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Title: The Need to Feel Special Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 739 Category: Self Improvement
The Need to Feel Special Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
From time Jennifer was a little child, she was demanding of attention, especially from her mother, Sarah. With two older brothers, Jennifer had a “special” place in family as baby and only girl. She made sure to establish a “special” relationship with her mother, who relished connection since she didn’t have much of a relationship with her emotionally distant husband.
It was easy for Jennifer to control her mother’s attention. Because her mother was needy for emotional connection and afraid of not being liked, all Jennifer had to do was get angry at her mother and Sarah would capitulate, giving Jennifer attention she craved. Jennifer learned early to control her mother by becoming angry, critical and withholding love when her mother didn’t do what she wanted. Unwittingly, Sarah contributed to Jennifer’s neediness, entitlement issues, and belief that happiness was dependent on approval and attention from others.
Jennifer, now in her late 30’s, finds herself continuing pattern she started with her mother - attaching to others in needy and demanding ways. The result is she has not been able to have a successful relationship with any of men she has dated.
We all have a need to feel special. It is not need that is dysfunctional, it is how we go about getting need met that can be either dysfunctional or healthy. It is dysfunctional when we make others responsible for making us feel special. When others have to give us attention, compliment us, seek us out, and attend to our wants and needs in order for us to feel special, our behavior is dysfunctional.
You will stop pulling on others to make you special only when you accept full responsibility of making yourself feel special. This means learning to give yourself all that you may be trying to get from others – treating yourself in loving ways you desire from others. There are many ways of making ourselves feel special. Instead of trying to get others to give you what you want, you can: