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Ignored wants.

Old 06-19-2007, 08:20 PM
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Ignored wants.

I suppose I want things, but when asked, "what do you want to do, or want for dinner, or want to watch." I casually reply, "oh, it doesn't matter to me, whetever you want." It was dangerous to "want" in my mother's alcoholic household. If it was found out that I wanted, then she had some leverage. I learned to "not want" at an early age. I can list only a handful of things that I actually wanted in my life. This has continued into adulthood, and has caused some big problems for me and my family. Does anyone have any insight into this problem I am committed to changing this behavior. I WANT to change it.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:21 PM
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Wants vs needs...

I want steak but there is only peanut butter and bread. My need is for nourishment but my tastebuds say steak. I can fill the need or I can put out the effort to fill the want.
Look about and see just how many times you have made a choice and picked what you wanted. Every time I go into a store, I get what I want as my funds allow.
Think of something you like and go get it for "you".
Can be as small as an icecream cone or if your budget allows... maybe a new CD collection? Maybe just one CD? Start small and treat yourself to a gift a month as your budget allows or save up for a bigger gift after a few months.
My mother was one who would take away things as she would get upset and over punish or at times we just wouldn't ask because we knew she was in a mood.
She would also bribe when she wanted something so it became a sick sort of balance in a way. Maybe that is why I am not so materialistic?

Treat yourself. For me it was a new motorcycle one year. A want that I rationalized as being a need but I sure am enjoying it.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:16 AM
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I totally get where you're coming from. Want wasn't a good thing in my house either. I was told to take what I was given and be grateful for it. After a while, I just stopped wanting and that's caused so many problems.

To this day, I still don't know what I want to do with my life. I have a hard time wanting anything. If I wanted something specific, then I would have some drive, but nothing turns me on motivationally. My life is about existing, but not wanting and that makes me feel pretty empty. It fills me with despair.

Last edited by Hemmingway's D; 06-20-2007 at 07:17 AM. Reason: Spelling issues
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:22 AM
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Grew up in an alcoholic home myself. I do the same thing when asked where or what about food, movies ANYTHING!!! Standard. . .I don't care, whatever. But as the other post from . . .when I go to the store, I get what we need, then a few things that we want too. I did finish school and FINALLY after about 25 yrs of DEAD END jobs that hardly would last a couple of years I have a WONDERFUL job that I want! I like what I do, it's what I WANT to do. My unmet want is in the man department, huh, imagine that! I've always "wanted" the "happy" home life, married with kids FOREVER fantasy deal. Well I've tried and tried and I either pick losers or my psycho crap runs em off. Today though after almost 10 yrs clean and sober, I am happy to announce that I'm not that bad. I have some codependent spells and went through one just the last couple of days, but after lots of talk with sponsor and on here yesterday, I am better today. Thanks to all who care, listen and give feedback!!! And. . .thank GOD I'm not sittin in that Sh*t today!!!!!!
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:49 AM
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Wow, I do the same thing..."I don't care. Whatever you want...." I hadn't thought of it in the context of it being used as leverage by the other person. What I do know is that I don't express a preference most of the time even when I have one because I expect (actually I demand) that when I do say what I want, it is fulfilled. ::sigh:: That doesn't listen very healthy either does it?
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:42 AM
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I totally get that too!

When I young, I was told to be quiet so often that after a while, I just lost my voice. Sadly, I never really got it back completely. I was taught that no one likes a complainer or a demanding child. Funny. As I grew up I noticed that it was always the squeeky wheel people who get the attention grease.

Now I just go with the flow. I rarely set the pace for anything, but when I do express an opinion, a need, a preference or whatever, I expect to get my way. How unrealistic is that?
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:35 PM
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I learned that the reason I don't know what I want is because I....still don't know who I am. I read somewhere that it's the opposite of being selfish..it's being self-less, or not having a self. Little by little over the years, with my faith and my recovery I am discovering what it is _I_ want yet I have some areas in my life that are at a standstill.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:43 PM
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As a Card Carrying People Pleaser, it was never ABOUT me.... I was expected to take a back seat and acquiesce to whatever made someone else happy. My own desires were buried and forgotten, because I was only happy if the other person was happy.

As I worked my program of recovery, I was amazed to find out that being selfish was a good and positive thing! Self-ish meant I was taking care of myself. As a 40 yr old woman I began to learn what I liked and didn't like - foods, movies, books, clothes, stores, colors - everything!

I can actually speak up now and make a decision. If it's about where to go to eat? I still enjoy the company more than the food, so many times it really doesn't matter where we go, but if everyone is hemming and hawwing I can suggest Italian or Mexican - because I like them both!

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Old 06-20-2007, 06:56 PM
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So, what do we all do? I have this strong want to change this behavior. I suppose a behavior modification therapist would start with something small like an ice cream cone as "Best" sugested, or even the big thing like a motorcycle. I bought a pool table years ago with this in mind and feel guilty every day I don't play on it. I didn't really deserve it. I even bought a kayak and used it a few times. I bought these things because I so much wanted to have and fulfill a want, that I created them. I believe that if I had a healthy relationship with want, then I would have chosen much more fulfilling things. I have been set back by my attempt to want and have and now need so much to develop and nurture my wants in a healthy way. I can't even buy a pair of shoes right now.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:07 PM
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yep ..i have a heck of a time knowing what i want
what i need, becuase it was all confussing after
a while. Becuase even if i needed something i was
afraid to ask for it...mmm becuase i'd get it or
dad would complain or give me a hardtime for it.
And i have a hardtime treating myself to a treat
or even making decision for myself. becuase everything
i did wasn't good enough..and my father would
critizise me anyways..yes even when i went into
the service, even when i got sober, even when
i had a good job, even when I was rasing a family
I love very much.

While being in the USAF wasn't too easy, but
it was comfortable in a way..i didn't have too
make decisions. So when i got married...guess what ?
samething. Even at a management posistion job..i was
able to make decision..but it wasn't for me so i made
them.

Even when I was younger and had a roomate..
I paid all the bills and the rent , but we were
suppost to go half and half.

I think the best thing that ever happened to me
was when I was single again not so long ago.
I was the first time in my life, i actaully lived alone.
I gave me time to find out who i was..I gotten better
of course but I still had a hardtime treating myself
first.

In my earily recovery i struggle very hard and still to today
becuase i actaully still don't know what i really want.
The only thing I'm sure of is that i want to stay clean and
sober. And I know what I don't want..so at least I'm
halfway there.

well..i just called my mom..and I can hear my father
going off on my mother...it totally, totally sucks !!
I love my mom and my dad too..it just sucks !

I hate alcoholism..i really, really do.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:06 PM
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BillCK,
I am in the same boat. I learned a lot by going through Martha Beck's book "The Joy Diet: Ten Practices for a Happier Life." It helped me to clarify my wants.....to figure out if I really wanted them, where they fit into my plans/hopes for a happy life, all of that stuff. I'm much better at it now. Do I want a red sports car? No....I just want the freedom to buy one if I want to. Do I want my husband to buy me expensive baubles? Nope, I just want to know that he cares about me more than anyone else. Do I want a new pair of running shoes?

Yes. Yes I do. I want a pair that feel good on my feet and carry me comfortably through my little jogs in the park. I know this because staying painlessly healthy is one of my life's priorities. So I've got those shoes in mind. I want them for a reason, and it's not just because I didn't get my wants before. They fit into the plan.

Same with a good rain coat, a telephone that doesn't run out of juice in the middle of every call, a nice meal out when I feel as though I've really worked hard and would like to treat myself. They fit with the plan: stay warm and dry, stay efficient, stay grateful to myself for all that I do for me.

So.......what's something that you could want - and get - that fits your plan for having a happy life? A class, to keep learning? A pair of shoes to replace the ones you hate the most, so you'll feel better about your day? A road trip to a place you've always wanted to go, to feed your inner explorer?

Hugs,
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:25 PM
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I can completley understand what you are going through. I always guard my heart and caution myself. I don't let myself want because I was never ALLOWED to want - my trivial wants were not important when compared to survival in an alcoholic home. It HURTS to want. WANTING *anything* causes severe anxiety, panic, immediate reversial to self harming patterns or behaviors - because I associate "want" with pain. If I want or need - I will NOT get what I want or need - therefore I will feel the pain of disapointment when my wants or needs are not met. I guess the way to bypass that inevitiable pain and horror of being neglected became to learn not to want - or to want "less". If I convinced myself that a want that wasn't met - "wasn't so important anyway" then it takes it edge off - it justifies away the pain of disapointment. If I really didin't want it anyway then what is there to get upset over? It's a way to numb your feelings - expecting to get hurt - and then finding a way to prevent the hurt - even if it means totally disconnecting from your feelings, needs, and emotions.

I EXPECT my needs to not be met. I EXPECT for what I want to be ripped away. I prepare myself for it - anytime anything good comes along. It's sad really....but it's STILL really really difficult for me to believe (not just tell myself) that I REALLY DO deserve good things and that good things CAN happen for me - and last in the long run.
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:09 PM
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great thread! Most recently i have realized that i am getting everything i want! It happened through my recovery, and i had to take the time to really think about what i really wanted in my life. i always was able to pinpoint what i didn't want, but had a very hard time recognizing what i DID want. then i wrote down another list (!) of what i really wanted - no matter how outrageous or unbelievable to me it was, if it was something i really wanted i put it on the list. then i put the list away. i worked my program, i worked the steps and i paid attention to what was in front of me, because the miracle was the things presented before me were leading me to exactly what i wanted! the way is made clear...and it is UNBELIEVABLE how well it is turning out.
all this crystallized for me the concept that indeed i am well loved by a higher power that truly wants me to be happy. and yes I have enough, i do enough and i AM enough. i am blessed.

my steps in Gratitude is where it began. it was difficult at first, and i most likely may have looked like a blathering idiot at times when i was in so much pain, but kept reciting everything i could think of to be thankful for. even the bad crap--thank you HP for blessing me with this opportunity to grow....and now my gratitude is overflowing with joy as i am TRULY blessed by all the blessings i have been given. you just got to BELIEVE.....
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:23 AM
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It may help you to sit down when you have some 'quiet' time and write up a list of the pros and cons of denying your wants or meeting your wants.

Not all wants can be met. I want thin thighs and a pony. The pony has a greater likelihood of happening, but it's still a longshot. Meeting your NEEDS must come first. You may find that you have a NEED to meet your own WANTS (which is what I'm hearing as I read this).

For me, I started each "I want..." debate with myself from a practical standpoint.

1. Do I *want* or NEED it?
2. If I need it, is it possible for me to attain it?
3. If I can attain it, then why am I denying it to myself? Is it the old tapes playing in my head or is there a practical reason for denying it to myself?

4. If I only want it, will fulfilling the want bring me long-term satisfaction, or do I only want it because I think I can't have it? (this is my personal demon)
5. If I get what I want, will it satisfy the need to fulfill my want, or will it be very temporary and I will still need more to satisfy the want (shop-aholics come to mind here, the shiny new thing seems to satisfy the want-need, but it is very temporary)
6. If I get what I want and it doesn't satisfy the need, then what is my actual NEED, as what I thought I wanted isn't really my need.

7. What are the negative ramifications of satisfying the want/need? Will I drive myself deeply in debt? Will people think less of me? Will *I* think less of me? Will I feel guilty? (initially you will probably always feel guilty about satisfying your own needs, this initial stage you just have to sit through and feel uncomfortable with. Allow the discomfort and recognize it for what it is - a reaction to a situation which no longer exists and no longer has any bearing on your life)

I've discovered that I have very few wants anymore, but the ones I do have are big. I want to leave my job (long story about why I can't just give notice and go). I want (need actually) to go on vacation (just got back from DisneyLand). I want to have more time to spend with my husband. The rest of my wants are driven more by the "quick fix" of getting something new. These 'quick fix' wants I accept for what they are - a symptom that I am currently not happy with where I am in life and am looking to change my life so that I can be happy - not because I actually WANT the item/thing.

Early morning pre-coffee ramblings.
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mlynn View Post
I can completley understand what you are going through. I always guard my heart and caution myself. I don't let myself want because I was never ALLOWED to want - my trivial wants were not important when compared to survival in an alcoholic home. It HURTS to want. WANTING *anything* causes severe anxiety, panic, immediate reversial to self harming patterns or behaviors - because I associate "want" with pain. If I want or need - I will NOT get what I want or need - therefore I will feel the pain of disapointment when my wants or needs are not met. I guess the way to bypass that inevitiable pain and horror of being neglected became to learn not to want - or to want "less". If I convinced myself that a want that wasn't met - "wasn't so important anyway" then it takes it edge off - it justifies away the pain of disapointment. If I really didin't want it anyway then what is there to get upset over? It's a way to numb your feelings - expecting to get hurt - and then finding a way to prevent the hurt - even if it means totally disconnecting from your feelings, needs, and emotions.

I EXPECT my needs to not be met. I EXPECT for what I want to be ripped away. I prepare myself for it - anytime anything good comes along. It's sad really....but it's STILL really really difficult for me to believe (not just tell myself) that I REALLY DO deserve good things and that good things CAN happen for me - and last in the long run.
I can relate as well. Mlynn, the last paragraph you wrote is me word for word. I never get too happy about things because as soon as I do...BAM, something bad happens to negate the good. I'm always waiting for the "what is it now" moment. I really need to work on that. They say if you think positive thoughts, then positive things will happen. And I'm one of the biggest pessimists. I really need to stop being so pessimistic all of the time. Easier said than done though.
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