A scarcity mentality is when you believe/think/see something as existing in limited supply. In the world of relationships, a person with a scarcity mentality believes that love/commitment/intimacy is in limited supply, and as a result tends to be clingy and needy.
When a break-up happens, they have the hardest time accepting that a relationship has ended. Even when it is so obvious to others that the end of the relationship is what’s best for both parties, people with a scarcity mentality would rather be in a “bad relationship” than be in no relationship at all. They blame their ex for leaving even when they know the other person was so unhappy that he/she had to leave.
A scarcity mentality can be traced back to first childhood experiences, but it can also be a result of negative relationship experiences in adulthood. Statements like, “if they loved you, they would not leave” and “if they leave, they should not come back” expose a mentality that believes that love/commitment/intimacy is in limited supply. It’s either given or taken away; and when it’s taken away, there can’t (shouldn’t) be anything else left.
The saddest part is, for people with a scarcity mentality, this is actually true.
They don’t have much love to give to themselves let alone anyone else, and as a result most get into a relationship but withhold their love because if they give it to someone else, they have nothing left for themselves. Others give to a relationship the little love they have with the hope that they will get much more in return.
But what often happens is that those who withhold love, end up being dumped because they withheld their love. Those that gave with the hope that they will get much more in return, also get dumped for demanding too much, being too controlling, being too needy and clingy — or for having too many high expectations.
In both cases, these people end up feeling/thinking/believing that when a relationship ends or someone dumps another, love has been taken away. And when love is taken away, there is nothing left, and it’s the fault of the person who took it all away — leaving the dumpeee with nothing. When someone takes their love away, that person is “bad”, and one shouldn’t have anything to do with someone who took their love away.
Many who believe that love is in limited supply and can be all taken away when someone dumps you, tend to seek out others with the same mentality, which only strengthens their already existing beliefs about relationships or the opposite gender in general.
To someone with a scarcity mentality, it only makes sense to think/believe that if they take an ex out of the picture…voila! They are free to move on. Keep them in the picture and THEY will prevent you from moving on?
The funny thing is… reality has a funny way of contradicting our firmly held beliefs.