Is it wrong to have needs?

My spouse, who has ADHD, has conveyed to me, subtly and directly, that it is unreasonable or abnormal that I have needs for emotional support (e.g., someone to talk to occasionally about me and my life) and that I expect these needs to be met in our marriage, by him.  

As a result, I have shut down my neediness.  I don't talk to my husband about myself and I rarely talk to other people about myself.  I feel incredibly lonely.  So, everyone out there, what do you think:  is it wrong to have needs?


Every one here is reaching out to this group because we have needs.  The need to be heard, to learn from others' experiences, to know we are not alone. Everyone has needs. No right or wrong. Just a fact.  I have been listening to "Married to Distraction".  It says, paraphrased:  

Positive connection is the single most valuable tool we have to nurture a healthy, long, happy, productive, moral life.  Disconnection is a culprit of misery, underachievement, anxiety, substance abuse, illness, depression, immoral behavior.

We have needs for connection....we can't do that alone.  DH seems not to want to/be able to connect.  This is sad.  You are not alone.

one BIG word -- NO!

Absolutely not. Not having your needs acknowledged or respected is a one way ticket to depression. Leads to self defeating statements like "I don't matter" and "I'm not lovable." 

I battled not having my needs my by my ADHDpartner for years (unknowingly for the first few, honestly). Now, he's made it quite clear that he has no intent on meeting them. :-/ Good to know.I am now getting most of my emotional needs met elsewhere.

Have u reached out to supportive people? I didn't realize I was self-destructing when I was living in my own head with this message and situation. 

You ARE lovable, and your NEEDS do matter.

I can't imagine that even HE

I can't imagine that even HE believes is probably just that he is so very incapable of being there to support you emotionally that it makes him feel inadequate on MANY levels, so he feels the best defense is an offense...making you feel like you're wrong to have these needs. 

Insert "sex" "more money" "bigger house" and it is all the same...if HE cannot provide it, then you are wrong to need it. Period. I know the incredible loneliness. I know it first hand. I have said before "how dare I discuss my feelings with you, I knew better" and then Melissa said something to me that made so much sense, regardless of how hard it was to hear. He cannot give you what he does not have. He is probably such a f'in mess in his own mind that having to 'help' you through the emotions (hurt, pain, frustration) you're feeling (whether caused by him or anyone else for that matter) is just something he It sucks big time...but that is probably a far more accurate picture of what is going on rather than him truly feeling you shouldn't have needs. 

I don't have any answers for you...the obvious solution is for him to get himself together, get proper treatment, and get to a place where he can be open to hearing your needs...and better yet, meeting them. But only he can get there. My husband was like this for a few years...while he was falling apart inside and out. Now that he's getting treatment he is slowly but surely getting stronger and being able to fulfill my needs a little more. He recently even focused on an issue HE was having, that he initially expected me to fix, and took the expectation off of me and is working on it himself...with his counselor. That is amazing to me. There is always hope. 

Man...things like this just suck. (((HUGS)))

Sherri - You're comment about

Sherri - You're comment about not being able to give something he doesn't have struck me BIG time. So, a two part follow up... 


First, can you expand on that statement? I don't really feel like my needs are that large in the grand scheme of things, but in hindsight I can see how they used to be given all the blame that was going on (as well as that point in my life with a bunch of BIG personal things happening all at once). I've been pulling myself together much better and demanding much less (living apart will do that!) So, where is a healthy middle ground where you don't *want* to jump ship, but enduring the pain of ending the relationship appears to be a realistic option.

Second, I'm a believer that our intimate relationships can be a safe place in which to DO this sort of work - continuing to develop ourselves, understand ourselves, and all of that. This "life" thing is an on-going commitment to ourselves, and growth/change is inevitable. How did you find the courage/strength to stay put? Was this the codependence work you've written about in other posts? 



Yes, it hit me BIG too when I

Yes, it hit me BIG too when I was first told I know the feeling. First I was pissed, then I was just flat out depressed thinking I would never be able to dare have any needs. To add to this, our counselor at the time was telling me that I was my DH's rock, he depended on me to be 'stable' and 'strong'. I know she meant it in the context of me not letting him drag me down with him, instead stay strong so that he'll meet me back 'up here' quicker (i.e. don't take it personally, don't react poorly) but it felt like a punch in the gut at the time. How depressing the thought was!! In our situation, big life events typically trigger a depression spell in my husband (for lack of a better way to put it) and although things were definitely dripping with his ADHD/my poor reactions-codependency, they weren't the horrible hell like the past 3 years until he found out his mother was dying. That event is what rendered him incapacitated and incapable of filling my emotional needs...which became MUCH GREATER when he shut me out and shut me down and withdrew from the marriage. The further away he pulled, the harder I fought to get him back, the worse it made everything and the more needy I was the less he had to offer me. I wasn't needy when I met him...otherwise, I doubt he would have fallen in love with me. I LOVE affection and attention as much as the next person...but as far as needing to talk about my feelings, beat the horse dead over and over and over again, that was not me...until...

I would like to add that, for me, I didn't realize just how needy I really was and how horribly wrong I was going about getting those needs met until it was almost too late. I really did have to look deep down to find not only sympathy for my husband (not being able to give me what I needed) but also to find the strength to start giving myself what I needed more. Again, I turned to God a LOT during these times. My growth and change has affected my marriage in positive ways.

Working on my co-dependency didn't really give me the strength to stay put, this was more about prayer and having Faith that God would work things out and eventually life would be better...with or without my DH. But, I do feel that God led me to the codependency awareness because it was what I needed to work on in order to be healthier and happier myself. In the book I have, CoDependent No More, it relies a lot on the 12 step program ideas. First and foremost, "let go, let God". I believe everything happens for a reason and although it took me many months to get there, I think recognizing and working on my CD issues ultimately saved my life. With or without my DH, I am codependent...and because I am married to someone who is ADHD, it is us both. 

I don't have the answer about staying or jumping ship when leaving sounds like a better option. I waited for things to either get better or for God to give me a clear sign that it was time to let go. I believe if we pray enough for the right things (help defeating the devil in our marriage, guidance, courage to not take things so personally, faith to believe that God will work it all out to our benefit) then everything else will fall into place. I won't lie, I have been flat on my face, begging for God to help me do his will in my marriage so that the pain and suffering would way or the other. I now believe that is why my DH had a horrible reaction to something he did and wound up in the ER that fateful February day. It was God's way of saying "enough" and revealing to me what I had been up against and forcing my DH to finally deal with it all. That was the beginning of better things, although things got a lot worse before they got better. I feel it was the answer to my prayers.