Neediness versus Necessity in Relationship

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Neediness versus Necessity in Relationship
October 11, 2017 Nicola Neumann-Mangoldt

Relationships are well known for conflict potential. This is naturally based on the fact that two people with different background, education, experiences and opinions come together. It is rather unlikely that two people think the same way in every aspect or have the same opinion about everything.

However, conflicts also occur very often, because both partners are not aware of the distinction between neediness and necessity. Do you know people in your environment, who act in a needy way and make the partner responsible for their well-being? These could e. g. be people who expect that their partner does certain things, or acts a certain way.

What does neediness in relationship exactly mean? When you are needy, you make your partner responsible for your well-being. Your mood depends on the mood of your partner and on whether or not he fulfills your (mainly unexpressed) expectations. There are for example people who have a tremendous need for love and they only feel fine when they get both from their partner in huge quantities. But this shot back-fires pretty quickly.

The interesting question in this context is rather where the neediness comes from. Who is normally needy? … It’s small children. When you behave in a needy way then you act in the mode of a small child that depends on its parents and cannot generate itself what it needs. Well, and that’s the fly in the ointment!

Many people who are in relationship try to compensate what they did not get during childhood. If somebody for instance did not get enough love, time or appreciation from the parents, it may well happen that this person is longing for this and trying to fulfill this old need in the current relationship. In that moment you make your partner responsible for closing this old gab and you focus on all hints whether he or she meets this expectation or not. If your partner doesn’t, then you irresponsible little monster (your Gremlin) jumps up immediately saying sentences like „You never have time“ or „Why didn’t you call?” or „You don’t really care for me.“ Maybe you know such sentences. An alternative to that may well be that the needy person in childhood mode withdraws from the partner, sulks and doesn’t talk to him or her anymore.

When you are needy, you are victim of the circumstances. You whine or complain about what your partner does or doesn’t do and probably try to manipulate your partner to get what you want. In such moments you are driven by old emotions, which your partner triggered in you. That’s why you blame him, when he doesn’t fulfill your expectations. And it just seems right to do so, doesn’t it?

However, talking facts, when you act in a needy way then you are neither centered, nor present in the here and now, nor are you in your full power.

It is of course very comfortable to stay in the needy victim role. Then you are allowed to complain, whine, make the partner wrong, because he again didn’t give you what you needed and most of all you don’t have to take responsibility. Yet the only result that neediness produces is dependence. Neediness prevents authentic, adult relationship and intimacy.

Let’s do a little experiment at this point:

Experiment: Let go of the past

Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a moment. Imagine that a river is running right in front of you. Now take a look inside yourself. Somewhere inside is a hole from the past. Maybe it’s a hole telling you that you didn’t get enough love, warmth, intimacy, appreciation, tenderness or support. Whatever it may be, say the word(s) out loud now.

Now you have clarity about this hole. You just brought it to your awareness. Now take this big black hole literally out of your body and hold it in front of you. This hole accompanied you your entire life and influenced your interactions in relationship. Now you have clarity about it.

Keep observing this hole. There is good news and bad news about this hole.

The bad news first: Mom and Dad will never come to fill this hole!

The good news is: Mom and Dad will never come to fill this hole!

Yes, that’s right, the bad news are the good news at the same time. This hole is from the past. You can’t fill it anymore. Imagine you were very thirsty last Wednesday. It was a physical experience. You can still remember it. Does it help you, if you drink one liter of water today to quench your thirst from last week? No, it doesn’t! So you can stop right now to make your partner responsible for filling a hole from your past. This won’t work. If you keep trying this, this attitude produces nothing but dependence, emotional stress and distance in your relationship.

Are you ready to let go of this hole of the past for good? If so, then put this dark hole that you still hold in your hands in front of you into the river and watch it drift away into the past. It is over.

To transform neediness completely, it is crucial that you own your rage power again. The power of this feeling allows you to take care of yourself, set boundaries, make decisions and distinguish between neediness and necessity. When you take possession of your rage power and leave the neediness behind then clarity and presence shows. Then you can clearly see whether and when there is a real necessity in your relationship. A necessity comes from the being, not from the ego (or your box). The German word for necessity makes the difference pretty clear. In German necessity is called „Notwendigkeit“ and includes the words „Not“ which means  „emergency“ and „wendig“ which means „turn around“ or “avert”. So necessity is an emergency that has to be turned around. The difference between neediness

and necessity is in fact the purpose. The purpose of neediness is unconscious and irresponsible, because you try to fulfill your own ego-need from the past. The purpose of necessity is conscious and responsible and makes you take action or maybe set boundaries and find solutions.

Here is a simple example: Supposed you are sick and you normally look after the children. Now your partner comes home from his job and is pretty tired. When you are needy, you start whining, try to get attention and thus manipulate your partner so that he hopefully realizes himself that he should now look after the kids until you are fine again. In that case you expect him to look after the children. When you are instead in the responsible mode, then you clearly realize that you are physically not able to take care of the kids. You realize that it is NECESSARY to find another solution. Out of this necessity you ask your partner clearly for what you need, instead of waiting for him to find it out.

Here is another example from daily life: You bought two water boxes, which you cannot carry up the stairs yourself, because they are just too heavy. So you leave them at the foot of the stairs. Neediness would show e. g. by either saying nothing, but instead hoping that your partner will see the boxes and get the message, or you saying „There are two water boxes at the foot of the stairs“. Guess what…through this attitude you do not create any necessity at all in your partner. And after 30 minutes – he still hasn’t picked up the boxes – the next needy sentence might be “Oh man, I always have to ask you several times. You never take me seriously.” Necessity only occurs when you clearly say: „Would you please carry the water boxes into the kitchen for me? They are down by the stairs. Thank you.”

It could be that easy, right? As of now I invite you to start observing when you tend to act needy. Neediness and childhood mode probably worked fine back then with Mom and Dad.  However, being in this mode today, you create in the long run ordinary relationship characterized by dependence and scarcity, discussions and maybe even fights. And you create distance instead of intimacy and trust.

This is neither good nor bad. The question simply is which kind of relationship you want to create. An adult, fulfilling relationship is not possible when you are in the neediness mode.

Next time your partner pushes a red button in you or you realize yourself that you are whining and complaining about him or her (even if it only happens in your mind), then take a step backwards. Which need was triggered in you? Do you expect your partner to fulfill this need? Where does this need really come from? Take a look at YOURSELF. The answer is inside of YOU.

In the following you find some distinctions with regard to neediness and necessity.

Neediness Necessity
Comes from your box/ego. Comes from your being.
You act irresponsibly. You act responsibly.
You are victim of the circumstances. You are source of resources.
You manipulate your partner and others to get your needs met. You set clear boundaries and ask for support.
You make your partner responsible for your well-being. You are responsible yourself for your well-being.
You whine or complain. You observe neutrally what’s happening.
You try to fill a hole from the past. You are present with what’s there here and now.
You are adaptive. You are centered.
Your Gremlin is sitting at the steering wheel of your life. You are sitting at the steering wheel.
You create Low Drama. You create so called High Drama.
You are driven by old emotions. You use your feelings consciously in the present.
You don’t trust yourself. You trust yourself.
You blame your partner. You look first what’s your part in it.
You wait for something to happen or for someone to rescue you. You create and take actions.
You have expectations towards others. You ask for what you want.
You make yourself small. You use the power of clarity.
You follow an unconscious purpose. You have a conscious purpose.
You live in thoughts of scarcity. “There is not enough love, appreciation, etc.” You live in thoughts of abundance.
You are in childhood mode. You are in adult mode.
You use your feelings irresponsibly. You use your feelings responsibly.


In an adult relationship both partners do not depend on each other. Instead each of them stands with both feet on the ground and can also be happy without the partner. You use your “sword of clarity” to clearly differentiate between neediness and necessity. Maybe you once heard the sentence “Two unhappy people cannot be happy together.” So if you are unhappy without a partner, because then nobody fulfills your needs then it could be high time to take a look at this topic. Make sure you get into your own power first (so don’t try to manipulate your partner and try to change him. This doesn’t work.) Should you realize again that you partner just triggered a neediness button you think that he/she doesn’t give you enough love, well then switch to the responsible mode and create a moment of love yourself. Don’t go into dependence. You are the source. You can e. g. take your partner’s hand.

You are longing for more appreciation and acknowledgement in your relationship? Then start appreciating your partner. You can only receive what you send. You may know the sentence “As above, so below. As inside, so outside.” The distinction between neediness and necessity applies to the entire Universe. That means that by your inner attitude you create a necessity in the Universe. When you create thoughts of scarcity and neediness, then these thoughts go out into the morphogenetic field and the Universe can’t but generate more of scarcity and neediness in your life. However, if you switch to the responsible mode and become the source of love and appreciation then you create exactly the necessity in the morphogenetic field so that this manifests in your life.

Which attitude do you choose?

Best wishes,

Yours Nicola Nagel

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