How to Stop Being Needy and Clingy

Being needy and clingy is usually a sign of a lack of trust, but the lack of trust is in yourself rather than in your partner. When you cling to someone else, you are showing that you do not believe you can function without that person in your life. In order to stop being needy and clingy, you need to learn to build some faith in yourself and your abilities.

Assess Your Strengths

When you're clinging to another person, it's easy to forget that you have your own strengths and assets. You tend to focus more on what you can't do than on what you are quite capable of doing. Sit down with a piece of notebook paper and a pen and make a list of all the good things you can think of about yourself. This may take some time, especially if you are used to seeing yourself in a negative light. If necessary, talk to friends and loved ones about your strengths and abilities. Keep your list with you and refer to it on a regular basis.

Fake It Until You Make It

Giving up needy and clingy behavior and taking a responsible role in your relationship can be frightening. There will be times when you are not sure you are capable of doing what needs to be done. When you feel the doubt, force yourself to act in a calm, mature manner. For instance, if your partner needs to attend a business dinner and you wanted to go to a movie, don't whine or complain. Instead, wish your partner luck and go off to the movie with a friend or even by yourself. The new behavior will feel odd and uncomfortable at first, kind of like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet, but eventually you'll learn to tolerate - if not enjoy - your new independence.

Practice

Identify situations that make you feel especially uncomfortable and practice them in controlled settings. For instance, suppose you hate it when your partner leaves you alone at parties. The next time you attend a party together, arrange for your partner to step away for just 15 minutes. During that time, practice meeting new people and visiting with friends. Your anxiety shouldn't run too high, because you know your partner will soon be back at your side.

As you develop your abilities and assertiveness, you will notice your relationship changing. Most of the changes will be for the better. People are generally happier being with an equal than with a clinging vine. Some partners, though, like the control that being with a needy person gives them. If your partner falls into the latter category, you may find yourselves drifting apart as you become stronger. It is sad when this happens, but on the other hand, it isn't healthy to be with someone who wants you only when you are at your weakest. Be proud of the changes you have made and look for a partner who is worthy of them.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Stop Being Needy and Clingy," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 9, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-stop-being-needy-and-clingy/ (accessed September 10, 2019).
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