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Here’s Why You KEEP Not Getting What You Need In Your Relationships

We might not be able to get all that we want, but we definitely should get what we need in our relationships with others.

Love & Relationships

Here's my true confession for the week. It's only been within the past 12 months or so that I can honestly say that, when it comes to at least 95 percent of my relationships (be it personal or professional), my needs are being met. Whew, girl! I can't tell you how good it feels to say that.


If you've read even a couple of my articles on here (especially the relationship ones), I'm pretty sure that I'm being redundant when I say that I spend A LOT of time in self-introspection. When it comes to this particular topic, I think the combination of coming from a broken home (two times over), being abused (sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally—not every day but enough to break my spirit) and choosing some of the wackest friends, boyfriends and sex partners as a direct result, all played a part in me not getting my needs met.

Because I wasn't really taught how to value myself, I didn't.

And because I always wanted someone to value me in order to fill the void, I found myself in a constant state of immense codependency. You know—out here doing most of the work just so that I wouldn't feel alone. I find it to be no coincidence that the moment I said to myself, "Wait a minute. This is crazy. Let me tend to 'Little Shellie' so that Big Shellie can get out relationships what she truly deserves," that things took a turn for the better. The much better.

I don't settle for work situations that want me to compromise my platform, my standards and, to a large degree, even my expectations. And on the personal tip, although I strive for peace with everyone, I don't try and keep people around who, through their actions (or lack thereof), don't act like they want to be there; a clear sign of when that's the case is when someone knows what you need—not necessarily want but need—and refuse to do anything about it.

Did you just read all of that and suddenly feel the urge to scream "yes!" from your desk, couch or bed? If you can relate to where I'm coming from, but you have a hard time figuring out why you're constantly in a state of being deprived in your own relationships, here are five points that helped me to get to the root of why it was happening to me so much. I pray it sets you free, sis.

You’re Not Really Sure What Your Needs Are

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If you're a parent, an aunt or even if you've simply babysat before, you know what it's like dealing with a toddler who doesn't know what they want. They're crying, maybe even throwing an all-out temper tantrum, but when you keep asking them what they want, they don't have an answer; plus, they are mad at you for not figuring it out for them.

A lot of grown people are just like this. They think that because someone loves (or even deeply likes) them that they should be going above and beyond to get to the root of what their needs are; that reading their mind is evidence that they truly care.

Toddlers get a pass because they are still trying to figure out what a need is, let alone how to express it. Adults? Not so much. No one should be expected to read your mind. Bigger than that, no one should be expected to know what your needs are when you can't even figure them out.

If your needs are never met, maybe because you are the first one who doesn't have a clue what they are. Hmm.

Once You Figure Them Out, You Don’t VERBALIZE Them

I'm a woman and even I get worn out by some of the women in my life who prefer to drop hints rather than be direct. I'm supposed to guess what they want to do for their birthday or I'm supposed to be so in tune with them that I know when they want to hang out and when they need their space.

Having these kinds of unrealistic expectations are not only unrealistic, they are also unfair and bring unnecessary pressure to the relationship dynamic. People who truly care about you and want to be a part of your life want to know what your needs are. If you truly care about your connection with them, state your needs. Don't hold people accountable for what you never put on record in the first place.

You Automatically Think Others Should Do for You What You Are Doing for Them

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It's an esurance commercial where one senior woman is posting pics on her wall, thinking that's how FB functions. When she tells her two friends about it, one of them irritates her and she responds by telling her that she just "unfriended" her by removing her photograph. Her friend then replies by saying, "That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works."

When it comes to trying to get your needs met and attempting to do it by incorporating the Golden Rule—you know, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"—I think that old lady's response applies. Translation—just because you may go above and beyond to meet the needs of others, that doesn't automatically mean they will do the same for you (you'll have to trust God and karma to give back, but not necessarily a particular individual).

One way you can know if this is a pattern (that is more like a rut) for you is to think about how you feel immediately following and then a few days after you do something for someone. If there is a part of you that is resentful because you don't think they responded in the way you would have 1) check your motives for what you did in the first place and 2) accept that this particular point probably hits really close to home.

Getting what you need doesn't always come as the result of giving others what you need. The Golden Rule is a reminder to treat people like you want to be treated. However, it is not a guarantee that they will or that they'll respond/react exactly the way (or in the time) that you do/would. Always remember that.

You Overcompensate in Virtually All of Your Relationships

One of my once-upon-a-time-closest relationships, after we had a pretty big disagreement and worked things out, one of the things I said to them was, "I'm going to quit doing 80 percent of the work in this. So, we'll be whatever we're going to be if I'm not doing most of the work." I haven't heard from them since. It was a great relational experiment—and lesson.

I'm a big giver. It's one of my spiritual gifts (if you've never taken a spiritual gifts test before, they are actually pretty cool; you can take one here). But it took me a LONG time to learn the difference between giving as a form of ministry (serving others) and giving in a relationship where there should be some type of reciprocity.

A lot of us are not getting our needs met because we are doing far too much of the work. We're sending the message that all someone has to do is the bare minimum and we'll be absolutely fine with that. If you're not—and you shouldn't be—here's where my final point comes in.

There Are No “Consequences” for Them Not Being Met

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When it comes to disciplining children, I once read that while punishment is typically an emotional reaction on the parent's part, consequences are designed to correct and improve a child's behavior. In a nutshell, punishments can sometimes be nothing more than painful while consequences are the direct result of cause and effect.

If we were to apply this to grown folks dealing with one another, I think the article "Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead" applies. Back when I was just out here punishing people for hurting me (or even just disappointing me), it only caused more harm. Now, when I have a need and it continually doesn't get met, I simply release that individual. It's cause and effect—if you don't see the value of my needs, then you must not need me around.

If someone truly wants you in their life, they'll learn from their consequences.

If nothing changes, well, maybe you didn't need them quite as much as you thought you did. Hmph.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Check out these xoNecole related reads:

7 Honest Truths About Love & Relationships

8 Things You Should Do Daily To Keep Your Relationship Strong

5 Ways Your Pride Is Damaging Your Relationships

On Choosing Relationship Health Over #RelationshipGoals

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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