I'm mostly used to the idea of neediness being something incredibly offputting that gradually evokes revulsion in the receiving party over time...
Is it ever something that actually brings out an instinct to nurture or spoil ? Or does it really depend on who's being needy ie a lover vs a dependent.? Is there a term for this kind of thing in the English language?
What's the distinction between Needy and Demanding?
The reaction to neediness depends on what the receiving party wants.
Neediness is often not considered the same thing as demanding--because they really are two different things.
Someone can make demands of you for things they do not need. Demandingness is often seen as something more aggressive.
Whereas true neediness is basically just recognizing a need. A baby needs milk--it cries without understanding why--just because it is hungry. It's not being demanding.
But to a tired mother, it may feel like a demand, even if that's not actually coming from the baby since the baby cannot understand the concept of demand, and they are just reacting according to a basic need.
It moreso depends on the person perceiving the neediness and what they have to offer, and what they want.
To some people neediness is appealing if they want to feel needed, or if they view neediness as a weakness and they want to feel they have an advantage of strength.
To some people it's repulsive, like if they have nothing to offer--it can remind them of their lack.
It's very complicated and we probably develop issues surrounding this concept in early childhood sometimes--like the anxious attachment style (which would be characterized by neediness) and the avoidant (which would be characterized by the fear of being needy or of having anyone depend on them.
But neediness, in the true sense, is part of being human. We are all needy when we are babies. And unfortunately, life doesn't always provide us with what we need, so we often develop issues around this theme.
And sometimes people manipulate others with acts of neediness, which further puts others off from the idea of it. Like the term "the squeaky wheel gets the oil"--some people do act demanding, and they do it in the guise of neediness, when they are actually trying to control and demand from others.
But if you think of an infant, who is only reacting out of fear for his life or discomfort around physiological conditions he cannot control, it's far from acting demanding.