I had a nice talk with my wonderful therapist today. Her advice? Keep exercising the muscle and it gets stronger. The ideal place to be on the spectrum between Numb Nuts and total abnegation is "healthy narcissism" and that's where I should be.
Along with validation from my soul mate, I need to practice self-validation; learn and practice self-soothing; practice self-reliance.
What is the worst that can happen if I state my need for something to be? How will I deal with that worst thing? Once I have that down, just keep practicing.