Understanding Possessiveness, Neediness and Dependency in Relationships – Causes, Problems, Overcoming Techniques and Advice

Possessiveness/ Neediness/ Dependency

Possessiveness indicates a manic state of mind in which a person cannot accept to share the things or person about which/ whom he is obsessed. Here the word ‘manic’ is used since it indicates the extremity of the condition. Although no one in this world is free from the clutches of possession since everybody is in possession of something in his life. Even our body itself represents a possession, since it is occupied by our soul. But this is a need no one can ever be freed from the basic amenities even not a nude monk. But it becomes problematic when you start getting addicted to desires. Desires are as high as mountains, as deep as oceans and as vast as this entire universe, they can never be fulfilled.

Possessiveness can be about anything around even a being. It reflects weakness of that person. But more importantly it makes that thing or being lose its freedom. Everything in this nature has its own importance and right of freedom. Even a non living thing is invented to serve this humanity and not to serve the whims and moods of a person. An even dangerous emotion about it is that it gives birth to several secondary emotions such as fear, jealousy, anger and many more. Therefore a possessive person can never remain happy, such people always fear, from something they are not even sure about.

Possessiveness arises from insecurities, and numerous other shades of gray. It reflects the injured and degraded self esteem of that person. It is a very dangerous emotion, especially in relationships since if not controlled it can even spoil you equations with the other person. Nobody in this world is a personal property. No one can take control over the life and desires of anyone and if you try to do so, you are spoiling your relationships with your hands. Try taking some soil in your hand and make a grip over it. The tighter your grip, the more the soil falls down, the loser your grip the less the soil falls down. Similar is the case in relationships is you try to dominate and take control you yourself are pushing that person away from you.

Every individual has its individuality and when that individuality is in danger no one can sit back because it is only thing that he cannot afford to lose, a thing shall remain with him as long as he is alive. Even in a relationship, everyone expects some amount of freedom.

Nothing in this world is constant and nothing can ever be. Change is in the nature of life and we have to accept this fact. And if we think that we can make that person ours be keeping him with us then we are meddling with the nature. We fail to realize that no slave can love, slaves can only serve. Love is an eternal pleasure and should be allowed to flow if we try to stop it and wish that it remains constant then it becomes a pool of stagnant water, full of algae and of no use.

Possessiveness can also be for a non living thing such as a car, a bike or anything else. A person who is possessive about his belongings fears to share his things with others even not with a family member. They are afraid that anyone could destroy their belonging or harm it. You can call it a manic ailment. Superficially it may not seem to be dangerous for anyone. But if we ponder over it, it is devastating for the personality of that person. It is a symptom of the weak inner strength of that person. If not controlled at right time it keeps on growing with that person. Possessiveness starts taking the form of addiction and addiction of any kind is only harmful.

Many a time people confuse possessiveness with jealousy. Jealousy is a different emotion. When someone is jealous, he/ she behave differently when the thing or person he/ she desires the most is attained by him/ her or the other person does behave in a way desired by him/ her. People suffering from jealousy actually somewhere suffer from inferiority complex. Possessiveness on the other hand, reflects a state of mind in which a person perceives a natural dominancy over a thing or being. The person takes him to be the master of that thing or being. It reflects a state of superiority complex of that person or the dominancy. Stating clearly, you are jealous when you wish you take place of other person while you are possessive if you wish to take control over the life and desires of other person. Jealousy is always with a person and not thing while possessiveness can be for a thing or a person.

Possessiveness arises from insecurity mainly. Past experiences play a very vital role in giving rise to possessiveness especially the incidents of childhood since they leave deep marks on the mind and heart of the person. If a person fails to get proper attention in his childhood he wishes to fulfill that scarcity from their close when they grow up. They get over addicted to a special person because they fear losing that person or his/ her attention. They wish for more and more attention and concern and this tops them from sharing that person with anyone else.

However there may be other reasons for such attitude of a person. Lack of trust is one among them. It is not essential that if we like someone we also trust that person. Trust is the foundation upon which a relationship stands. Lack of trust in a relationship causes severe problems in the relationship. At times we like a person but we don’t trust him therefore we start behaving possessively since we are afraid of losing that person. All in all fear lies at the root cause of possessiveness. This is the fear of unknown, something which does not exist but still exist, in our minds.

However possessiveness cannot be taken to be bad all times. It is a natural reaction of every human being and exists in every person to an extent. In fact healthy possessiveness is essential for a relationship to survive. Even the psychologists argue that emotions are a vital part of human mind and they are essential to offer the most appropriate environment for the potential progeny. Males essentially need to be possessive since it provides better opportunities for the growth of their DNA and does not leave their female wandering in search of other males. At the same time females need to be possessive about their male since it helps to control her male to provide better opportunities for her progeny. However extremity of anything is injurious, for the subject as well as for people around him and so is the case with possessiveness.

I remember narrating an interesting story of a nun. Once upon a time there was a nun, follower of Buddha. She used to wander day and night and crossed numerous cities in search of enlightenment. She carried along with her a wooden statue of Buddha which she carved herself. Every day she used to burn incense in front of that statue and worship Lord Buddha. One day she reached a calm village away from the city and decided to spend some days there. She settled in a temple if that village. That temple had several statues of Buddha. Like her daily routine she used to burn incense in front her statue while in the temple also. But she did not like the thought that the incense she used to burn for her statue reached up to other statues as well. So she placed a funnel in front of her statue such that the smell shall pass from it and reach up to the nose of her statue only. She continued doing this for some days and one day she realized that the nose of her statue has turned black making it look ugly. This happened because of the over possessiveness of that nun. Had she not worried about the smell of the incense reaching up to every statue, she wouldn’t have made her statue look ugly by her hands.

This happens with many of us because we falsely interpret our attachment to be love. Attachment is just the superficial emotion that gives the wrong idea of love. Love is much deeper because love is pure. Love is not insane to keep a person bound to the whims and moods of anyone. To love someone is to let that person free. If you love someone, you would fall into him. Possessiveness reflects lack of love, it reflects our desires, you emotions, your needs and there is no other person involved. Love does not demand satisfaction it only understands surrender. It is the possessiveness that looks for satisfaction, indulgence, and to exploit others for your contentment.

Meditation is an important tool for overcoming possessiveness. But the first step towards it is to free our soul; free it from the worldly attachments, from the evils of society. We call it in meditation as observance of detachment. This practice cannot be brought into your life in day it requires great practice and sacrifice on the part of subject. This is a state of mind where we free ourselves from materialism and the fear of unknown. To reach this state it is essential to understand that possession of any king brings in panic of some kind. This is the fear of the loss of that possession through some means.

This does not imply that possession of any kind will cause discontentment of some kind but the attachment to that possession will cause it. The observance of detachment does not give the idea to free our possessions. It is good to have possessions but it is bad to have attachments to them. Therefore one cannot free him from the duties and responsibilities for which he is here to observe detachment. When we look at a water, it takes the shape of the container in which it is put, remaining unaffected by the oil floating over it so should we be, remaining in this world but completely ignorant about the materialism as well as the pain caused by it.

The practice of karma yoga can help in the attainment of detachment. The one, who is a karma yogi, works to serve people. Such people work for no personal intension but for the society and the people around him. By doing so, he learns the art of sacrifice which leads to detachment.

In the chase of detachment, one reaches the goal of non possessiveness. Giving away your possessions does lead to this goal, instead it requires giving away of attachment and conquering the biggest enemy in this way that is, desire. Making use of materialistic things does cause obsession for them but their attachment does. So we should always remain in our senses and should get carried away. Like is two piece of cloth can work then why to look several colorful cloths. A detached person is alert about differences. Detachment leads you to doorway of paradise and freedom while attachment on the other hand, causes a halt.

  1. Naila June 21st, 2022

    I just realise I’m being possessive but not in love. Thanks for the message. Pls do you provide individual counselling?

  2. Austin Blubaugh May 25th, 2018

    The hand full of dirt analogy was incredible. Thank you.

  3. Rohini November 1st, 2017

    Of great help! Thanks a bunch. Do you provide individual counseling?

  4. Ethel April 12th, 2017

    This is really helpfully. I really need help

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