When People Don’t Give Us What We Need It Is Okay To Voice It

Jill Eng

This might seem like a no-brainer but often we don’t express our needs because we have an inner sense that the person doesn’t want to hear it.

Maybe they already know what they’re not giving you and they feel like they can’t so they don’t want to be pushed up against a wall or made to feel guilty or pressured.

Sensing this in advance, sometimes we don’t voice our needs or tell our truth because we’re afraid of losing the person even more than we already don’t have them.

We all experience this in some fashion with various relationships. It’s sort of a universal theme among humans.

Often we have to learn our lesson by trying things out in both directions. Telling someone how we feel when it’s going to upset them or holding back our feelings which can also eat away at our emotions.

Only each of us in our individual situations can know what is best to experiment with. It’s generally a trade-off unless there’s a happy ending from one or the other approach.

Perhaps you decided to not say anything and give the person an opportunity to come forward on their own — and they do. That’s not common but it does happen and it’s so wonderful when it does.

Or we venture to put our feelings into the air and the person responds affirmatively making us feel heard and loved.

It’s possible they won’t be able to change as much as we want, but we know they are paying us the respect we crave. Or maybe they give us exactly what we ask for!

All things happen and we can never know which it’s going to be. We must walk through life dealing with others and exposing ourselves to pain. There’s no way around it if we’re going to have any kind of relationship.

Except with a pet.

Then there’s the risk of hurting the person’s feelings because they already feel like they’re giving so much and we’re not absorbing it as enough.

I have been on both sides of this issue. Where I was giving one hundred percent and it was perceived as a deficiency. And I have expressed grievances with another where they felt like they were giving their all.

It helps to have a perspective — for example, in this above situation. I know what it feels like to have someone state that they don’t read my actions of giving when I truly poured my love out in my way.

I think twice before telling another they’re coming up short with what I wish to be receiving from them. I look to what might not seem obvious to me, but know is a big deal for them — in terms of ways they are showing me their love, care, and attention.

Communication is the best method for any of these issues, but not everybody is good at that.

Sometimes we don’t tell people about our needs of them because we are afraid they will get angry. We would rather stay in the safe lane without rocking the boat.

Disturbing the peace can leave us with less than we had before. Nevertheless, there is value in getting things off our chest even if it causes a rift and leaves us feeling more alone than before.

Everyone has to weigh this out for themselves but my experience is that it is worth it to take a chance because there is something healing — at least for ourselves — about putting our words of truth into the human environment.

If we do it with love, it also teaches the other person to feel empowered to ask for what they want when they may have otherwise stifled their emotions.

Also, it is possible we may get a positive response, just not for a while. It may seem like it was a bad idea, and then down the road, the relationship shifts, and you realize it’s because of what you stated.

People are defensive and it can take time for messages to seep in. I have definitely experienced this.

In fact, it has shocked me a number of times that a risk I took years prior registered for someone later on.

No matter how frightening it might seem to speak your truth, it can never be a mistake even if you upset or lose the person temporarily or forever.

We learn, I do at least, to find calm and kinder ways to relay things that are not working for us in a relationship.

Yet there have been times I said something as gently as I could imagine, and it still infuriated the person because of the information.

If it feels like it’s not worth it to come out even shorter than we started, it can be best to keep things close to the vest.

At least identifying our truth to ourselves is useful even if we don’t offer it up to our friend, acquaintance, family member, or partner (work or romantic).

Of course, denial too has its place when something is too painful to realize consciously. It might not be the right time to come to terms with inner dis-ease, even if only in our own mind.

It is best not to judge ourselves in any direction because relationships are hard no matter how you slice it. There are some who sail through life without too much disgruntledness with their mate, friend, or family member but that is rare.

If you feel like you’re getting jipped in life because you look around and see other people seemingly thriving with their cohabitants, don’t be fooled. Everyone’s got something they’re dealing with. Nothing is as rosy as it seems from the outside.

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I am a mindfulness author and teacher. I blog on healing from emotional trauma, guilt, anxiety, divorce, relationships, women, writing, parenting, and gratitude.

Portland, ME

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