Questions about the fear of needing

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly since my session Tuesday night and since my last blog, the comments that you lovely lot have been leaving me and today’s thoughts are:

 

Question: If I had a different childhood and therefore a different attachment  (perhaps secure rather than insecure/disorganised) would this be different? Do “normal” children/adults not experience this fear?

I think I know that the answer to that is that no, they don’t… that this fear of mine is uncommon (although clearly not unheard of according to things you guys have said in support) but I think I am just trying to get my head around this properly.

Not to sound like a child “blaming” someone but… so it’s her fault that I feel this way? It’s because she didn’t consistently meet my needs that I learnt to be scared of needing someone to rely on? Is that really right? If so, I feel so sick and angry about that today. How bloody unfair. How cruel.  How can you punish a child and scare them for having needs?

For me to feel scared of relying on someone – particularly someone like T who is clearly there to help me, I have clearly learnt that depending on someone and being vulnerable is potentially risky. Risky how? A risk of rejection or risk of abandonment or punishment I guess… and how would I have learnt that lesson? I assume by being abandoned physically and/or emotionally or by being made to feel rejected or ashamed. I guess my mother’s whole “you are so needy” is an example of that……………….. sorry if this is blatantly obvious to you guys, clearly it is taking me some time to understand this on a deep level.

 

Next question: this desperation of contacting T, of needing her there, of needing her to help me hold my stuff – is this how a child feels towards her parent when she is young or something? Or is this just something that I am personally experiencing with T right now?

I ask that because I am aware of the “re-parenting” that is done in this type of therapy and that T has said to me so many times before that I “need to do with her what I wasn’t able to do as a child”…. Is that what she means?? I wonder if that is why it feels so primal/infantile? Regression that kind of thing?

I am seeking answers today and I’ve woken up feeling unwell. Sick, blocked nose and headache-y. I don’t know if I am feeling sick because of this stuff – if it’s emotional or whether I am just genuinely getting unwell and that’s making me feel shit. Either way… I need to understand this stuff a little more.

too much

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11 thoughts on “Questions about the fear of needing

  1. Yup, this is all normal in the context of disorganised attachment. This fear/terror of relying on someone or being bonded to someone is feelings from infancy and childhood. But you didn’t feel it then because it wasn’t safe to and there wasn’t anyone to help you process it and it was literally life/death for that baby. In order to survive the abandonment you dissociated those feelings, and so now you are learning through the therapy relationship to reveal your needs and to ask for them to be consistently met. The hard thing is that now you have prior experience of attachment figures letting you down or telling you you’re too much (which is bullshit bytheway) so you get this terrifying push pull thing going on, wanting to run towards this apparently safe person but being scared you’re too much so you hold yourself back or push them away.
    Basically, you’ve opened Pandoras box and it’s like a pressure cooker exploding with all the years of need and fear. It’s so overwhelming but I can assure you, it does settle down eventually. It’s really hard in the stage you’re at to titrate all the stuff you’ve kept locked down for so long so it feels like you’re drowning in it at times. So it’s important that your therapist stands steady and makes sure to slow down the material as much as you need. Which it sounds like she’s doing anyway.
    This stuff feels so powerful because it is regressed stuff, you’re right. These are powerful child needs and it’s important they are tended to.

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    1. Oh you are so eloquent! Thank you for this explanation, it makes so much more sense reading it from you.

      It’s like I know it on some sort of level but like I’m now experiencing the pain of it that it’s being worked through on a different level if that makes sense?

      How the actual fuck can you treat a child like that????? Aghhhhh god it makes me so angry to imagine.

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      1. Yep knowing it cognitively and processing it on a body level is two hugely different things and it’s so confusing to know something cognitively but feel something else somatically.
        Hurt people hurt people. I would imagine your parents are hurt people themselves and they’ve just handed it down the generations.

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      2. You should be angry. It’s shit. And it doesn’t let them off the hook. It’s a reason but not an excuse, they both failed you.

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  2. I would like to be eloquent like Sirena!
    When I first started to feel angry about the past, my T said is was my inner child having a tantrum about everything that has happened in the past. I totally relate to the needy feeling but don’t address it directly because my T is not a trauma therapist. Although I have no idea if my past would be considered trauma. 😕I would perhaps clarify if she meant reparenting. I have read that a lot of psychologists don’t use it as it can re traumatise someone.
    You’re dealing with all the emotions associated with the past and needing basic love and comfort goes with that.

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  3. I don’t really know what “normal” is. But I can tell you that many people do experience fear to some extent about relying on others, being open, etc. I tend to think that most things in life are on a spectrum. I didn’t have a traumatic childhood and don’t have disorganized attachment, but find myself kind of on the spectrum never the less. Needing someone feels wrong. Unsafe! Being vulnerable. Ugghh I just hate it and can’t do it. I avoid ever getting really close to someone. Letting others see me? No! Trusting others? Not safe! I am a ball of fear in my therapist’s office that I mostly keep under control, but it is there for sure! Being on this spectrum means I have to work harder then some, but not as hard as others. Sirena explains it very well as always! I wonder if my issues partly come from a mis-match on attachment styles/needs with my parents and my way of dealing with things rather then really crappy parenting.

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    1. This is interesting…. I was under the impression that if you had “good enough” parenting, if you felt seen and heard and were validated and all of that stuff that you would have a “secure attachment” and that would mean that you never experienced the panic and fear and shame surrounding being needy or vulnerable. I don’t think you have to have crappy parenting necessarily, but without all of those things you may end up with an insecure attachment type – perhaps avoidant or anxious and that’s how it happens… so basically your parents are the ones who decide what attachment style you end up with x

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  4. my therapist says the same as t, we didnt get our needs met as kids, and so we need to experience what we never got now with them, makes sense but still makes me feel ug i dont know bad? guilty? for having needs? feel better soon. xo

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  5. I don’t think it’s 100% down to parenting style, some people do seem to be born more sensitive as well (I posted a while back about an interesting documentary that discusses this, if you want to read it https://dangerousvoyage.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/orchids-and-dandelions/ ), but I think what you’ve written sums it up very well.

    I also think that even if your therapist doesn’t seem to be doing the reparenting/corrective experience thing in a big or dramatic way, over time just having a them as a consistent presence, responding to your needs, reaching out to you – it does make a difference. Sometimes that difference is that you feel calmer and “held”, but other times it means that you’re able to dig into more deeply buried and often more painful stuff, so it may seem as if things are actually getting worse, but I think that as these things are brought to the surface and felt and talked over they slowly lose some of their intensity.

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