By Robert Elias Najemy
Conflicts Between Relationships and Needs
The one greatest source of tension in relationships is our
need-conflicts. When the other does not behave in a way, which
allows our needs to be fulfilled, we develop negative feelings
toward that person.
We perceive him or her as the cause of our unhappiness. We are
controlled by our needs and our relationships suffer when we
feel that they are not being fulfilled.
When a need is not being fulfilled, there are four basic
possible reasons why. Understanding these reasons will allow us
to determine what we can do to solve the problem.
1. One reason might be that we have not been communicating our
needs clearly enough. Perhaps we are afraid to express our needs
because of a fear of indifference, rejection or conflict. Thus,
in such a case our lesson is to express our needs more
assertively but with respect for the other through an I-message
which emphasizes what we need without criticizing, threatening
We simply express our need, why we need it and how we feel when
it is not satisfied.
2. Another reason why a need might not be fulfilled is that we
have a subconscious block to that happening. Although we may
want something, we may also feel subconsciously that we do not
deserve it or fear that we may be in danger if we have it. One
example is a woman who had been complaining that her husband was
not doing enough at work or at home. When I asked her to imagine
him doing more, she panicked, because she had been getting her
self-worth from doing more than he had and being the "victim".
Another example is a person who complains about not finding a
suitable relationship partner, but tends to connect with married
persons or persons living far away or those who declare that
they are not interested in a serious relationship. In such a
case this person who wants the relationship also probably feels
that he or she does not deserve one or will be in danger of
being abandoned, suppressed or hurt in some way. Thus he or she
is subconsciously blocking the fulfillment of this need.
3. A third reason we someone is not fulfilling our needs is that
we are doing something or have done something in the past, or
are playing some role which is causing the other to be unable to
respond to our needs. A woman, who was complaining that her
husband is aloof and does not respond to her, discovered that
her tendency to criticize him was causing him to close up. This
husband might find that this aloofness is causing his wife to be
critical and thus not fulfill his need for acceptance.
People who tend to be over-responsible or perfectionists can
attract irresponsible behavior from those around them.
4. A fourth reason might be that we have come to a point in our
evolutionary process where it is time to transcend that
particular need and feel secure, worthy and fulfilled without it
being satisfied by a specific person or perhaps at all from the
outside. Our evolutionary process is asking of us to find inner
security, self-worth and fulfillment. Thus until we learn this
lesson we "need" not to have our needs filled from outside and
Having said the above, we might want to try out the following
experiment. We can print two copies of the following list of
possible needs. We can fill out the one and have our loved one
fill out the other. (This list has been made for love partners,
but all needs except for sexual ones can also be investigated in
other relationships, especially parents and children.) The whole
family can also do this.
Once you have discovered your needs, which are not being
fulfilled as much as you would like, then you will need to move
on to evaluate which of the above lessons you are being asked to
a. To communicate more effectively concerning exactly what you
b. To remove any subconscious fears or guilt which may be
obstructing your manifesting this in your life.
c. To adjust your behavior so that others are free to respond.
d. To transcend this need at this time and be happy without it
In the case you feel that at least one of your lessons is no
communicate more effectively without criticism, accusations,
threats or complaining, then you can share with each other what
you have discovered and seek to respond even more to each other's needs.
Depending on which lessons you need to learn you will need to
We will discuss each of these possible procedures in future
The question at this point is which of the following do you need
more of in this relationship.
1. Love (or greater or more specific expression of it)
3. Understanding (of what?)
5. Acknowledgement and affirmation
7. Freedom to think and function as we believe and in accordance
with our needs.
8. A peaceful environment
10. Support and encouragement in the cultivation of our
abilities and powers.
11. To listen to us without criticizing or giving advice.
12. To be satisfied with us.
13. To inspire us.
14.To be just with us - to behave towards us as he or she would
like us to behave towards him of her.
15. To respect our beliefs and ideals.
16. To express his or her true feelings, needs and beliefs.
18. Freedom of movement
19. To keep our agreements.
20. To have patience with our weakness.
21. To support us during difficult moments.
22. To express gratitude for all that we offer him or her.
23. To acknowledge our positive qualities.
24. To be able to be alone when we do not feel well or when we
have the need.
25. To get out more often
26. For more rest
27. For more help in the chores.
28.For greater attention when we speak.
29. To do more things together.
30. For greater responsibility on his or her part.
31. To be on time.
32. For more help and cooperation in keeping order and
33. To be able to behave as we like in our home.
34. To take care of him/her self.
For Love Partners
35. Erotic contact.
36. To be sexually devoted to only us.
Other (add needs which are not
Also, Think of Which Needs Might Be Behind The Following:
Your refusal to cooperate
Your conflicts and arguments
The games which you play
Your teaching and sermons