As part of the on-the-job training of life, situations that hurt you make you aware of your needs. Spend enough time in a relationship subsisting on crumbs and you experience a painful awakening about your unmet needs.
Quite simply, some of us have no clue what our needs are. We might see them as indistinguishable from wants. The best description of needs and wants is by financial expert, Karen McCall:
“A need sustains you and a want entertains you.”
If, as a child, you experienced emotional, mental and/or physical neglect, you won’t have felt safe, secure and nurtured. This can cause you to train yourself out of having needs. You might do without. It could be settling for crumbs or filling the void with something else (e.g. food, shopping, sex).
It’s not that you don’t have needs. You do have them but have either forgotten about their existence or given up on trying to meet them. If, for example, your feelings weren’t acknowledged or what you had to say didn’t matter, or you felt as if you had to take a backseat to someone or everyone else, you figured, ‘What’s the point?’
If you think that your needs will go unheard or that even if you do speak up, that they won’t be met, you’ll reason that it’s easier to stay quiet than risk being ignored and/or rejected. To compensate, you take on a role (e.g. people pleaser, overachiever, caretaker, fixer, underachiever, black sheep) as a back door to trying to get your needs met without as much risk.