Do you feel like you are always giving too much and not getting anything in return?
Why does everybody else always get their way? Or why do people in my life seem to have a good life
and I don’t? We got to the bottom of that being anger. Anger is usually an emotion that people want to discard or pretend they don’t have it or have labeled it as bad or the enemy emotion. If you don’t have the capacity- if you’re fighting off anger then you’re not using anger as your alarm bell and that’s the first step to setting boundaries.
Good boundaries make good relationships but before you can get to, “I need to set a boundary.” You have to be aware of the alarm bell. Know when somebody is mistreating you and that’s anger a lot of
the time. You have to be able to sit with that and explore the emotion. Ask yourself, “Why am I angry?” Then you can find your boundary from there. Think back through your day or through the conversation and then you start to realize what is annoying to you and set a boundary.
The next step is, which boundary and how?
It’s almost like you’re saying anger is bad and you shouldn’t be angry. You going to shove it away. It’s like saying, “I’m not listening to that, I’m not going to listen to the smoke alarm.” Instead of going to look and make sure there’s no real fire. Ignoring your anger is just like ignoring any other kind of alarm. Anger is your body’s way of telling us there’s something wrong. There’s no such thing as a bad or wrong emotion.
Neediness and Anger
Neediness is another enemy emotion. This is our other alarm. Between anger and neediness, these are the two emotions that people fight. People think it’s wrong to be needy. People think being needy is weak, or pride themselves on taking care of everyone else. People try to get rid of neediness by squashing it, or shoving it away but again you’re missing an alarm bell. That alarm is telling you, you need attention.
The anger is telling you somebody needs to be removed, or something needs to be removed, such as what someone else is doing. Neediness is your alarm that says “I have to stop giving and give somewhere else or take.” A lot of people tend to put neediness in black or white. By thinking, people are either givers or takers. People who struggle with neediness typically think, “I can’t be a taker, that makes me look like a moocher or weak.”
Ideally, we want to be able to move smoothly in and out of being a giver and a taker. You have to know which you are in the moment and the only way to know is to be comfortable with neediness. If I say to you right now, “How do you deal with neediness?” And if anywhere in there you say, “I don’t need anything.” If you find yourself qualifying or defending or any of that, you found your enemy emotion. Our goal is to help you make friends with that emotion.
How to Handle Neediness
What’s important is how people handle the neediness. How people handle the emotion, that can be a problem. The same thing with anger; if I ask you “how do you typically deal with anger?” And if you answer by saying, “oh I’m not an angry person.” I hear this all the time. People say, “I don’t want to hurt anybody.” Jumping from anger to hurting somebody is not supposed to happen. People link being angry and hurting people and then they bury the anger. We need to break those links. That’s exactly what we do in treatment, we spend lots of time trying to unhook those links. Once we unhook them we’re able to examine the neediness and anger. We can find out where the problem is and then it’s possible to put up a boundary.
You’ll be able to say no I can’t host the party this weekend, I need my weekend to myself. I need to restore, rejuvenate. Being able to say no and that’s the root cause of people who can never say no and then you’re resentful. You bury an emotion and it comes back to haunt you. Then you’re pissed off. When someone asks you for something, it’s not their job to keep track of your neediness. Instead of being angry at everybody else around you for not giving more, be aware of your level of neediness.
Saying I need help is more effective than the passive-aggressive way of making comments. People don’t know how to deal with neediness.
So if you constantly feel like life is unfair because you’re always giving too much and nobody has secretly picked up on this and giving back. This is a sign you need to get comfortable with your neediness. Understand it’s totally normal, it’s biological, you were born with it. That is what we use to say no and build ourselves back up until we’re comfortable with giving again.