Do you “test” your relationships? Testing is a primitive way to see if we are loved. Basically the Tester (I’ll call them ‘Needy One’) feels insecure, unloved, etc., and they ‘test’ the people in their lives to see if they are loved enough. Sometimes it is very subtle. You may be testing your relationship (or you may be the one being tested) and not even realize it! Check out some ways that people test their relationships:
Cut-off Dance: Needy person storms out of the room/house, etc. during a fight. The partner’s response is to chase after to prove their love.
Put Yourself Down: Needy one makes a derogatory comment about themselves, the partner can prove their love by denying the put-down and offering praise instead.
Wait For It: Needy one ‘waits’ for others to initiate contact with them or takes inventory of who calls them first. Partners and loved ones can ‘pass’ this test by recognizing Needy One’s need before they have to voice it.
High Demands: Needy one expects their loved ones to go way out of their way for them (i.e., drive a long way, come when it is inconvenient, etc.) Essentially, if you are willing to really put yourself out, then Needy One will know you love them.
I could give countless other examples of these primitive tests, but you get the idea. The basic process, though, is for loved ones to anticipate Needy One’s needs and meet them before they experience any discomfort.
If you think you might be a Needy One, that’s good news! Once you recognize you are constantly testing your relationships, you can learn how to stop. It is not fun to be on the receiving
end of a ‘test’. If your loved ones fail the test, there will be a price to pay for their failure to meet your need (a fight, sulking, cut-off, criticism). This is confusing and tense for your loved ones as they did not even know they were being tested! Eventually your loved ones will grow weary under the constant strain of testing, and you are going to feel less loved in your relationships! In fact, it makes the other person feel manipulated and they have less desire to meet your needs! Think about this: If your loved ones pass the test, you feel loved and all is well, but this result is only temporary. The insecurity arises again and another test is administered. This creates an ever-present tension for your loved ones wondering when the next test will come and if they will pass it!
If you are in relationship with a Needy One, watch for the testing process and learn not to play the game. They are merely using a most primitive way to meet their needs and you’ve played right into it, most likely for a long time. Once you recognize it and respond in a healthy way yourself, you will no longer feel tugged, pulled, and manipulated into doing things that you don’t want to do. Getting the Needy One to stop is only half the battle. Once you stop playing into it, they are going to have to find a healthier way to meet their needs or go without. Since going without isn’t an option for someone so needy, they will usually begin to play by your healthier rules! Then they can get their needs met, and you don’t have to live under the constant threat of failing a test!