You need others, except when you don’t
One moment you want to be closer. Then you want to be alone. Something wrong? No, it’s all quite natural.
dependency needs – when social-needs dominate
independency needs – when self-needs dominate
This relational needs cycle mirrors the four seasons relationship cycle. Similar to that cycle, this cycle illustrates your current "dependency" based on which needs dominate at the moment.
Your cycle of psychosocial needs
Your relationships cycle back and forth between closeness and solitude. Between togetherness and aloneness. Your human growth depends on this rhythm.
When your social-needs upstage your solitude, you naturally feel pulled toward others you trust. Your self-sufficiency gives way to what others can do for you.
Your interdependency needs
You’re just starting a relationship. Or rebuilding one.
You feel lonely and long for someone’s company. You were recently content to sit alone, but not so much any longer. Your heart tugs at you to seek out others.
At this point, you are both independent and dependent. You are interdependent. You interact with others, but not always sure if they are authentically interacting with you.
You can do plenty on your own, for yourself. But not everything. And it just feels more meaningful to do it with others.
Your need for affection longs for deliverance.
Your needs for friendship and companionship stand out more.
Your need for cooperation expresses itself as a readiness to negotiate more.
Your dependency needs
Now you’re getting along better. Personal differences don’t seem to matter as much.
You find yourself in the thick of your relationship. You have others around you to support you. You are warm toward them as they are generally warm toward you.
At this point, you are more reliant on others than on yourself. Your independence fades with the increasing demands of others. You need them, and they depend meaningfully on you.
You grow closer with others. You set aside some personal preferences to be with others. You find you can do more with this team than you could ever accomplish on your own.
Your need for belonging anchors you to your loved ones.
Your needs for inclusion and affirmation compel you to follow rules to receive them.
Your need for their support incentivizes you to maintain group cohesion.
Your counterdependency needs
You find yourself more at odds. Perhaps even fighting at times.
You feel an increasing need to pull away. Others now smother you. You must get away, and stretch out on your own. Others are okay, but you’re itching to be alone.
At this point, your dependence on others turn toward not depending on others as much. You’re caught between two worlds. Needing others and yet needing to get away.
You’ve picked the fruits of your relationship dry. You feel a need to drop what no longer serves. You’re not quite ready to set out on your own. But you know you can’t continue as before.
Your need for greater privacy pushes aside any need for intimacy.
Your needs for self-sufficiency and resilience overrules your need for support.
Your need for self-determination scraps blind obedience to their rules.
Your independency needs
You’re on your own now. Whether you broke up, or just taking a leave of absence.
You find yourself in deep solitude. You think more about who you honestly are, apart from what others demand you to be. You gain a better sense of your individuality.
At this point, you must be able to do things for yourself, with little if any help. You must be inward dependent. You must learn to do more for yourself to face those times when no one is around.
You see more of yourself apart from others. Your identity asks who you really are. You must explore more of those hidden corners of your private self. You must live free.
Your need for authenticity takes center stage.
Your needs for self-efficacy and initiative ensures you grow lasting purpose in life.
Your need for personal freedom looks to sharpen your sense of self-worth.
Your cycle continues
You get back together. Perhaps even closer this time around.
After this journey of self-discovery, you long to be better understood. Once you know yourself better, you naturally seek to be known better by others. Your relations get stronger.
At this point, you’re again both independent and dependent. Depending on your situation, one more than the other.
Ideally, your relationships and their contexts allow you to sufficiently satisfy all your psychosocial needs. In reality, one tends to dominate over the other. Fortunately, either type can be held together by the universal glue of love.
Steph Turner is the founder of anakelogy, the study of need. Also the founder of Value Relating to apply anakelogy to your painful needs, offering a viable alternative to stigmatizing psychotherapy, by inviting you to speak your truth to power. Delve deeper into how unmet psychosocial needs shape your politics by previewing Defusing Polarization: Understanding Divisive Politics, my eCourse available at Udemy.