Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is Being Needy/Dependent an Intrinsically Woman Thing?


Yes, some of the self-help books might have you believe.

But No, says Therapy Doc.

This a gender-free issue and most misunderstood.

There are many sides to dependency, which is mostly a state of mind. When it's pathological it's a fear that you can't quite make it alone.

Needing your significant other to be there to make you feel whole not only feels bad for you, but it gives your s-o a burden that he/she may or may not want to shoulder.

When you're needy you're also vulnerable to predators who recognize that you want and need someone around. Then they can use you as their whipping board, so to speak.

So we docs push you to make it alone, to put yourself into situations where you HAVE to be alone, even if you're in a good relationship. That way you prove to yourself that you are okay, just you, yourself, and you. "Me, myself, and I" is an awesome triumverate. You guys get to do what you want. No sharing the remote. All the ice cream you can eat.

But sometimes being dependent is really not being dependent, it's wanting intimacy from someone who sees that need as being "needy." Like you shouldn't have a need for intimacy.

We in the relationship biz value intimacy. It stretches a person's identity. Especially emotional intimacy. In E-I a person can reach right into another's soul and really feel how that person feels, understanding why. When we listen and learn about another the knowledge makes us bigger, smarter, more caring. Wiser.

A capacity for intimacy is a GOOD thing, an indication that a person is more highly evolved, wants to share and be a part of another's life.

So wanting that when your partner isn't interested or ready may make you seem needy when you're really not. When one of you needs more psychological space than the other, it's a serious culture clash that can bust the relationship.

How do you negotiate that?

It's a big deal in couples therapy. Seasoned therapists work on getting the one who needs more space more comfortable with listening, if not sharing. At least if he/she is listening there's a hope for understanding and empathy.

So you can see why this being needy thing is not a woman thing or a man thing at all. If it's needing intimacy, then it's a good thing. We don't get hung up on fixing what isn't broken. A PERSON'S DESIRE OR NEED FOR CLOSENESS IS NOT DEPENDENCY. The fear of being alone can be.

The warning, of course, is that if your partner's need for closeness is ignored, it won't be for long. Someone will pick up the slack for you after awhile. And that is NOT a good thing.

Therapy Doc

Copyright 2006, Therapy Doc

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