point directly (or have been given an indirect message) that you are being “too needy.” Although our society predominately attaches this label more toward women than men, I think all of us (regardless of gender) can become overly cautious and insecure about our partner perceiving us as “too needy.”
In fear of being labeled “too needy” or “too emotional” we become insecure about any of our needs and we suppress them to avoid these labels at all costs. We subconsciously over compensate in the opposite way, denying most of our needs, in an attempt to project an “easy going” personality in all scenarios. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, as a direct causation, we lose our voice. This common dillema is confusing and can cause a lot of turmoil for you and/or your relationship.
Initially, starting a relationship is tricky; it’s new and you don’t want to dive right in head first, heart open. Some caution to the wind and holding back can be helpful in creating longterm safety and consistency. However, the issue becomes real when the suppression of needs and feelings, and avoidance of expressing your authenticity is the norm, (especially after the initial honeymoon stage is over). Fast forward through time and experiences together as couple, and you my friends, have a bigger problem than being perceived as “too needy.”
You may not even realize that even though you aren’t arguing, that your relationship is still not healthy and/or secure. If you’ve gone this route to protect yourself and to avoid “starting drama,” you may not be able to fully understand each other or know how to relate to one another on a deep level, because you have built your relationship on partial truths and un-reassured insecurities. (How do we fix this?)
I was introduced to an electro band called Chromeo in high school. It was different than most genres at the time and they almost have an 80s flare to them. I will never forget the first time I heard their song titled “Needy Girl.”
Its lyrics include:
“You’re a needy girl, I can tell when I look in your big brown eyes.
You want my world, but how can I do yours if i can’t do mine?
I try to change but somehow I always feel I don’t feel the same.
It’s all about what you want, what you say, how you feel, how you play the game.
Of course I dance to it, still to this day, but being a therapist has definitely tainted a lot of musical lyrics for me! I read into them more than my high school self did and I have the tendency to psychoanalyze most lyrical stories. I now think to myself, “Wow, there’s a lot to this catchy song.”
In a nutshell, my professional opinion in regards to being “too needy,” is this:
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with asking for what you need in your relationship, then you may be struggling with this insecurity. This fear is limiting you from being heard and understood by your partner; it’s denying you the ability to feel reassured in your partnership.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SECURE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP, and believe it or not, we have to work together in order to achieve mutual security! YOU’RE NOT “TOO NEEDY” BECAUSE YOU WANT THIS!
Here is the difficult part, because it requires you to look in the mirror. Even though you are not “too needy” for wanting security, you are responsible for how you express yourself! Your behavior and/or expression (or lack of expression) may be what’s “too needy” or “passive aggressive.” Make sense?
You have to take a risk and be vulnerable in these requests, verses what we usually do and pick petty arguments about things to snag attention. We have to be transparent and de-escalated. There is a HUGE difference between, “I may be acting irrational, but I really need some reassurance that you love me right now. I’m feeling insecure about that woman from your work,” vs “WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME? WHY DID YOU ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THAT WOMAN FROM WORK?! I DON’T GET WHY YOU LIKE HER SO MUCH!” (Followed by passive aggressive sighs and endless text messages).
Your partner will thank you and you will be surprised how different your partner hears, receives and responds to you if you take accountability for how you ask for what you need. This version of requesting your needs are not “too needy;” they are normal and healthy. Conflict is normal and healthy, insecurities are normal and healthy. We are human. Suppressing them, or indirectly expressing them are not healthy.
You will always be perceived as “too needy” or too much if you choose to not express your fears and needs in a calm, vulnerable way.