THE PATTERN PAGES
Everyone has unmet needs. How these needs display, whether or not they become a pattern, and how the pattern manifests, depends on how deep the need is, how heavily need was judged (or punished) in us and how much or little our early needs were met. If we were actually punished for expressing our needs, then as adults these patterns can be quite devious indeed.
What we need to do here is separate the way denied and unmet needs manifest as patterns, from the feelings of need themselves. Patterns cover the real feelings, and actually hold the feelings in an unhealed, spinning state. So it's important to identify the patterns, stop the spinning, and allow the real feelings underneath to cry and heal. Then, and only then, will we be able to feed our needy inner children and meet their needs in real and lasting ways.
The Push-Me / Pull-You
This pattern manifests in a classic pendulum swing kind of behavior. In between periods of relative calm and balance, the person will swing from one extreme to the other, alternately pulling you toward them and pushing you away.
Because need in another person automatically triggers our own needy feelings, any neediness in others will trigger this pattern's knee jerk response of pushing away. They may accuse you of smothering them, clinging, trying to control, being too needy, etc. etc. They may say they need more "space". But as soon as you stop being needy or pull away, their need/fear of abandonment gets triggered and they pull you back toward them. Then they may accuse you of not being there for them, they may accuse YOU of pulling away, etc, etc.
These kinds of mixed messages and pendulum swings keep others constantly off-balance, but this isn't just a power play. This pattern is trying to find the balance point inside between the pain of needing and being free of need. The problem of course is that the balance point can't be found until the underlying pain is healed.
The Lone Ranger
Some people have such a strong imprint against needing that they push the needy feelings away from them and into a state of denial, sometimes to the point of completely fragmenting the need out of themselves so that they never feel it at all or are even aware that they ever had such a feeling. Many high-powered men manifest this kind of non-need pattern, but it's not exclusive to men. Some women have this pattern too. They claim to be totally independent, not needing anyone or anything, except perhaps a career and creativity. Getting too involved with anyone sets off red warning lights for these people, so you'll seldom find them in long term relationships.
There are exceptions of course. A Lone Ranger might marry if they can find a person who is willing to tolerate their aloofness.
The Pretend Lone Ranger
This pattern pretends to be non-needy, but is merely a coverup. The Pretend Lone Ranger wants to be as aloof and independent as the real Lone Ranger, but s/he can't ever be truly rid of their need. So instead, they find partners who are more needy than they are. This imbalance of power is important to the pattern - these Pretend Lone Rangers are always being needed, but never needing themselves. At least on the surface. At face value, these people seem aloof and independent, they seem to scorn those who need them. And yet, they become masters at dangling carrots. They usually hook up with people who are extremely needy and who also have very low self-esteem. They dangle the carrot in front of their partners and offer little tidbits that seem to offer (finally) what their partners need and want and desire. But when the partner reaches for the carrot or grabs on too tightly, they pull away with scorn or anger.
The Pretend Lone Ranger will never admit that they are as needy as their partners, but they have a whole bag of needs that are hidden in the basement. Being needed so desperately by their partners makes them feel secure and somewhat superior. This reassures their own fears, and feeds their own hidden needs in a secret, subterrainian way.
This pattern projects the need onto other people, creating false relationships in a quick dash, often with little to no encouragement or foothold in reality.
The Projectionist has their raw need sitting literally just under the surface of their skin. If you get close enough to them, you can see and feel it vibrating, driving them crazy. If you are very sensitive you might feel it reaching out for you. You might feel it like an oppressive air that makes it hard to breathe, or you might get an image of great teeth coming toward you.
What happens first is that the pattern creates a picture of a person and a relationship that it believes will be satisfying and loving, and projects it onto others who come close enough. Any small kindness is taken by the pattern as a "sign", and soon they've created an elaborate relationship with an often imaginary person.
Then, since the projected relationship is almost never real, the other person usually responds just as you'd expect them to... they feel trapped, and sometimes confused by the projected image of themselves that they can't relate to at all, intimacy that they never invited or wanted, feelings they never intended to express, and eventually they pull away. The pattern actually expects this, and anticipates it. Rarely does this pattern allow for casual relationships, or negotiating of boundaries. Lurking just beneath the need is an expectation of rejection, and rage that wants to find itself justified so it can lash out.
Many patterns are like this - becoming self-fulfilling and self-justifying. Part of the problem is that raw need is so painful to feel. At the base of it is terror of what feels like starvation and death. So all these patterns, though springing from that well of pain, act in ways that will keep the actual pain from surfacing. The point of the Projectionist pattern is actually the rage. They must be rejected, so they can reach the point of rage, and then they don't feel their raw need for a brief time.
Super Dependent / Caretaker - the Co-Dependent Patterns
These are actually a spectrum of patterns that manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from the totally dependent person who can't seem to do anything, to the caretaker who fills their own needs by being the one who does everything.
Often you'll find people from opposite ends of the spectrum involved with each other. The Super-Dependent pattern loves to find a Caretaker, and the Caretaker must have someone to take care of. Which one is really the more needy is questionable. One appears totally helpless, inept, bumbling, forgetful, unable to cope, etc. etc. But since their helplessness keeps their partner always hopping to meet their needs, the Super-Dependent is often the one really in control. When others get tired of "helping" them and try to pull away, they often have real breakdowns, or have bad things happen to them, real or imagined crises that can become desperate enough to pull the other person back into the "helping" role.
The Caretaker is very much like the Pretend Lone Ranger, in that the reward of their pattern is being needed, which means they don't have to feel their own desperately needy feelings. If the person they are "helping" begins to break out of their needy pattern and stand on their own two feet, this pattern will often leave the relationship and find someone else who will participate in the round robin game. There is plenty of material on the co-dependent aspects of alcoholism and drug addiction and how the Caretaker actually assists in keeping the addiction going. I would just like to add here the elements of physical illness, and ways these patterns can interlock to hold one person in the caretaking role, and/or hold the other person in a state of illness.
That's not to say people don't actually get sick or need help. But when the roles become long-term, unchanging or repeating, then it's time to look and see if there is an inherent reward in playing the roles, if there is a pattern running between the parties that is covering an emotional problem that needs healing.
It's extremely common for these patterns to develop as a result of living in a dysfunctional family, growing up with alcoholic parents or abuse. The unpredictablility factor alone can make a person co-dependent. But the fact that one's parent is essentially an addicted child, means that the actual child never gets their own needs met. This is true even if the parent doesn't actively drink or drug. If there is an alcoholic/addictive type pattern running in the family, coping behavior patterns evolve.
Read: The Codependent Pages
Unmet / denied needs often turn into addictive patterns. We may say a person has an "addictive personality". But usually in order for need to become an addiction pattern, it must be combined with other elements, such as self-hate patterns, or fear patterns. Addictions are such a complex tangle of emotion and pattern that we'll be giving them their own page.
The important thing to remember here is that the patterns keep the real feelings at bay, and prevent actual healing from taking place. It's necessary to cry the pain underlying every pattern in order to truly stop the spinning and destructive behaviors. If you simply attempt to stop the pattern or force a change in the behavior, you'll often find yourself acting out the opposite side of the pattern.