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How to Express your Needs without Getting Shot Down
Every time I say what I need, it turns into an argument. So, I just give up, suck it up and go on feeling deprived and resentful.
It’s no use speaking up because everyone is too busy to care.
I have no right to have needs. Putting others first 100% of the time is just my lot in life.
People take me so much for granted that there is no place for my needs anyway.
When it comes to who gets what in this family, I am irrelevant.
Does this sound familiar?
Women in particular often find themselves in this situation, although you might be surprised how often the tables are turned and men end up in a subservient role.
Either way, the above sentiments have one thing in common: They are all lies.
That’s right. If you are telling yourself something along these lines, you are lying to yourself. Believe it or not, the lie serves to keep you in that old, familiar place of emotional deprivation and avoid the unfamiliar territory known as fulfillment and happiness.
The truth is, you are relevant. Your needs matter to those around you more than you realize. You have every right to get your needs met and the people in your life can and will help you get there once they see the light.
Most of all, you need to believe and assume this is the case. Most likely, the one who is bypassing your needs the most is: YOU.
Are you ready for a change?
Here are a few ideas that may help.
1. Realize that feeling chronically deprived and empty is likely a lifelong pattern that stems from a negative psychological attachment. An attachment actively seeks out that old familiar place of misery that became so familiar in childhood. In other words, a subconscious part of you is seeking to remain deprived.
The attachment will encourage you to bypass opportunities to express and meet your needs. In fact, when an attachment is in play, it may even seem wrong for you to get your needs met!
2. Raise your consciousness around this issue by looking for opportunities throughout the day to express and fulfill your needs. How many opportunities are there? There will be many, every single day.
3. Catch yourself denying and avoiding these opportunities. Notice how you find reasons and excuses to avoid your needs and blame others or life circumstances in the process. This is how people hang on to that old feeling of deprivation for a lifetime.
4. Learn to express your needs maturely. Some people, when given a real opportunity to make their needs known, launch into a tirade or collapse in tears of resentment. This is not helpful most of the time.
5. Educate the people around you as to your expectations. Be honest. You can say something like, “I am not the best at expressing my needs, but I am going to begin. I ask for your patience and hope you will support me.”
You do not need to be perfect in expressing your needs. You just need to begin.
A word about fear. It is the number one obstacle getting in your way. You fear how others will receive you. You fear rejection. You fear conflict. You fear being happy and fulfilled and successful.
I am here to tell you that every one of your fears can be addressed and you can successfully negotiate your needs with the people in your life if you will but get started. It may take a while because they are so used to taking you for granted, but it can happen if you want it to.
People will come around when they realize how serious you are. Moreover, when they realize that you are suffering more than they imagined and this is putting your relationship in jeopardy, they may really wake up.
A lot of people simply take the deprivation until they break emotionally.
They take it, and take it, and take it over years and years until the day they wake up and realize it’s all over. They can’t get the love back. This is when lives fall apart.
Don’t do this! Give yourself an intelligent, fighting chance. Give others a chance to respond to your clearly and maturely stated needs.
Resources: The AHA Solution is a program intended to help you identify self-sabotage and negative psychological attachments, and gives you the tools to work your way out.
Personal coaching can be 100% effective in learning to discover, express and fulfill your needs while maturely enlisting help and understanding from the people in your life, even the most difficult ones.
Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.