"We can find the balance between needing people too much and not letting ourselves need anyone at all." – Unknown
A few years back my husband and I began providing my eldest son with a weekly allowance. There were many motives behind doing so. We wanted him to understand the value of money, to think about saving, spending and the difference between needs and wants.
We informed our son that his allowance was his spending money for things he wanted versus needed. If he needed new shoes, mom and dad would purchase those. If he wanted a pack of pokemon cards while we were grocery shopping, they were his to purchase. He had to decide how valuable those pokemon cards were in the great scheme of things. Sometimes he bought the frivolous items. Other times he saved and saved well. (He saves so well that I am often caught borrowing money from him!).
The concept of need vs want occurred to me last night after a number of conversations and blog comments about needy mothers or needy adoptees.
Again, I question if need is the right word in all cases
I understand what is meant by suggesting a person is “needy”. In my world that means they are high maintenance, unable to source their own soul, demanding and emotionally draining. They look to the outside world an those around them for love and validation and constant stimulation.
But I wonder if that “neediness” isn’t a symptom of something else, specifically, a desire to be loved or part of the others life. Furthermore, the rejection of such needy people is truly a rejection of love. Love that frightens you. Love that makes you unstable and unsure.
Early in my reunion with my daughter I wrote her fairly frequently. Even if she did not answer I would write her weekly, sometimes several times a week. I would share family events, status of her brothers, pictures, and my own life happenings. I included her on every set of family event pictures ala Shutterfly. I would ask her questions about her life, her school, her likes and dislikes. More often than not these notes fell on onto a deaf keyboard. There was no reply at all.
As our reunion progressed, I began to write less frequently. Lacking any sort of feedback from her on even the most benign of emails, I began to feel that I was going to appear to her as a high maintenance needy person. While she never told me so, I suspected she was sitting at her keyboard, launching her gmail and upon seeing my address in her inbox, she would roll her eyes, expel a loud breath of air and quickly hit the delete key. After doing so, she would say to herself “Gosh, that woman is so frikkin annoying”. Alternatively, I have also assumed that I am simply marked as spam and she never even sees the mail I send her.
I began to feel as if, and I had no proof of this, that I was one of those needy annoying mothers in reunion. Writing her too frequently, asking too many questions, being too interested in her life, violating some invisible boundary. If I wasn’t, wouldn’t she respond? If she was interested in me, capable of talking to me, wouldn’t she?
So I decreased communication. I have even ceased sending gifts for holidays. I feel our relationship is very one sided and that I – with all my good intents – am making her feel stalked, uncomfortable and bothered.
I am not a needy person. In fact, I have been accused of not needing anyone, of being too cold, too independent, too analytical, and too guarded. I have been told I don’t let anyone in and I spend too much time in my thinking self – versus my feeling self.
(I could argue that this personality trait came from being left by all when I needed them the most but that would be an entirely different post.)
So if I know I am not a needy person, but I fear I am making the impression of a needy person to my daughter, what does it really mean? Am I just a nutter or is there something more here?
I suspect there is something more.
Do I need my daughter? Does my entire existance depend upon her and her alone? Of course not.
Do I want to know her? Hold her? Talk to her? Love her? Help her? Hear her giggle? See her latest hair color up close and personal? Do I want hear her dreams? Help her achieve those? Do I want to hear her voice? Go shopping with her? Share a vodka martini with her? Discuss literature with her?
Oh god yes.