We have in the previous chapter mentioned a few possible need conflicts. We unfortunately seldom communicate very clearly and objectively in these cases, and this lack of effective communication adds to the problem often resulting in conflict.

A classic example is a couple I remember who had been married for forty years and when given the opportunity to discuss issues more openly, the husband mentioned to his wife that he was hurt when she made the sound of clearing her throat when he was talking to others. He interpreted that she was rejecting him with that sound. She was taken back by his interpretation and explained that she made that sound because she was agreeing with what he was saying.

That is forty years of misunderstanding, simply because they never communicated about it.

Relationship problems are 95% need conflicts and 5% value conflicts. Even when values are involved, the actual conflict arises out of our need for the other to believe or behave according to our values.

The following process will aid in solving need conflicts.


We must discover what our needs are before we can express them to others.

A. Common Needs

Some of our needs might be found in the following list:

1. Love (or greater expression of it)
2. Respect
3. Understanding (of what?)
4. Acceptance as we are
5. Acknowledgement and affirmation
6. Trust
7. Freedom to think and function as we believe and in accordance with our needs
8. A peaceful environment
9. Support and encouragement in the cultivation of our abilities and powers
10. To be listened to without criticism or advice.
11. Satisfaction with us.
12. Inspiration
13. To be just with us - to behave toward us as he or she would like us to behave toward him of her
14. To agree with our beliefs and ideals or at least accept and respect them
15. To express his or her true feelings, needs and beliefs
16. Freedom of movement
17. To keep our agreements
18. To have patience with our weaknesses
19. To be supported during difficult moments
20. To express gratitude for all we offer him or her
21. To acknowledge our positive qualities
22. To be able to be alone when we do not feel well or when we have the need.
23. To get out more often
24. To get more rest
25. To be given more help in the chores
26. For greater attention when we speak
27. To do more things together
28. For greater responsibility on his or her part
29. To be on time
30. To receive more help and cooperation in keeping order and cleanliness
31. To be able to behave as we like in our home.
32. To take care of him/her self.
For romantic relationships:
33. Affection and erotic contact.
34. To be sexually devoted to only us
35. Other needs:

B. Hidden needs

Also, as we have not been trained to understand our needs and have come to fear expressing them, we have developed a wide variety of defense mechanisms to deal with situations in which our needs are not being fulfilled. Some of these mechanisms are listed below.

1. Complaining

2. Criticizing

3. Withdrawing

4. Refusing to cooperate

5. Rebelling

6. Conflicting with the other

7. Playing emotional games such as victim, aloof, intimidator or interrogator.

8. Being Competitive

9. Sermonizing or teaching

10. Becoming aggressive and/or hostile

As these types of behavior are highly detrimental to our relationships and even to ourselves, we would do well to become adapt at understanding and communicating the needs behind these types of defensive mechanisms.

We will almost always find that we are acting in these ways because we feel our self-worth, security, freedom or pleasure are in danger. Thus, we need to understand what it is we desire from the other in order to feel that these previously mentioned needs are safe with him or her.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Elias Najemy, a life coach with 30 years of experience, is the author of over 20 books, 600 articles and 400 lectures on Human Harmony. Download wonderful ebooks, 100's of free articles, courses, and mp3 audio lectures at http://www.HolisticHarmony.com . Find 8 of his books at http://www.Amazon.com.