Why I’m Not Ashamed to Be “Needy”- How My Childhood Issues Defined My Love Language

A lot of people think that having childhood issues means that you were abused as a child. A lot of people assume that girls get daddy issues and boys get mommy issues. I can say neither of these is the case for me.

Some people also think that you grow up with issues from the parent you are the least similar to or that you don’t along with as well. That isn’t true for me either. For me, I am female and I have “mommy issues.” This is not because I don’t get along as well with my mom as I do with my dad. On the contrary, I love my mom and I am most similar to her while my dad and I can often butt heads (even though I love my dad too). The reason I say I have “mommy issues” is because my “core memory” of sadness is connected to my mom.

The difference between my life and this scene is that I was 4 or 5 when my core memory came out 100% blue, not mixed, there was no hugging and cuddling because mom was away at work and dad was taking care of my baby brother. So instead of Family Island, my memory created the Island of Depression, Abandonment Issues, and Perpetual Neediness.

I know this is the case for myself because the memory of watching my mom drive away to work in the evenings is one that always comes up when I experience a bout of depression. I can’t talk about this memory, write about it, or even think about it without starting to cry, that’s how powerful this memory is to me. This memory is what defined sadness for me. Sadness is being alone, more specifically, being away from the person I love the most in this world.

I didn’t learn this until recently. It was probably a couple months ago, after years of what I call “self-therapy.” I’ve been to counseling before and honestly, I find it useless because once I start thinking about things too much, I’ll start crying to the point of not being able to form coherent words and at that point, I’m just paying to sit and room and cry except now I have the added embarrassment of someone else watching me. I can cry alone in my room for free and journal. Journalling is my form of self-therapy. It helps me get all my thoughts out and piece together what’s going on with me, no speaking required. I’ve always been a very introspective person and I do think to see a counselor or therapist is beneficial to a lot of people because (not to sound full of myself but, I’m about to sound full of myself) not everyone has the same amount of self-awareness as others.

Becoming consciously aware of this has definitely helped me to heal from my depression and I don’t experience as many or as frequent depressive episodes as I used to. But the fact is, I still hate feeling alone. I don’t mind being by myself but when I feel isolated, that is my personal hell on earth. And that is precisely the reason why my first relationship was so dysfunctional.

How my first boyfriend exposed my unconscious issues

My first boyfriend was working a fulltime job at a Fortune 100 company, a part-time job at a major bank on the S&P 500 Index on Saturdays and Sundays (so he never had a day off), a part-time job on some nights on campus, a side hustle writing essays for people, and another side hustle which I had no idea about until we broke up and he told me that it was illegal. And it’s not like he came out and told me about all of his jobs up front. First, I thought he just worked his fulltime job 9-5, Monday- Friday. Then when I asked him to do something with me on the weekend, I found out that he works Saturdays and Sundays too. After that, I found out about his evening job when he started taking on more hours there and we couldn’t see each other as much. Then he told me about writing essays for people.

Clearly, this man did not have time for a girlfriend. I could blame him for going out with me when he knew damn well that he was working 70 hours a week but it is partly my fault too, which is another blog post entirely. There was a time in our (very short-lived) relationship where he didn’t text me for an entire week. No text, no calls, no Snapchats, no DMs, nothing. It was total radio silence. Of course, this was the longest I could stand not speaking to him but there were many other times when he wouldn’t text for days and I was always the one to break the silence and ask when we could see each other.

There were multiple times when I wanted to break up with him but it was hard and I never went through with it because I tried so hard to give him the benefit of the doubt and be understanding and not flip out on him. Because that’s what mature adults do in a relationship, right? After that week of total radio silence, I asked him if he had time for a relationship at this point in his life because it didn’t feel like he did. I was so ready to break up with him, I had his hoodie in my bag ready to give it back to him and everything, but we talked about it and he said that he could handle it and that he’d step it up.

And he tried, he really did but there’s only so many hours in the day and only so much energy we have. When we broke up, it had been a few days since I had heard from him. I had planned to break up with him the next day when I got a text. He said he “just wanted to talk.” That fucker beat me to this break up by a day and yeah, it’s petty, but I’m still slightly pissed about that. My ego clearly can’t handle being the one who got dumped, even if it is on a technicality.

There was also a point in the relationship when I got back on Tinder even though we were still together. I wouldn’t say that I cheated because I never met up with anyone while we were together but I’m definitely not proud of it. I guess I’d call it “pre-cheating.” The worst part is, I barely felt guilty at all. Five swipes in and that tiny twinge of guilt was gone. And that’s what scared me.

I always wondered how people could cheat on someone that they care about and that people who cheat are just the scum of the earth! But then there I was, on Tinder but I had a boyfriend. I was like one step away from actually cheating and then I understood. My “logic” was that since my boyfriend isn’t treating me like his girlfriend, then why should I bother to act as his girlfriend? Imma go act single.

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This entire relationship was a repeat of what happened in my early childhood with my mom. Both he and my mom worked a lot and I felt neglected and isolated as a result. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people, and I suppose it’s better than the alternative of being with someone who is unemployed and not making any moves. Neither of them was trying to hurt me and that’s what made the relationship so difficult. It’s easier to get over someone when they fucked you over and you have every right to be angry with them.

Being treated like a girlfriend means different things to different people and that’s where love languages come in. To me, being treated like a girlfriend means spending time together and having his attention, two things I didn’t get much from my mom who worked 60 hours a week. Not only were we not spending time together, I knew he wasn’t even thinking about me because he could go days without texting me. And with my mom, this was before every child had their own smartphone and plus, she’s a doctor so even if everyone had a smartphone back in 2005, it’s not like she could’ve even answered me anyway.

Even though my mom and my ex never intended to hurt me, they still did. Honestly, intentions don’t mean shit. You may drive your car and never intend to kill anyone but you can still get into an accident and kill someone. The fact that you weren’t out for blood doesn’t change the fact that someone died and it’s not going to be any consolation to their friends and family. Intentions don’t mean shit.

I can be needy, way too damn needy

I vibe so hard with Arianna Grande’s song “needy.” Ohmigod I looove that song. Listening to that song really helped me to come to terms with the fact that yes, I am “needy” and that is not a bad thing. Being “needy” doesn’t make me somehow less desirable or less loveable.  And I am so done with thinking that I should give someone the benefit of the doubt at the expense of my own needs in the relationship.

Before my ex and I made things official, I was still seeing other people. And I didn’t really mind not hearing from him or seeing him a lot because I had other company. The funny thing is, when he asked me to be his girlfriend and we made the relationship official, we just started seeing each other less and less. And this upset me because I thought that we would start seeing each other more or at least as often as we already were. Honestly, I think aside from working a lot, part of it was that he just didn’t want to “share” me but once I was “his,” he didn’t feel the need to see me as much.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt more than I should have. I didn’t want to seem like I was “crazy,” desperate, needy or uncool for asking to see him or for him to text me more. I thought that I was being mature and understanding because he was working a lot and being a “real adult” (he was in college too) and I was just a college freshman with too much time on my hands. In reality, however, I felt kind of guilty for wanting to break up because he was a good guy and not a fuqboi. He was very sweet, I love how he kissed me, he would easily get the hint when I would move his hands away from my thighs and never pressured me to go further than I wanted. I was actually very desperate in a way because I thought that I had found a real one when all I got was the base model.

Everything I had with him should come standard along with, you know, actually getting my needs met, which are time and attention. A lot of times, wanting or needing attention is seen as being too needy, high maintenance, or desperate and no one wants to get that label. But I am no longer ashamed of being needy and I don’t see it as a label to avoid. I gladly refer to myself as needy and I’m so over trying to be a “cool girl” who doesn’t have any needs in a relationship.

How I was able to get over trying to be a “cool girl” and reclaim the term needy for myself was by recognizing that getting time and attention in a relationship is my love language and those love languages are set in stone by my early childhood experiences, for better or worse. I can’t change the fact that I need time and attention any more than I can change the fact that I need food and water so the men I date are going to have to either be able to give me what I need or not be in my life. I cannot eat flowers. No matter how pretty they are or how nice they smell, flowers cannot give me the nutrition I need. The same goes for the people I date.

Because I can be needy, so hard to please me.

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