Thoughts Being Needy


I received an email from someone who was in the workshop for clients in Scotland.  She’s raising a question about being needy and how to contain that neediness.  In some ways her question is also about how do we “get rid” of this part — as if it’s an offending part.  We certainly all know how “scary” being needy is.  It’s rejected in our world as not a good feature.  Here’s what I wrote in response to the question.  I wanted to share it with you all.  This whole topic needs a longer dialogue.  

Here’s the thing.   We all need people.  Needing people is an important thing.  It’s something to embrace.  The question always is which part of us is doing the needing?

When it’s a young part and their needs are “leaking out” then we’re not connected to ourselves inside.  When that happens the world seems to show up not wanting to meet that need, or shaming us somehow or making it all so much more complicated.

When we are there, befriending, acknowledging, understanding, caring about those needy parts of us who didn’t get their needs met in the past, then there’s a different experience that comes across outside of us.  It feels more “contained.”  Other people respond because their inner world isn’t feeling the pressure of the needy parts to fix them.  All this is done unconsciously.  The communication isn’t rational or logical – it’s reactive on both parts.

What we have to do is hold that “needy” part with love and offer it care.  We need to learn to listen to what it is needing from our grounded adult self, to offer it kindness, responding with goodness, understanding it’s needs.  We don’t have to fix the part’s needs or change it but rather hold it with love.

That helps the “neediness” inside  feel less overwhelming both to ourselves and to others around us.

I want to hear from you all.  How do you deal with your “needy” parts?


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22 Responses to “Thoughts Being Needy”

  1. Candy"Lynn" October 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm //

    How does one deal with needy parts….aw boy..okay.. honestly not always as well as i’d like.(.small gentle smile n shrug of shoulders ).holding that part of oneself with love…and not try to change or fix it….is not so easy to do… Awareness,Time and Practice is the key I think.When one realizes triggers exist and the awareness of them become more n more apparent. I think that helps .Then finding ways to acknowledge the part that is needy or reacting…like you stated is of utmost importance!!! Consciously loving the neediness with compassion and kindness..Doing that while not frustrating yourself when not done to ones desired perfection.. and while not draining those one reaches out to…ok is well…i haven’t mastered that yet… however, i believe continued practice and the hope that maybe ever so slowly with conscious steps to stay where one is within the moment..there is hope to become one and content within oneself.That is the hope for my tomorrow but for today…for this moment..I am who I am whether needy,motherly, childlike,or any other face that i wear .trying to find and use Acceptance ,compassion,kindness and patience while finding supportive networks is a few of the ways i try to deal with needy …not particularly liked parts…thanks for this web sites existence.


    • Deirdre Fay October 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm //

      Beautiful sharing, Candy “Lynn”.
      Reading the power of your process I’m glad we’re never done!!!


  2. fiona October 30, 2012 at 6:17 am //

    thankyou deirdre for the blog, your words have made me think deeply about how i am both towards myself and to others with regards to feeling needy i have always tended not to befriend or care or be with my needy part but to push it away and hate it, i find it hard feeling compassion for the part of me that needs help from others as it brings with it feelings i dont like or want but these last few days and your blog has made me think deeply about how i treat that needy part. i need to work more on stepping back and being with how i feel rather than in it and trying to find some compassion for that part of me that i find so hard to be with but yet is so obviously in need. thankyou eirdre for your blog



    • Deirdre Fay October 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm //

      Such wise words, Fiona. Frankly, compassion might just well be the lynch pin to healing.


  3. Bunchy October 30, 2012 at 7:09 am //

    This subject underlines the most painful and difficult part of my healing journey. Being needy was a sign of weakness and feebleness to many of my parts. I tried to ignore those parts, discard them anything to be in control again.
    I felt so often that they stripped me of my self awareness with their never ending well of dark lonely emptiness.

    The few times that those extremely needy younger parts attached to an outside caring compassionate person the dependency of their need brought more pain and lack of control. They would believe that their needs were being met, which they were to a point, however the attachment grew so that they wanted more and more …. Almost consuming the kindness of the person they believed they needed.

    The first glimmer of hope I had that this pattern could change was when I first went on Deidres site and read The House of Belonging by David Whyte.

    I got hold of a BSES manual and began to journey with these parts. The beginning of the manual speaks of the concept of belonging and it was several months before I could move beyond this section. For parts with such desperate need there no understanding at all of what belonging meant.

    Gradually as I worked through the skills and with my therapist I began to understand that only I could befriend these parts and offer the what they need. The most important thing to share at this point is that I realised that I, alone could not fill the deep dark well of their longing.

    What to do? I have a track of poem set to music by an Irish man. He speaks of the well of grief. He speaks of those that dare to dive into the deep dark well and how it is those who do who can find the small golden coins at the bottom.

    With the BSES skills, the poets words, my learning about disorganised attachment and my therapists help I dived into the wells of neediness.

    Yes I discovered the pain,yes I found the anguish of these parts, and yes I learned that with the help of spirit and the golden love the universe holds I could befriend these parts.

    No easy way, drawing, collage,writing, music all are part of this journey. Looking for help I the most subtle of places like seeing a heron still in the water watching, white swans flying when walking to contain the pain wasn’t enough, a rainbow soft in the sky. Learning to talk to these parts, to show them what is around in the present moment. Letting them see through my eyes, hear my voice. Letting my arms hold them when they are desperate by hugging a pillow, stroking my arms. Everything I would do for a lost lonely child I a learning to do for these parts.

    I the BSES skills deidretalks about befriending parts that is the way I a learning to deal with the neediness. As I progress with this I am discovering a freedom for myself I never knew was possible. This time of year as the darkness closes in and the needy parts get triggered is difficult. Again the BSES help as I am able to separate the past from the present and show these needy selves that their is brightness in the greys of October. Colours of autumn, twinkling lights, I have to call into their neediness and bring the into this moment and see beyond their dark world.

    A long sharing, perhaps because this is the most poignant and healing part of my journey.

    Learning all my parts belong to each other.


    • Deirdre Fay October 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm //

      What a gift you have given us all, Bunchy, writing so openly and authentically about the nature of belongingness and how needy we all are to belong.

      Thank you so much for the important work you are doing in your healing,


  4. fiona October 30, 2012 at 8:28 am //

    i get what candy lynne said about recognising triggers because i never really thought of how i felt as like being because maybe i had been triggered but now when i think of times when i have needed and still do need people it brings back feelings i dont like. i still find it hard to step back from how i feel and not let my feelings consume me. i would always deal with how i felt by pushing away my feelings, imagining my feelings in objects and putting the objects with my feelings in them in a box and stuffing them away but their still there only trapped in a box instead of inside you and that doesnt make them go away.

    bunchy i so can connect with what you say and how you feel, feeling like neediness is a sign of weakness, it makes me feel such a deep patheticness inside that i cant cope good enough, that i need other people. the fear of needing other people of not coping alone, the fear of dependancy. if only i could have a bin to put my feelings in t would feel like it would solve all my problems, if i could live on the moon and need no one it would be perfect but i know it wouldnt because its a lonely place to be inside me., i feel like i battle within myself, theres a part of me that wants people there and needs them and theres a part of me thats like NO i need no one. i have such a fear of needing people and feeling a closeness to people that i dont let anyone near, im kind of like opposite to you bunchy i dont want anyones closeness but inside me theres this hurt and loneliness like you spoke about and its like the only way i can stop the hurt is to keep people away but then thats a lonely life, its like inside yes i know i need help and i dont want to be alone but the feelings needing help and wanting people there create inside me are just as bad if not worse than the feelings that are there that need the help and need people around. thankyou bunchy for sharing that you to have felt that dark empty loneliness inside because i always just thought it was me that felt like that, thankyou bunchy, you spoke about how sometimes when you have felt like your needy part has attached to an outsider the dependancy of that need made the hurt greater and i so relate to that because for me its like it reminds me what i never had and that hurts to much and then i get scared that i need people and maybe thats why i just dont let anyone near??

    i feel kind of different in the sense that i dont let myself get close to people but its because im so scared of needing them and how needing people makes me feel that i cant cope good enough on my own but i think its also a fear of feeling because i know inside me is so much hurt from my parts that never got what they needed and i dont want to feel that hurt so maybe thats why i dont let anyone near so i dont feel that hurt and so i dont get hurt but im realising that doesnt make the hurt go away.

    i dont let people near because im scared to but what bunchy wrote has made me think what is it exactly that im scared of?

    maybe before i can start letting other people near maybe i need to start letting myself near, give myself what i need and stop pushing away those parts. like what bunchy said letting my arms hold my parts that are in need instead of pushing them away

    im sorry if i make no sense or talk rubbish this is the first time ive ever really managed to talk on the blog. thankyou to candy lynne and bunchy and deirdre for sharing how they feel and helping me feel like there is hope to change


    • Deirdre Fay October 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm //

      You make complete sense, Fiona. I love what the others have said. Neediness – vulnerability is an essential part of early growing up. If however, any of us get shamed at those important stages, well then we kill off these vital ingredient of being alive.

      May we all find our way to embrace and care for our needs.


  5. Bunchy October 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm //

    Hi Fiona

    I hear what you say about the fear of needing and isolating yourself. Such a desolate place to be.

    I was thinking about your words and how you would put feelings away. I then considered my needy part’s feelings and tried to use describing words to help me understand what exactly these ‘feelings’ are made up from.

    For me I find they are cold, desolate, alone, howling, aching in tummy, dark and ghostly, etc these are just a few of the “bits” that make up the feelings. As I thought I realise that trying to do the opposite to these words helps the needy parts. They are cold, I find a warm blanket. They are alone, I can put tv on or make phone call. They are howling, I can play gentle music. They are aching in tummy, I can suck a barley sugar or mint. They are dark ghostly, I can buy fairy lights and put them around my house.

    These are not complete resolutions, they really help and give me practical actions to ease the helplessness of the neediness.

    I’m so glad you wrote Fiona ad Candy, sharing in the blog is a step away from that vortex of neediness. We are helping each other!



    • Deirdre Fay October 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm //

      Thanks for your wonderful contribution, as always, Bunchy. I love your exploration of finding the opposite. In meditation circles we’d think of it as finding the antidote. Lovely description.



  6. fiona November 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm //

    i get how you need to find compassion and understanding for your needy parts but what do you do when having needy parts and needing others, the fear that creates inside you that those people you need will / do hate you for being needy fills you with such fear that the people you need and reach out to hate you that you distance yourself from those people even more.

    one of the exercises on the bse course is seperating facts from feelings but the problem is when you know that how you feel ie if you need someone they will/do hate you that your needy is a fact then the feelings cant be seperated because the facts and feelings become intertwined, then the only thing that does stop how you feel is to shut yourself off from people and need no one so you cant ever be hated but then that doesnt take the hurt away inside from the needy part thats in you


  7. Candy "Lynn" November 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm //

    Fiona…I am not a professional per say..I do work with a therapist or two and the bse skills manual.What i do.. and i cant say i do it 100% but i sure do try and my triggered(that is when i become needy) periods have gotten much less.I use to try and do it all.. just get rid of the needy parts and that often meant being angry with myself,belittling myself in the thoughts and feeling phase..Now, when i notice the thought(triggering) starting before it get to the feeling stage.. I try and change the thought to a positive one or remind myself that this is not in the moment now.. and that focusing on something in the here and now helps.Doing something Anything(read, watch tv,play instructment, exercise,etc)I’m trying…to work it myself instead of doing what comes natural and thats running to someone that i’ve become attached too that is only fulfilling that desperate need from a dysfunctionall neediness.. that helps me be grounded in the now moment rather then feeding the old stuck thought process.If the thought continues.i try and talk to myself.That may sound a little strange to someone that doesn’t understand the process( the thought process,choosing to use different words,words of compassion and kindness)example,Ok,im feeling a little lonely, a little scared,maybe even like crying.Its okay.Its okay to feel this way. I give myself a cuddle hug envisioned in my head.Try to envision n use the same energy id give to a hurting child or my daughter to myself.Often, i do something that comforts me.. Now, that takes some practice to figure out what works.It actually has become rather fun.It has not always been as easy or fun..For me it has become more comfortable.Its the very first steps i think..before delving into the feelings we know or perceive what we think others may think or feel because of our neediness.I can relate to everything you have written…I to have felt n have been so dysfunctionly needy that my daughter, friends, family and even a therapist has been affected.I am now more aware because i watch the process ..thoughts..feelings..body sensations…Frankly its an exhausting process..its real work…i am willing to work the steps of those that come before me and that do all they can to assist those of us that still need work.Honestly..I think we alll are so much more capable then we give ourselves credit for.. I believe in you, me, and this process of change..Thank you for being so open and honest, sharing the processes you use and teh things that get you thru as well as ask for help.. Together,uniting in the process of healing makes the world a better place for you , me and the world we live in giving hope to others.. peace, hope and love….to you and all.i dont know if this helps you but .i hope this helps in some small way…i so so so wish i was more efficent at this and i long for the day when all is second nature and no longer work.Progress is evident and for this moment this day..i remain more hopeful then ever….


  8. Candy "Lynn" November 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm //

    Oh.. and i think to our heart of hearts…we with practice can know when its needy parts compared to needy poeple or connections.or both!!. i think we all need people but i also understand the feelings of come closer.. no n go away..far away….as deirdre says…may we all continue on our journey of healing and find the connections and peace we all need… n courage to continue on when it is dark…yes i want the gold coins at the bottom..i will dive…hope you all will too..


    • fiona November 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm //

      candy “lynne”, your words what youve said have helped in different ways, to not only know im not alone in how i feel, having needy parts, but also to hear how your moving forward gives me hope. thankyou

      bunchy wrote about finding an oppoiste to how you feel, for examply if you feel alone then wrap yourself in a warm blanket and hold yourself or if you feel eempty make yourself a nice warm milky drink, things i never thought of doing but things im going to try

      candy “lynne” your so right, this is work, isnt it funny how you spend maybe 12 years at school learning what you learn but from all the things you learn at school learning about yourself wasnt one of the things i learnt, im only just learning about that now years later.

      i know i must seem weird but as soon as i start to feel i need someones help and as soon as i ask or they offer the help im like a olympic athlete that wont ever be beaten, i run. i dont have a problem with people accusing me of being needy infact they say the opposite, they go on about how its ok to need their help i guess its just me thats weird that finds it so so hard to need and accept help

      i know those gold coins are at the bottom of the well and i also know that some day all of us that so deserve them will get them, one day


  9. Candy "Lynn" November 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm //

    Fiona… i do not believe you are weird…in any way… I mis communicated about me..I also…fight with the real need as a human ..needing people…i am the one that says im needy..i reach out in panick as a needy person at times.. but soon as i do i feel horrible.. I know though can be draining on people that give of there kindness.. because it is not others place or responioblity to fix me or my needy frightened parts.. It is mine alone…I do relate to every thing you speak of…again thank you.. I value your responses, your blogging and i am grateful for this web site.and for all who blog. I have taken up enough space fro now….


  10. fiona November 3, 2012 at 10:22 am //

    candy “lynn” thankyou for sharing how you feel, it so helps to know im not alone in how i feel. reading what you had written, how you feel, my heart went out to you because i know how that feels to fight against yourself with what you need, then reaching out then the feelings that your left with inside after you manage to reach out, my heart goes out to you because i so understand how you feel, thankyou for your reply,

    when i read what you said about how you feel, my heart went out to you and then that made me look at myself, how i can feel compassion and empathy for someone else that feels as i do but yet i cant find the same empathy and compassion for myself . it made me think about how i see myself compared to others. when i read what you wrote i felt so much empathy and compassion for how you feel but yet i cant seem to find that empathy and compassion in myself for how i feel, reading what you said made me realise that although you feel just how i feel with regards to needing help my heart goes out to you because i know how it feels to feel that way, its a truly horrible feeling, when i read your words my heart went out to you, i was filled with compassion and empathy for you in how you feel. but yet i cant feel the same way towards myself for how i feel even though we are both coming from the same place. its strange how i can have so much empathy for other people, i dont see in others what i see in myself even though perhaps the feelings are similar, reading what you wrote about how you feel my heart just went out to you because i know how it feels to feel like you describe but it puzzles me how if i can have so much empathy compassion and understanding of others who feel similar to how i feel why cant i have the same empathy and compassion towards myself?

    in deirdres bse manual theres a quote by carl jung, it says

    that i feed the beggar, that i forgive an insult, that i love my enemy…all these are undoubtedly great virtues…but what if i should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea the very fiend himself- that these are within me, and that i myself stand in the need of the alms of my own kindness, that i myself am the enemy who must be loved- what then?

    reading what you had written and how you feel candy lynn about you also fighting with needing people made my heart go out to you because i know how that feels but its also made me think about how i can have so much compassion and empathy for others who feel as i do but yet i cant always find the same compassion and empathy for myself.

    thankyou for your reply candy “lynn” i hope that one day we will all find inner peace love and compassion for ourselves as well as for others. your reply has touched me deeply, to know im not alone in how i feel and also as it has shown me how i can feel compassion and empathy for others in a similar place but yet find it so hard to show the same compassion and empathy to myself. food for thought!

    thankyou for sharing your feelings and helping me know im not alone with how i feel, im not very good with words but i just wanted to say thankyou


  11. fiona November 3, 2012 at 10:41 am //

    maybe a way to try and deal with feeling needy and needing help is to look upon how you feel and what you need as if it were someone else needing the help, like looking at my needy part when i need someones help and thinking to myself ok if that was my friend how would i treat her if she needed help because i know i see other other peoples needs different to how i see my own when it comes to needing help, i never see anyone else the way i see myself if they need help so maybe if i try and think of myself when i need help as my friend maybe i will stop giving myself such a hard time because i know i dont give other people a hard time when they need help because there is nothing wrong with needing help but when it comes to me needing help its like i have one rule for everyone else and a different rule for me

    thankyou deirdre for starting this blog and thankyou to candy “lynn” and bunchy for sharing how they feel


    • Deirdre Fay November 3, 2012 at 11:15 am //

      perfect way to start, Fiona. Along the way, as you open your own heart of compassion you’ll learn to send that same kind of care to yourself.


  12. Katie November 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm //

    Hi Deidre, I feel I have some serious issues around neediness and abandonment. It comes from my childhood – from birth on. My parents are still alive so the abuse still continues. I try to prepare myself and visit only when I have to but they still seem to verbally and emotionally abuse me. I struggle with this constantly and I expect more from people than they can give. I have no idea how to deal with this and it hurts so much. I feel like I’m caught in a trap and no where to turn. It is also very lonely as I’m too embarrassed to talk with anyone about this. Katie


  13. Bunchy November 19, 2012 at 6:16 am //

    Hi Katie

    I’ve read your post a few times and it is the acknowledgement that you feel as though you’re caught in a trap that seems to cry out to me.

    I think it is because I can relate to what you say and have experience of believing I was caught in a trap.

    I always called the neediness and pain you describe as The Hurting from a very very young age. It felt like an ever consuming neediness and, as you describe could never be consistently met by others as the empty black hole inside never got filled.

    You have done an amazing thing by writing on the blog and expressing the needy parts of you, perhaps you could see it that those needy voices have been able to whisper their pain in the writing.

    That seems a very good way to begin a journey that holds the potential for great healing.

    I know that when I used to feel terrible neediness inside it would ache, like a tormented child writhing in pain. There would sometimes be anger as people who’d been caring would leave and not be there all the time. Once I realised these feelings were undeveloped child’s feelings I was more able to work with them.

    Learning the BSE skills has been a huge part of a journey of healing and the inside changes have brought freedom I didn’t know was possible.

    After reading your post I have thought hard about what might have helped me when I was still consumed by the neediness. There are several things that came to mind and I’ve been questioning whether it is right to hope that things that helped me will help another.

    Perhaps at this stage I would share with you the belief that the ‘trap’ can be opened. It takes time and it is ourselves that hold the key to unlocking the trap. Others come into our lives to help, care, support as we search within for the key.

    I have been typing out other practical things that have helped me and then deleted them as I don’t know if they would be helpful for you. One thing I would say is to try and think of a scene where you are outside and you see a small child crying. She is in distress and has lost the person who was looking after her. Think about what you might do, would you go to her, how would you speak to her, would you hold her to help her calm down and be less afraid.

    As adults we speak softly with care and tenderness to a child who is alone, scared and distressed. I have found that when I speak inside to the pain and neediness as though speaking to an abandoned child then the clenched up ball in me eases bit by bit until I am able to use the many practical excersises I’ve now developed that free me from that desperate place inside.

    Well that is a lot of writing, I have heard you Katie and am so glad you wrote on the blog, it’s a good place to find your voice,



  14. fiona November 21, 2012 at 9:37 am //

    hi katie

    i read what you said both on this blog and on the other blog about change. i so understand how you feel, needing to be liked so you dont feel so alone. for me its a loneliness thats so deep inside that simply being around people just doesnt even get near to taking the hurt away. sometimes having people around just makes that loneliness hurt all the more.

    i wish there was something i could say that could help but right now i dont seem to have anything to say that would help but i wanted to let you know your not alone and keep strong. sorry i cant say anything of more help



  15. Jennifer Szeto October 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm //

    Hugs, kisses, cuddles in safe space, holding hands

    Paying attention; offering love and acceptance; listening

    At least, this is what I try to do. It doesn’t always work; sometimes I get frustrated or angry too. Impatience can also cause problems as does miscommunication with parts who struggle with language (too young to talk and / or too scared to share).

    I like this article. Thank you for putting it up. I feel less ashamed of the complicated feelings inside of me right now.


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