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This post pretty much came about because I was asked if I had resources for Muslims who were discovering...
Having an issue today — and not a new one — with people presenting themselves or others, or one gender or another, as emotionally “needy” with all the uber-judgy negativity that gets packed onto that word.
It’s okay to have emotional needs.
Okay for men, okay for women, okay for people who identify as neither. Okay if you have them, okay if someone else has them. It’s okay if your needs aren’t the same as someone else’s, and okay if someone else’s aren’t the same as yours.
In the kind of relationships where working to meet some of each others emotional needs is part of the picture, which is the case with pretty much any kind of close, ongoing relationship, or an interaction which requires or asks for any kind of intimacy or vulnerability, it’s okay to need things. We really can’t not, and needing things isn’t a bad thing. And hopefully, with the people closest to us, with our most intimate, valued relationships, it’s okay for everyone in them to have times when they have emotional needs and ask for help in getting them met.
Hopefully, with the people closest to us, with our most intimate, valued relationships,one of the things we and everyone in them can find in them is a port in the storm when we need one. And if we’re living a life at all, even a life without deaths, abuses, natural disasters, or other large losses or agonies, we will need all one sometimes.
Not having or respecting limits or boundaries around needs? Those are problems or issues. Seeking more from one person than one person can possibly give, or things from someone we really need to be providing ourselves, at least to some degree? Also a problem. Codependency is also problematic, as is manufacturing or escalating conflict or crises for attention rather than saying, “Hey, you know, I need some attention: could you give me some right now?” Relationships where people have needs another person simply can’t or doesn’t want to meet and a refusal to accept that lack of capacity or desire (which doesn’t mean one has to accept those limits and stay put: acceptance can also mean moving on)? Problem. One-sided relationships where one persons needs are always met and another person’s are not? You know the drill: also problematic.
But it’s okay to be “needy” sometimes. It’s okay to have needs. That’s not about being a crappy person, not enough of a man or too much of a woman, not mature, not relaxed, not liberated, not independent, whatever. It’s just about being human. - HC