Others' Wants vs. Your Needs


By Michelle Rouse Fox

Okay ladies, this is one of our biggest struggles and it is a subcategory of codependency...  It doesn’t mean that men can’t struggle with it, but in general, it tends to be more of a ladies’ challenge. But Gentlemen, don't tune out, because if you love a woman...your mother, sister, wife, daughter, best friend... I'm going to give you some ways that you can encourage her. 


If you are consistently putting your needs aside for others' wants, you may have fallen into one of these traps. And by trap, I mean believed a lie.

Trap number one: We've been taught that putting ourselves first is selfish. 

Trap number two: Being needed gives us worth and value. 

Trap number three: Feeling responsible for others' happiness.


Ask yourself these questions to see if you’ve fallen into any of these traps.


  1. Do you frequently forget to check in with your feelings or your needs?  
  2. Do you frequently minimize or ignore your needs or wants? 
  3. Do you do for others out of obligation rather than desire?
  4. Do you often find yourself ruminating or obsessing over other people's feelings, their life situations or their needs? 
  5. Do you feel like you don't have a choice if someone asks you to do something? (this is something I have had to work on for years.)
  6. Do you frequently feel like you have no time for self parenting because you spent so much time taking care of other people?  (self parenting are those things that we really need for mental and physical well-being) 
  7. Do you feel guilty over saying no? 
  8. Do you need things to be okay in your relationships in order for you to feel okay in the relationship?
  9. Do you find you are too afraid to voice opinions, wants, or thoughts in relationships out of fear of rejection or or a wall going up?
  10. Do you feel frustrated, angry and resentful much of the time because you’re taking care of everyone else and no one is taking care of you? Not even you.
  11. Do you ever find yourself stuck doing the entire class Party by yourself or being the only sibling taking care of an elderly parent or staying up late to help one of your kids finish their homework?


If you answered yes to more than one or two of those, this might be a challenge for you and that's okay.  I'm here to help with this challenge that so many of us face. Here's the thing, this is a bad habit that needs to be broken so you can form a new healthy one.  Breaking bad habits can be tough, so here are a few tips to help.


First thing I want you to do is write yourself this note, “Others’ wants to not supersede my needs.” Put it on your mirror, put it in your office, put it in your car, put it as a reminder in your phone to pop up at 2 p.m. everyday.  Put it where you're going to see it daily and often. 


The second note I want you to write down is this:  “Stop and assess.  Push the pause and don’t react.”  Learning to and taking the time to assess wants vs. needs is key to breaking the habit of just instinctively responding.  


For the third and final note, “ I can say, “No” kindly and without explanation.”  This is forming the new healthy habit.  This is your brain accepting that you have as much worth as others.


Congratulations!  You are on your way to saying goodbye to codependency. Now go take care of yourself and never stop becoming all the awesomeness that is you.