Healing is a constant journey–one that has felt anything but easy for me.
Since the middle of January, I have been struggling. Anytime I struggle, I get filled with frustration, shame, embarrassment, and anger–at myself.
Over and over and over again, I have asked myself: Why is it so hard to let some of this go? Why am I so stuck in this struggle?
The answers to these questions have been anything but easy. I’m not sure, even now, that I know what they are.
I have struggled, SO MUCH, with my need. My NEEDINESS.
Throughout my entire life, my needs were not important. I was conditioned to believe this–and, most of the time, I subconsciously continue to believe this. Having needs–beyond shelter, food, and clothing, was dangerous.
Having needs made me vulnerable. It made it easier for me to get hurt. It made it easier for others to cause me pain.
So…I did the smart thing. I hid my needs. I became self-reliant. I did not voice my emotions, if I could help it.
- No…I became excellent at simply staying quiet and finding other ways to fill some of my needs (books, teachers, friends)–or, I simply convinced myself that I didn’t really need any of it to begin with. I also became full of anxiety.
Today, I am struggling. The fact is–I need people. I need someone. I need to feel that someone in this world cares about me–that someone in this world sees my worth…But, admitting this? Admitting this is scary for me.
This is a big reason why my counselor has been so instrumental in my recovery. She has believed in me. There were days–days where I was barely making it–and I would get a text from her that read, You are so brave! or I am proud of you!
These texts–they made me start to believe in myself a little. They put a little wind in my sails.
Vulnerability has never been easy for me. It is scary and it gives another person tremendous power to hurt me.
The thing is?
Children are vulnerable. Children are needy. This is how it is supposed to be. And these needs are supposed to be met.
Mine weren’t. And I never learned a safe and judgment free way of expressing them.
Therapy has allowed me to meet some of these needs–here, I have a person who is ready to validate me, hear me, see me…and share that she has faith in me.
And God…the process has absolutely meant the world to me, as hard and arduous as it has been.
I started struggling again in January, at a time that coincided with a few big events. First, I did not get a job that I desperately (at the time) wanted. I tried not to internalize it–but my worth and value were very much affected. Next, my mother continued to drive her knife deeper into my heart and our relationship. I, once again, had to acknowledge that she simply will never be what I NEED her to be.
Third, I talked to my therapist about my concerns about boundaries. I have known for a long time how deep my connection is–and how much I was beginning to view her as a combination of therapist, confidante, and friend. This talk was incredibly stressful and anxiety provoking. And, to this day, I feel sad by the realization that there are real and true limits to the therapy relationship. It is a realization that I knew, cognitively, but one that I desperately hoped had an exception.
As the weeks have gone on, my therapist has reassured me that she isn’t going anywhere. She is here to support me. I, however, have felt like I am drowning. I have felt clingy and needy, and in need of reassurance that I can do this, someday, without her, and that she will stick with me until I can.
Here I am–the girl who has always been afraid to need.
…And the one who, truly, needs more than most. I need to feel cared for. I need to know that someone believes in me. I need to feel heard and seen and believed.
However, in some ways, because of the boundary talk, I feel like I can’t need my therapist as much. And…I think that is probably an accurate feeling. It is not normal to hope that she will check on me because she is pretty much the one and only person who does. What would be normal is to have a real-life connection who would do this.
I have asked people. I have explained my need, even though it is scary and hard for me to do. But people do not always come through. There are days now, where no one bothers check in. Where I feel lonely and anxious and convince myself that I just have to tough it out. And then, I begin to miss my counselor–all her positive texts that make me believe in myself, our talks, and the way I can just be real and honest. And I feel confused and guilty.
…and I struggle.
It takes a tremendous effort for me not to blame myself. To feel like my neediness–my clingy-ness, which I have clearly been unable to hide from her, won’t be punished in some way…such as abandonment. I have always felt that people like me until they realize how much I need them…then they leave. They do not want to put up with someone who is clingy and insecure.
So, I have tried to stop reaching out so much. I have tried to be stronger–or at least act stronger–and really just keep all of my feelings. But, most of the time, I fail. I reach out, in desperation. And then I feel more clingy and insecure, and sure that I am annoying as hell.
I hate it. I know I need to dig deep and learn to just be good enough for myself. I know I need to find my own worth, and not rely on finding it in others.
…But the truth is, I am vulnerable. So, so vulnerable. I need so much right now. So much I do not even know how to ask for.
I need to feel brave. I need to feel proud of my accomplishments. I need to feel heard and cared for.
… 😢 …
I’m not sure how to move that hurdle out of the way. I’m not sure how to accept my neediness or how to need less.