Being needed: Are you so good at it?

Are you good at being needed?


Now if someone asked me that question it would be so easy to answer it. Yes, l am. I’ve been good at it for a long, long time. All my life in fact.

Looking back now, l realise that it was, and to a degree still is, a role that I learnt instinctively how to play, because my parents were very self-focused and self-absorbed and then consequently at war with each other, and in order not to be swallowed up by the perpetual drama and feel invisible l had to find a useful role “in it” upholding both of them so that they could “see me”. And as it goes also “see “myself.

However, and not in contradiction to my answer, or your observation if you’re reading this for that matter. It is so much more about you and being wrapped up in your felt lost identity, which may most probably have been whereby you “felt”, that your worth was questionable because it was never truly acknowledged? Nor mirrored, nor fed back to you, value therefore unknown. Mostly because you never received much of anything without earning it by giving first and proving worthy.

  • Do you feel valued and valuable without being needed?
  • Are you even personally present in any kind of deeply felt value?
  • Does your worth belong deeply inside of you or is it dependent on outsourcing through confirmation?

Here, in what is actually a core wound, where your own personal understanding and belief of your actual worth is corrupted, and thought and felt that it is, because the mirror of who you are was never reflected back to you and so your true identity is to you, fundamentally unknown.

I use the word fundamentally here carefully and purposefully because the word signals something long-held. When childhood beliefs were more assumed rather than based on real truth. Or accessed reasoning. When you are a child you don’t have access to that you live in a feeling world. Often without the names, or vocabulary around being able to understand and identify what those feelings actually are.

When we feel vulnerable and ill equipped, we base our core beliefs upon how others both treat and treated us and in turn responded and respond towards us. 

It never occurs to us that if these responses, or the absence of them as it goes, are in truth disconnected to us, and more, most certainly about others and their personal circumstances, we feel thereafter disconnected to ourselves, and so the only way we can “survive” the wilderness of the innate sense of non-belonging and the void being bereft of felt value, is by making sure that we can “provide” something that those who should have been providing for us, actually need.

So we become the givers, the fixers.

Givers and fixers

From an early age, with both parents so self-focused l had to learn to provide something that made me favourited. In the early dawn of my parents' horrific divorce l comforted my father, and also my mother. During this whole time neither one of them ever asked me how l was, what l needed, (from them), or how their war felt for me. Just being needed felt safe for me. On any terms. It never ever occurred to me that anyone would want to know about me and my inner world l was far too busy propping up theirs.

When l wasn’t needed l found it literally unbearable and l felt like l didn’t even exist. That l was invisible. This set up a pattern in my life that ran through every relationship l had. Even if l was a second thought, or not thought about or considered this became my only experience of “belonging”.

I stayed in relationships which didn’t give me what l needed or much of anything, often just so l could say l had ticked the box of being in a relationship way beyond their actual flimsy better-than-nothing truth had expired. I held on always thinking that one day they would wake up, and see me and value me. For me, it was so much more about longing, and waiting for “jam tomorrow”. But tomorrow never came. And nobody came looking for me when l left either.

Let me be clear here: There is nothing wrong with being needed. Or with giving to others. But there is something wrong with being the only giver and thinking that you don’t need to receive. As without giving and fixing you don’t deserve much or anything.

Feeling not good enough feels terrible. There is something wrong with that without relief. It wears away at you and feels lonely, and don’t underestimate the effects of loneliness as l have said before it is not just something that happens at Christmas where it is media addressed as if pops out of the cupboard between the end of November stays until after New Year's Eve and then magically vapourises! 

Sure! The hell it does.

It’s there in our everyday right under our noses. Loneliness affects everybody of all ages. So what lies underneath? What do we do if being needed is our only bar of excellence and perceived value? An inevitable question that deserves an answer.

  • employing self-care
  • saying no instead of yes
  • saying yes instead of no
  • learning to abide with our true selves 
  • embodiment of all kinds
  • meditation 
  • staying with ourselves in our truth
  • learning how to be alone without feeling lonely 
  • yoga where breath and presence feel safe
  • consider bach flower remedies that help like red chestnut, and cerato  

Being able to feel our own value in a known way that is tangible, one which challenges the negative bias. Being able to engage in the “actual” reality of how you feel when you are with someone not the Limerence or the fantasy you have attached to the person.

I teach much about this in my work because l have had to navigate through my own need to be needed to confirm my worth. It’s a journey, but such a worthwhile one.

Remember each journey begins with just one step.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8
Written by Gail Berry, Emotional and Relationship Coach
London, N8

Written by Gail Berry Emotional Coach - both a therapist and an alternative medical practitioner who works with healing people’s core wounds and uses Bach Flower Remedies alongside talking and behavioural therapy to make real change and transformation possible.
07771 715072
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