If You Feel Shame For Needing Anything, How Do You Identify Your Needs?
Cathy: Someone wrote it and said, “How do you go about finding out what your specific needs are when you feel ashamed for needing things at all from anybody else? For example I don’t feel comfortable with asking for a glass of water while visiting your friend much as asking someone to listen to me or help me feel support or affirmed or supported in with affection. What can I do?”
I’m here with Reid Mihalko from http://reidaboutsex.com/
Reid: And that voice you just heard was Cathy Vartuli of https://theintimacydojo.com/
Cathy: Yes, so I mean I….I really appreciate you writing in and asking that. It’s a really vulnerable question and I worked with a lot of people that don’t know what they want and for many of us we were taught as children to shut down like my mom would often just because she was overwhelmed when I’d say “I’m hungry” she’s like “no, you’re not” like “I’m tired.” “No, no you’re not.” I was really confused. I didn’t like I was like “okay, I guess I’m not but I don’t know what this is then.” And if people didn’t have room for you to have your needs and wants when you were little that can be really hard and I encourage people to start with really simple things and discovering like one book I read actually and….and I so I’ve used this with clients too is like How Do You Like Your Eggs? And a lot of people don’t know it’s like “I ate them the way my partner always eats them.” It’s like “okay, try them try them a couple different ways and see which ones you like.” So that’s one way I…..you’re just starting with little things to see what your actual desires are.
Reid: I mean I would start with when you do…..do these things do these practices, do them alone like what do you like or for me it’s always been easier to start with what don’t I like
Reid: as a foot in the door towards what I would like and I you know like also give your give yourself some slack because like I teach this kind of stuff for a living and I often don’t know what I want or when I do don’t always ask for it.
Reid: And so like being kinder to yourself and then my other thing that I do that is not for everybody. Some people have you know told me that this is a black belt move and I’m like “well, I don’t know the white belt version of this is start sharing with the people around you, the people close to you what you’re struggling with you know like you’re like I feel embarrassed asking for a glass of water and when I play detective I realize like I feel embarrassed asking for anything and…..and….and then when I played detective more like I realized part of it is I don’t even know what I want because I was never given the opportunity to figure that out as a kid.” And that can feel like a huge vulnerable share…..be aware that you might like the…..the vulnerability hangover after but starting to put words to those things is huge and then like the people around you were like you give them permission to share the stuff for themselves as well.
Reid: And if you can’t find words yet write these things down.
Reid: And then practice reading them to yourself you know not you don’t have to do it to a mirror. Just read the page that you wrote then practice saying it to yourself in a mirror. Pretend it’s another person and then you know pretend it’s….it’s
Cathy: I practice with my cat for a while because she was not offended. She’s not….whatever
Reid: Yeah and you know and then eventually you know graduate to sharing it with a friend or a therapist if you can afford a therapist.
Cathy: Yeah. I found it somewhat easier for some of my clients when asking for something I actually need feels very vulnerable sometimes and for some of my clients they just couldn’t do that but asking a friend to help them practice the….the concept of asking for things where it’s like it’s kind of a game or a….a practice…can we have…..can we for a half an hour I’m going to try to ask for something every half every five minutes you can ask for something too. We’re going to practice back and forth can seem a little less deep and intense because if you ask for something you really need and you haven’t asked for a long time and someone says no which they’re definitely…..definitely people are allowed to say no it can feel really the rejection can feel really intense.
Reid: Yeah and understand that most of this stuff a lot of it maybe not you but maybe your friend who’s not watching this video so share this video with them. A lot of this stuff is like brings us immediately back to whatever fucked-up thing or state we got shut down and when usually…..when we were kids. For some of us who lucked out somehow you got to puberty and then it happened and for like a super lucky person maybe it was your first relationship or when you were in your 20’s but for me like five to nine years old is when all the shitty stuff happened and so when I started doing this kind of work like I feel like I’m five again. Just realize if that’s happening for you like that’s good like that means you it’s….it’s working.
Reid: Because you’re getting transported back to those times when…when your growth gets stunted in a certain way and then when you start to do these practices, you’re doing them with your five year old, your inner six year old for me my inner nine year old and then you kind of hold hands and walk forward together and make progress and then all of a sudden, you’re the friend who knows how to ask for stuff and all your other friends are struggling with their six year old and their seven year old.
Cathy: Yeah and if you want support I don’t know where you live but meet up. There’s a lot of meet ups out there, look for anything on boundaries – cuddle parties are amazing because it’s actually a place to practice using your voice with people that are really safe and you need to change your mind and you get to explore that what you actually like those that would be a really powerful way to move forward but if that’s you know being able to ask for what you need and want and….and say “can I have a hug?” “Can I have some….could you…..” you know the appreciation game. We have a video on that here on this channel if you search for appreciation game. Those are different ways to play this and practice it and it’s like a muscle, it’s going to be a little hard at first that doesn’t mean you’re bad at this, that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong it just means you haven’t used those muscles and you’re just going to build up over time.
Reid: So take your inner child to the gym of asking and stop pumping up.
Reid: You can do it.
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