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I Needs

Every person on the planet has needs. I have never met anyone who wishes to be Needy.

Here is the best list of needs I have ever found, it is from Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s book
Nonviolent Communications:

  • Autonomy –Choose one’s dreams/goals/values -Choose one’s plan for fulfilling one’s dreams/goals/values
  • Celebration – Celebrate in the creations of life -Celebrate the loss of love (mourning)
    Integrity –Authenticity -Meaning – Creativity
  • Interdependence –Acceptance -Closeness –Contribute to the enrichment of life (exercise one’s power by giving that which contributes to life) – Empathy – Honesty – Empowering honesty (that which enables us to learn from our limitations) – Appreciation – Love – Reassurance – Respect – Support – Trust – Warmth
  • Physical Nurturance –Air – Food –Movement/exercise – Protection from: life threatening forms of life; viruses, bacteria, insects, predatory animals (especially human beings) – Rest – Sexual Expression – Shelter – Touch – Water
  • Play
  • Spiritual Communion – Beauty –Harmony –Inspiration – Order – Peace

If your needs are not being met you are in conflict. Your emotions are going to keep firing feelings at one until one figures out which NEED is ALIVE in them and the plan for resolution.

You will have to keep mapping the pathway from emotion to need to figure out how to problem – solve this conflict.

People choose how they will react, behave, or express their emotions and unmet needs. It is a choice and it took practice and training to learn to express their emotions in the chosen format.

angry yelling

Someone is yelling in your face. They are having an emotional outburst – their NEED is not being resolved so they think if one takes in all their noise and blather, one will believe that the conflict is about oneself and absorb that noise, resolve the conflict; meet the need for them.

Doesn’t work that way – NOPE. If you want to resolve the noise first you have to enjoy it (observe it), separate yourself from it, recognize the emotions and guess at the unmet NEED trying to get resolution from that person. One may have triggered the emotional deployment, but one does not need to own it. One may feel badly for setting off the trigger, but it is the yelling person who has the unmet need – some need is alive in them.

This may trigger an unmet need in you, such as your need for Harmony, but the conflict is theirs not yours. “I am quite sorry to have made some feeling alive in you and caused you to be so upset.” Might help your need feel better?

If a NEED is alive in me, my -self talk maybe a series of emotional outbursts in my head or I may strike out at someone else – I am often looking for someone or thing to blame. This is looking outside my-self to find the source of my negative emotions coming to life. One must discover the unmet need to resolve the conflict within oneself.

I have pulled a muscle in my rib area. I cannot lie down to sleep. I cannot pinpoint an incident where it happened – so my insurance company will not pay for any of the treatments (the diagnosis they did pay for which was extremely expensive and I am grateful). With no sleep for weeks, I found myself extremely angry and searching for something or someone to blame. My goal was to have my healthiest year ever; I have feelings of failure about my goal. I am in conflict with my – self.

I am being nasty to myself in my head. I am exhausted from lack of sleep. I am rather grumpy to my partner and frustrated that I can not sit through writing an entire post. WHAT AM I NEEDING – WHAT IS ALIVE IN ME – I DO NOT LIKE BEING NEEDY.

The pain is telling me that I need Protection from: pain right now, I need interdependence right now, empathy, reassurance, respect, trust, and warmth right now….and this is offending my huge need to be autonomous.

As soon as I stopped looking outside for answers and found the series of unmet needs, I could find pathways to meeting the NEEDS that were alive in me.

I slept 7 hours straight as soon as I figured this out. The pain is diminished and I can start regrouping, reorganizing getting my needs met and get back to serving life with my talents and energies.

So what do you think? Does this assist you in understanding conflict? How do you handle unmet needs that are alive? How do children?

Let’s talk…

Related Posts:

90 Seconds of Anger 90 Seconds of Happiness
Increase Your Emotional IQ
Mug vs. Heart

18 Responses to “I Needs”

  1. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    I like the idea of looking inside instead of to the outside, recognizing unmet needs and meeting them as best as we can. Thank you, Patricia. This got me thinking.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Sleepless

  2. Ari Koinuma Says:

    It’s one thing to understand that emotional outbursts are more about them and not you, but it’s quite another to contain your emotions in check just based on that logic. We all have strong emotions at the bottom (whether we show it or not) and also are creatures of habit — it sometimes takes outside help to reshape our reactions, or better yet, take care of your unmet needs first, so that others’ unmet needs do not trigger stuff in you.

    At least that’s been my experience.


  3. patricia Says:

    Thank you for coming by Vered, I wanted to say that There are several good books about NVC and Compassionate Communications and I am looking for one for you and your girls…makes the teenage communications work better.

    Nice to know I could get your thinking :)

    I appreciate your comments and words. Thank you

  4. patricia Says:

    I think you are very ‘right on’ in your comments. It does take great skill and practice to put your own emotional responses on hold and I believe the key to that is to take care of your unmet needs first.

    Very good thing for parents to understand and get a firm grasp on before kids reach teenage years.

  5. Dot Says:

    I have to deal with this whenever one of my illnesses decides to start sending me symptoms. A guy who used to be a friend of mine said that he could always tell when I was getting sick because I’d complain about everything (except being sick, which I wasnt yet aware of).

    I also think those of us who are set on being autonomous do have to let in the need for interdependence, as you say. No woman is an island, as the saying goes.

    Dots last blog post..Update on Redesign Progress

  6. patricia Says:

    some more good thinking here and I appreciate your reminders about interdependence….I would add my crankiness goes a bit ballistic when folks don’t recognize I am asking for their help and I need to keep repeating my self thus making me feel even more dependent!
    Oh sometimes we are confusing.

  7. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    First, I’m so happy to hear you were able to get much needed rest. Being in pain and not being able to sleep creates a set of needs that’s not always easy to pinpoint.

    I love how you said “it is the yelling person who has the unmet need”. This is one thing I figured out after having jobs where I had to deal with clients who would call up and yell. My first reaction was to yell back, but I soon learned they just wanted to be heard. After that let them vent and in most instances they end up apologizing for their behavior. Having compassion for them helped to fill their need; just like you said.

    Great post, Patricia. It really teaches us how we all have needs and how not having them filled can create unrest in our lives.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..What Do You Do With A Blog

  8. Tammy /Cricket Says:

    Hello Patricia,

    I am so glad you are doing better. I really needed to read this post today. I am at the end of my rope on trying to have patience with my teen and his “changes” that he is going through. He wants my attention, then he doesn’t. He needs comforted, then he doesn’t. I needed this reminder to pull away and let him settle. Don’t get me wrong…I could not ask for a better son. Just imagine a woman with the worst form of PMS going on. Ah…I will get there with love I know.

    Thank you Patricia!

    Tammy /Crickets last blog post..Getting Muddy

  9. patricia Says:

    Had another good nights sleep last night – what a difference. That they just want to be heard is oh so right on…I worked at an ice cream store in high school – my boss made that the best lesson he taught me – it took me awhile to learn to control my urge to join in, especially with my youngest child – I just had to learn it all over again when she was a teen!

    Thank you for your words of “Great Post” I needed to hear that today!

  10. patricia Says:

    I have been there and done that Wow it’s a tough place even with the wonderful children we know are in that moody place. I am attempting to do a mini series here on Nonviolent Communications and compassionate communications…step by step, because I could not have gotten through those teen years without it….son is having autonomy fit and you are trying to be a good parent and stay connected….The whole series puts the pieces together.

    I am also trying to get parenting folks to purchase the whole workbook, because it is amazing. Then people could email me questions or examples (a workshop) and I could help work it through. My example for Monday’s post is just an example of teenage boy moodiness and mom working it through.

    Dynamic vital stuff

  11. Cricket Says:

    Hey Patricia.

    Thank you so much for the words of wisdom. We are currently working on Algebra. I have been wanting to read your post above. I have to have silence to enjoy. That might not happen until tomorrow.

    Thank you again for the encouragement and have a wonderful weekend.

    Crickets last blog post..Frosty the Snowman continues

  12. Diane Says:

    Hi Patricia!

    Wow! I love the post again!

    “We are all need based carbon (units) beings with unique styles too” I like the way you express this human nature.

    A great book is called “Affective Teenage Parenting” for others here. I can’t remember the author right now.

    The teenager the adult-infant I heard it called once. I know I lived through it a bunch. I have four boys youngest 16. When my youngest turned thirteen I thought I’d die he has always been so sweet and kind and then it happened and you would think I would be a pro at this by now him being the fourth. But it was differnt somehow and yet not. I often remind myself this too shall pass it did with the others. The tension of the teens passed and things settled down.

    I’d love to share your work on a site I am member of this post in particular. Is that OK with you?
    Email me if you can about this.

    Appreciate your works here,

  13. patricia Says:

    If I was working on Algebra, it would take my total concentrations to say the least!…

    You too, have a wonderful weekend…I ll be back at it tomorrow

  14. patricia Says:

    I will figure out how to email you in the morning…bed is calling me right now
    Again welcome and I so appreciate your comments

    By all means share the post and the series…that is why I am putting it out here I want folks to know

    I had 3 kids and 8 teen exchange students – my youngest is now 23…..they are each and everyone of them different..so true

    Thank you

  15. Diane Says:


    Thank you!


  16. patricia Says:

    I can’t get my email program to work…I will email you as soon as I am able..

    Thank you for keeping the dialog and conversation going…

    Monday’s post is an example of the 4th step …

  17. Jannie Funster Says:

    Another GREAT example of how sleep is a very real and important NEED and cannot be underestimated. Without it all else can get messed up, even if all other needs are being met beyond our wildest expectations.

    In fact, adequate sleep was listed as the sumber ONE requsiite for a happy and productive person in some survey or another I read. I am so glad you got to have 7 hours of good rest and hope you get much more of the same on a regular basis.

    And autonomy – FREEDOM. We take this sooo for granted in our society, while too much of the world is opressed by their “leaders.” I am grateful and humbled for my good fortune to have been born into freedom.

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..In a nutshell

  18. patricia Says:

    I am sleep very well right now…it is so vital to healing

    Autonomy makes me very happy to have been born into it’s freedom – grateful

    It can also mean having a sense of self….trainers refer to 2 year old behavior and much of teenage behavior as having an “autonomy fit” in other words they are learning how to be themselves ( and often not really attacking their parents, rather just using very noisy words and ideas to inform us of their growth)

    Gaining self understanding…it is hard to not engage but necessary if one wants to remain connected