On the opposite end of the scale to the needy person is the excessively non-needy person. They have their own problems. Usually, the reason that the person is non-needy is because they have put a lot of effort into protecting themselves from other people, generally for good reason. They have learned that emotional independence is an effective means of protection. And it is. However, the emotional independence often becomes isolation. It pushes everyone away. It is indiscriminate. It cannot distinguish between what is harmful and what is beneficial. Everyone is lumped into the same basket of not to be trusted.
When such a person does let down their guard, they slam the door shut tightly again as soon as any emotional issue comes up. They start finding reasons to push the “offender” away, punish them, and sometimes even hate them. Clearly, this is an ineffective way of relating to people. However, the person genuinely sees it as their only means of defence. If it means the breakdown of their relationships, they will still do it. They will tend to blame it on, “I never should have opened up in the first place” or “I didn’t want to be in that friendship or relationship anyway.” Both are usually not true.
We all have to develop enough emotional maturity in life to have both need and non-neediness. If there is too much need, others will find us draining and burdensome. They will push us away. If there is too much non-neediness, we will push others away. We will destroy our relationships, have to live with loneliness, and we will not grow. No relationship or close friendship is going to work unless we have the courage to open up to other people and trust that even when they hurt us, either intentionally or unintentionally, we will be able to cope.
Excessive non-neediness is fear. It’s fear of hurt and rejection. It’s fear that we won’t cope with problems and so nothing is allowed to be discussed. It’s fear of emotional pain and so we block anything that may have the power to hurt us. The more drawn we are to some situation, the more we will react to the potential power it will have to hurt us. If we do not venture into the land of emotional issues, we never learn that we will cope, and we never learn the ways of coping. Nor do we get the growth or the love that comes from it.
We do not need to coerce love from others or beg for it but we also do not need to reject others in the hope that we will avoid pain. We don’t avoid pain anyway. We can’t avoid it. It’s a necessary part of life. It’s worth the courage it takes to wrestle with it. Every time we take up the challenge, we tend to get unexpected help which is the good karma that comes from the courage it took to even start the adventure.
This article is from Love’s Longing