What Do We Really Need?
I’ll be honest. I’ve always hated that song, “People,” by Barbra Streisand. My mother was a huge Streisand fan, and she played that song over and over when I was a child. Something about those words just didn’t feel right.
Then I became an adult, and I understood why. People who need people are not lucky, they are dysfunctional. That song is right up there with Jerry Maguire’s, “You complete me.” They are sentiments that fuel codependency and living life as half of a person.
My mother-in-law loved when her kids were sick or had problems because they needed her. That’s not loving, that’s dysfunctional.
My husband used to say, “I need you to greet me at the door when I come home.” No he doesn’t. He can like when I greet him at the door; but if he needs it, he’s dysfunctional.
I had employees that needed me to solve their problems; one day, I got so mad that I put up a sign that said, “I’m no longer your problem fixer.”
Let’s get real. We need air, water, and food. That’s it.
Men say we need sex, but we don’t. We won’t die without sex. With modern technology, we don’t even need sex to reproduce. Everything beyond food, water, and air is a want. Wants are not bad and fulfilling someone desires can be fun, but we are manipulating others when we label our wants as “needs.”
People Who Need People Have Baggage
People who need people are hungry for approval. People who need people are lonely. People who need people are sometimes incompetent. People who need people fear rejection. People who need people are often codependent. People who need people are NOT lucky. They are in need of mental healing, which is not a bad thing. Pretending we don’t need healing when we do is a bad thing.
Codependence is a sneaky trick that our mind plays on us. It pretends to be good. There is a story about people with a giant pot of soup and spoons that are all too long. It was said that in heaven, they fed each other. In hell, they starved. But why would you have spoons that don’t work in heaven? The story is a mess. A truly independent person would figure out a different way to hold the spoon. They would go find a cup or scoop it with their hands. This is simply another form of the same, “people who need people,” trap.
How Do People Who Need People Fix This?
Fixing the problem is not about being a martyr and doing without. It is about recognizing the part of the need that is false, and letting that go. When I believe that I need something from someone, I observe my mind. I take my attention off the other person. My mind wants to make the other bad for not fixing my need. But they aren’t bad. This is my baggage, not theirs. Often I feel unloved, unheard, or unappreciated. Everything my mind says feels bad. That means it is not true so I let each thought go. I am finished letting go when I can finally see that I don’t need the other to do anything. I’m done when I unconditionally love them.
The Other Side of People Who Need People
People who need people often project their need out on to other people. I’ve often felt as if I was being coerced into playing the need fulfillment role .
The needy person pretends to be in the feminine role; they want to receive. But they are demanding receipt so they are really playing the masculine (assertive) role. This is why codependence is so confusing. The people who need people are the ones bringing the problem to the relationship. But they make their request as if the person they need is the problem.
The feminine role is not about being a slave, caretaker, or about receiving orders; the feminine role is about receiving love. Giving your need to someone to fulfill is not giving them love.
I’ll be honest. When someone throws a need at me that isn’t real, I can’t bring myself to do it. It is often infused with guilt or shame. If I don’t respond to their need, they tell me that I’m selfish, bad, or someone who is rude and doesn’t care. They are wrong. They are playing a game invented by religion called, “Make the other feel guilt or shame for not doing what you want them to do.”
If we stay clear and don’t fix their need, we actually support the needy person’s spiritual growth instead of enabling them. Enabling is not love; it is actually hate or fear disguised as love.
People Who Need People Signals Dysfunction
The more I let go, the less I need people. This is because letting go eliminates problems, so you don’t need others to fix a problem you don’t have. When you no longer need people, you can enjoy them. You can dream with them. You can play with them. You can really listen to them. You become truly functional.
There are people who need people who won’t let go of their need. So what do you do? You fix your own mind, and let them go. You let go of your need for them in your life, and allow them to find someone else who wants to complete their dysfunction. When it comes to neediness, sometimes the best love you can give is to leave the relationship.
People who need people can be like crabs in a pot, they don’t want you to get out of your shared misery. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Al Ravenna, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons