Why is it so Hard to Admit Need? Today my words come from a very insecure and needy place. Insecure because I'm trying hard to use words instead of behaviors to show how I feel and what I need. This "voice" seems childlike and continues to grow because it is still somewhat unfamiliar to me. My words might sound crazy but I promise I'm not a lunatic! My psychologist refers to me in "parts" like this, so I am going to do the same here today. The needy part of this voice is the one I am most uncomfortable with. I have always hated and detested the needy part of me so I constantly reduced its expression. One of the silver linings of coming out of infidelity is that you literally, and I mean literally, have nothing to lose. I have hit rock bottom. I have done what I said I would never do. I have shamed my family, destroyed my vows, and been absolutely and completely selfish. One of the saving graces in this experience is that I can start to freely accept and admit that I don't know anything and instead have a lot to learn. So let's go back to the needy part. I have always felt that needing stuff from people was a weakness. I'm a pay up front kind of girl. Better go over and above to make sure I didn't owe anybody anything. Neediness seemed synonymous with foolish, out of control and weak. On harsher days I felt it was closer to desperate or pathetic. (I think I may have a few shame and pride issues to work out...) I would pay bills ahead of time. I made sure I was never the friend who owed anyone money or child care. Self-sufficiency and independence were badges I wore with honor, straight into my decimation. In our marriage, I was even worse. I couldn't simply ask for what I needed. I would over do, out-perform, and run circles around anyone. My husband never got to be the "hero" because I never let myself need a thing from him. I basically became a martyr in my own prideful shell. Through meeting with my therapist, I have come to understand that this "needy" part of me is actually healthy. WHAT?!? Throughout this counseling journey I have become quite good at expressing this voice of need. My therapist encourages me to "simply ask for what you need" and so I do. Our marriage remains a difficult area for me to need. Why is that? Is it just a woman thing? Is it an unfaithful thing? Why is it so difficult to ask for what we need? And why is it such a scary place to be? One of the problems we have encountered in recovery is recognizing that each of us have limited capacity. My husband is battling his own demons, shame, and fight for recovery. Sometimes we have needs but we don't have the ability to meet them. Early on it seemed as though both of us were lying in the ICU, strapped to a gurney bleeding to death but asking each other for a cup of water. We have become stronger and pulled ourselves off those gurneys. We are learning to put a voice to our needs. Thankfully our capacity to see and hear each other is continually increasing. Below is a journal entry of mine from a few months ago where I expressed one of my needs: Dear Luke (my husband), I need you to learn to share your pain in a way that doesn't demonize or make me feel less than human. I know what I did to you makes you feel discarded, inadequate, and unimportant. It has never helped me to hear the phrases, "I would never" or "how could you?" I live with my sin and the regret of my infidelity and see daily how much it has hurt you. Trust me when I say that I celebrate your strength and convictions. Selfishly, I do wish I could be more like you and I admire your innocence, your ability to stand firm on that promise and I envy your integrity. It is beautiful. But when you look or speak to me with an attitude that I am less than because of the hurt I created, I only feel shame. Instead of feeling closeness, I feel cut off from you because of the self-righteous attitude. Again, I trust and want very much to learn from you and appreciate the precious ways you have kept your vows and promises to me. Please realize that it is hard for me to ask for this because of an underlying message that tells me I don't deserve to ask for anything in light of the pain I have caused. But I know this is a lie. God forgives, cleanses, renews and restores. While I was a sinner, He died for me. I don't deserve anything and never will. But the only path to intimacy is to need and be needed. I will be bold and stop pretending I can be self-reliant. In the midst of feeling pain and remorse, I still have needs. I need you to be honest about your own short-comings and failures and the ugliness in your own heart. I know, in light of my infidelity, your sin likely pales in comparison. It is grossly unfair and the consequences of your actions will never hurt or betray me in the same way mine have you. But it is important for me to know and hear these things from you. I know I don't deserve this but it really does help me. It makes me to want to share my failures with you and to be radically honest about my faults. I desire to hear that you're proud of me. I fear you may never feel that way again. Even though I am working really hard at recovery, I know those words don't come easily. At any time I could betray again. Our eyes are now wide open to the possibilities of what one person can do to another. But just know, deep in my heart, I am working to one day maybe hear that from you again. Where ever you find yourself in recovery, I hope you will take steps to be a person who needs. Take a class at Affair Recovery. Hope for Healing was full of people just like me who were trying to figure this out.