As a recovering alcoholic and a woman overcoming a life of self-loathing, I am an advocate for personal growth.
I’m all about self-reflection and striving to be better than I was the day before. However, despite how much growth I achieve, there are some things about me that will never change — my neediness is one of them.
We associate word “needy” with such a drastic stigma; we assume a needy woman is the one who doesn’t allow her man to go out with friends, who attempts to define her relationships before they begin, who sucks up attention that others truly do not want to give. Although I am none of those things, I do need.
I need to hear that you love me and that I am important to you.
I need you to return my texts, and I need simple gestures to let me know I am special. At least once a week I’ll ask my husband if he still loves me and my best friend if she’s mad at me. My love language is “words of affirmation,” and I cannot change it.
This isn’t to say I haven’t worked on my seemingly codependent habits. Like any of my other character defects, I’ve examined myself and taken necessary steps to improve this behavior and, over time, I have grown. No longer do I believe my world would end if I were to find myself single again. I’ve learned to be independent enough to make myself a priority, and I do big-girl things all by my big-girl self.
My days of rousing jealousy to get attention or starting fights out of desperation no longer exist.
I respect my partner’s privacy, and I have accepted that my best friend also has friends. Yet, at the same time, I have no shame requesting my sister’s attention by sending her 10 texts at once, and whenever I need to hear it, I plainly ask my husband if he thinks I’m pretty.
I know what it’s like to think your BFF must hate you because you woke up and decided that you aren’t meant to have friends.
Similarly, I know what it’s like to feel like your significant other is going to leave you because deep down you believe that he’s far too good for you. And while I’ve learned not to compare my beauty to others’, while I’ve discovered that my people will show up, time and time again, purely because they have unconditional love for me, my mind can still play tricks.
My mind and heart’s needy nooks will always be there, just like my forgetfulness and the way I am easily startled. I’ll require reassurance as often as I lock my keys in my car or jump from my own shadow. You see, built into my core is fear of abandonment, and it’ll never fade. Therefore, I will never again apologize or be ashamed of my neediness. Rather than bury my feelings or offer justifications for my needs, I have accepted this flaw of mine. And, it would seem that the people I am closest to, the ones whose attention I crave the most, have accepted this part of me, as well.
One could assume that I am a selfish girl, or that I take and take because I’ve found a way to excuse my impulses. But, that simply isn’t true. For as much love as I borrow, I return, in every way I know how. It’s similar to a puppy’s mindset: “Love me, so I can love you.” I need every single person I adore to know that to me, you are perfect.
So yes, I am needy, and it’s OK.
It is who I am, and it is not something I’d like to change. To forego this part of myself, to push this side of me away, would be to disregard my younger self’s needs and feelings. That little girl desperately needed to feel the love she couldn’t seem to grasp. So, when I suggest that you’re angry with me and when I look at you and ask, “Do you love me?” it’s neither because I’m clingy nor because I doubt you. It’s because I need to hear it.