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Something’s not right

Senior Contributor

Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

I seem to struggle a lot with feelings of 'liking' and 'caring about' in certain relationships.


For example, I might like someone and want to talk to them, but that's bad because I shouldn't want that, so I have to police myself to not talk to them which makes me upset, which is even more reason to be ashamed by the intensity of the feeling which I shouldn't even have in the first place. 


Does anyone else understand what I mean? 


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Hey @TheVorticon. I read the topic of this thread and instantly felt the big-ness of it. I wanted to reply even though I'm not sure if what I will reply with will be helpful, so please feel free to take or leave it


I understand how feeling what we do vs feeling what we think we should, can cause shame and distress. I can definitely relate to that and get how messy, confusing and unsettling it can be. I'm really curious about the part of your post that said that "that's bad because I shouldn't want that". I'm wondering what it is that's bad about you liking someone and wanting to talk to them, and whether that idea is coming from inside or outside of you. (It's totally OK if you don't want to/can't answer or share, or if it isn't helpful for you to go there).


When I read your post I thought about something I've recently come across to do with attachment. It's kind of a mix of an "OK/Not OK matrix" and different attachment styles. I don't know whether you've come across it before or if you're interested in it, but there's some info about it here and here (both are basic starting point stuff). I've struggled with exploring attachment stuff for as long as I remember, but this perspective has helped me gently and carefully start to recognise and work through some tricky things I experience that are probably attachment related.


Hope it's helpful for you to have asked this here.


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Hi @TheVorticon, what a great topic. Can we please see if we can qualify what you are asking? You are aware of neediness and being attached, however, are shaming yourself for experiencing feelings of liking and feeling like you care for someone?


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Just wanted to say thank you @TheVorticon for putting this into words. I have had similar feelings and not been able to articulate them. Thanks too @CheerBear I'm off to explore those links.


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Thanks for replying @CheerBear.
After a lot of thinking I think it's at the centre of my problems but I don't understand it or have any idea how to handle it. I can't answer about the the reason that it's bad. The parts that I do know are a giant tangled mess that's not fit for untangling, and there's a lot of stuff I don't understand about why because there's no good enough reason.

Thanks for the links. I hadn't seen the "Ok/not ok" thing before. I don't know which quadrant I'd be in though.


Hi @Ali11. Thanks. Sort of.

"You are aware of neediness and being attached" - yes
"shaming yourself for experience feelings of liking" - yes
"and feeling like you care for someone" - a little, but it's more that I'm shaming myself for wanting them to like me and care about me too.
With certain people I want that too intensely which is shameful, but then the moment they appear to care a little I feel very guilty and disgusted in myself and a bit anxious about it.


Thanks @frog. I'm glad I could put something in a way to help you explore something about yourself (although sorry to hear that you relate to this confusion). Good luck in your exploration.


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Totally get the tangled mess and how huge it can be and tricky to work out @TheVorticon. I want to believe everything is untangleable but lots of years of trying and not getting hugely far with it really has made me question that at times 😏

I have lots of questions about what it's been and is like for you but I'm not sure whether it's the kind of stuff you'd want to talk about or talk about here. I'm interested in hearing what you do share if you do, though.

I know when I hit an attachment/self exploration nerve it can hurt a bit sometimes. I hope you're doing OK (you too @frog).

Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Hey @TheVorticon 


I have some understanding of what you mean although I may not experience it the same way as you. 


Not sure if fixit brain is helpful but I’d like to try by breaking down your statement.


I might like someone and want to talk to’s a big part of being human, wanting connection with others. 


but that's bad because I shouldn't want that.........maybe this needs to be thought about. If it’s a human need why shouldn’t you want that? 


so I have to police myself to not talk to them which makes me this about fear and self protection too. For me I go through the anxieties of why would that person want to talk to me, what if they start avoiding me, what if it’s ok and then I feel needy or they think I’m needy (insert all social anxieties here)


which is even more reason to be ashamed by the intensity of the feeling which I shouldn't even have in the first place..... the feeling in the first place is perfectly normal to want to talk to someone and connect. There is nothing to be ashamed about for that part. 


I get scared to connect with others because I’m so scared of being seen as needy. I get scared of others being needy. It wasn’t always like this for me but is very much so since I’ve been unwell. I think now I get more scared about being 'seen' and that all my faults will be what the people see. Being vulnerable and being 'seen' is one of the scariest parts. It’s much easier to avoid than go through it, BUT life in isolation isnt that great either. Im only very recently confronting some of those fears. Safe connection and attachment are pretty big issues that are at the core of lots of stuff. Like @CheerBear I’m only just beginning to look and learn about this stuff too. 



Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Yeah I dunno about untangling it @CheerBear. Maybe some parts are untangleable in small ways someday. Or at least I hope so, if not for me then at least for other people.


This is the main thing behind my break from seeing my psych, and I have to figure part of it out before I can go back to see him again (self-imposed punishment/break/rule/whatever). It's playing out very intensely with him. I'm ok with it today and am just blanking out the feelings from it after it being too much. At the moment it's hard to see people having good relationships with their counselors/psychs/therapists (although I'm very glad that people have these good relationships, like I'm envious but don't want people to not have that... I just wish it was less complicated for me... if that makes sense) because it's not ok for me to have that. I need to stop thinking about this tonight to avoid bringing the feelings back. *eyeroll*



Hi @Teej. Thanks for your input. Yeah there's a fair bit of the "why would that person want to talk to me... then I feel needy or they think I'm needy" stuff. Instead of feeling anxious about it I get angry with myself for wanting it in the first place, because wanting it does mean that I'm being needy when I don't really need it. The 'human need' is ok to have for people who need it when they need it, but I don't/shouldn't.


It sounds tough to be dealing with being scared of being vulnerable and 'seen'. It's cool that you're starting to confront it though and I hope you get some acceptance and relief from the fear.


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Thanks @TheVorticon . Just wanted to add that those relationships with therapists can get really messed up, just as much if not more than others. I can relate to the title of your thread and write a book on it with my experiences and psychs. I’m so much better at that one now but it’s taken so much time to get to a place of feeling ok and being in a good place about the therapeutic relationship. I think I get better where you are coming from.  And yes it’s really complicated and messy. 


Good luck with it. 


Re: Attachment weirdness, neediness, shame

Thanks @Teej .

It's not just with therapist relationships for me but it's infinitely worse with them Smiley Frustrated I suspect my psych will be blindsided by it if I ever get into how much of a mess it is for me. I put so much effort into not showing that part of the mess (though at least now I have a tiny idea of what the mess is) and he hasn't seemed to get it when I've mentioned it briefly lol. It has seemed like he's trying to understand me though, bless him LOL Smiley LOL 


It's great that you've got to a place of being in a good place with the therapeutic relationship though Smiley Happy Gives me a bit of hope that maybe I'll be able to feel a little bit more ok about it someday.

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