So, as you may or may not know, I have been dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety lately. Winters are generally tough on me, but this winter kinda knocked me down and out. My anxiety and depression used to come out in the form of anger–whatever relationship I was in I would lash out. That huge release of emotions would tied me over for a while and I’d be calm, until the next flair up. But now, I am not in a relationship with someone who triggers anger in me. SO, who do I lash out at? Well, me. I get sick. I have health problems. I end up in the ER with chest pain. I cause so much drama with my colds, flus, aches, and pains that it ends up getting the job done just as anger did. Only, I’m only hurting myself, not others.
And I suppose that’s a pretty big accomplishment. But, it’s not good enough.I am still addressing aspects of my life in unhealthy ways.
So, I threw myself back into therapy and once again started reading, reading, and reading to try and resolve this issue. And while I have a long way to go, I do want to share with you some info that has given me a small *lightbulb* moment.
I came across Tony Robbins’ video on the Six Human Needs. If this link evaporates, do a Google search for “six human needs” and “Tony Robbins.” The info will pop up. In a nutshell, these six human needs are the driving force behind all our behavior, as we try to meet most if not all of these needs. Here they are…
According to Tony Robbins, there are the following six needs we all have:
1. Certainty – the need to be safe and comfortable
2. Variety – the need for physical and mental stimulation
3. Significance – the need to feel special and worthy of attention
4. Love & Connection – the need to be loved and connected to others
5. Growth – the need to develop and expand
6. Contribution – the need to contribute beyond yourself
The first four needs are essential (we all need them!) and the last two are optional, but as Robbins puts it, they are the driving force behind having a complete life.
The trouble with these needs is not that we need them (that’s normal and healthy!); it’s how we go about meeting these needs. We have a choice. We can either meet these needs in a healthy way, an unhealthy way or a neutral way. And depending on our upbringing or our nature, or even our frame of mind, that’s how we determine how these needs are met. For love addicts, the need for “Love and Connection” is met in unhealthy ways. We take anyone who will have us, we put up with abusive or neglectful treatment, we manipulate, we cry, we stalk, we beg, we suffer…we do unhealthy things all in pursuit of our need for love and connection. Whereas a healthy person might fulfill this need in healthy ways, we fill it in unhealthy ways.
But here’s my lightbulb moment: because my need for love and connection was so all-consuming in the past, it took over my other needs too. I (falsely) (and subconsiously) believed that my need for love and connection also filled my need for significance, for growth, for variety and for certainty (remember the love addict mind? It thinks: A loving relationship will save me and protect me and be everything for me!) But love and connection, while it can to a lesser degree fill other needs temporarily, those other needs and the need to fill them still exist separate of any relationship you might have, healthy or otherwise.
What’s happening NOW, however, is that I have finally fulfilled my need for love and connection in a healthy way (and I believe you will too!), but I seem to have forgotten that my relationship cannot exactly fulfill all those other needs. And, duh! What relationship can? There is no relationship that can do that. Remember, when you meet someone in a healthy state, you have to be complete. You have to have most or all of your needs met from within! ANd so, my anxiety and depression is coming on so strong now because I am at the point of deep realization that I can not fulfill all my needs through my relationship. I still must address them on my own.
Shockingly, I still have the same problems I had before ever meeting D. But you see, while D offers me love and connection and that need is met, I have five more needs that I am still avoiding. Where once love addiction stood in the way of me meeting my needs or rather, seemed to be the answer to meeting all my needs), now health, depression and anxiety do. I am still avoiding insteading of facing. A little discouraging, but a challenge! So…what’s a healthier way to meet my needs that are still screaming to be met? Well, hard work ahead… I need to take the risk I continue to avoid by finding a satisfying career. Or, I can create a life for myself separate of my relationship with D or my kids. Anyway I look at it, my relationship ain’t gonna meet all my needs or solve all my problems. I thought I learned that lesson, and perhaps I did for a while. But, I suppose I need to relearn and better apply this lesson so it really sticks this time. 🙂
Bottom line: if you think finding someone will solve all your problems, think again. While a loving relationship can and will meet your need for love and connection, it cannot meet those other needs that YOU and ONLY YOU must work to fill.
Back to the drawing board for me!