EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY: Signs and How to Deal With It

emotional dependency

Emotional dependency occurs when a person believes they require the assistance of another person to exist, be happy, or feel whole. Because they both involve powerful feelings toward another person, love and emotional dependency are frequently mistaken.

However, in an emotionally dependent relationship, people believe they are “in love” when they are actually “in need.” Because they do not give it to themselves, emotionally dependent persons require regular attention, approval, and support from their partners.

Let’s look at the signs of emotional dependency, how it differs from love and how to get rid of it.

What Is Emotional Dependency?

Emotional dependency is an intense need for affection from others, whether in a family, romantic, professional, or friendship relationship. The dependent individual fears that even the slightest argument or disagreement would result in his or her abandonment. If you are an emotional addict, your dependence causes immense pain for you and the people around you who you rely on for that emotional demand. Indeed, the emotional signals your entourage sends appear to be insufficient constantly. You want to ensure that this person loves you; therefore, you may even try to control the other person’s life.

Your relationship with others is driven by the idea of being reassured about your ability to be loved, as well as an overwhelming need for reassurance about the feelings the other person may have for you. As a result, you are particularly anxious if you send a message to your lover and he/she does not respond immediately. This causes a significant imbalance in your relationship with yourself and the other person.

The other person is more valuable than you, and life is impossible without them. You place the other person on a pedestal and believe that they are indispensable in your life. You see your loved ones, whether family, a lover, or a friend, as your God in charge of your life. As a result, the other person will control and determine our emotional states. For example, if you say “no” to someone you love, you will be unhappy or furious with yourself. So, to avoid feeling that way, you constantly grant requests from those around you.

Emotional Dependency Signs

The signs of emotional dependency include:

  • Have you realized that you tend to idealize folks from previous relationships?
  • Do you put your idealized self onto your lover rather than their actual self?
  • Is the person you think you’re in love with a figment of your imagination?
  • Are you more concerned with how your spouse treats you than with who they truly are on the inside?
  • Are you blown away by how this individual makes you feel special?
  • Have you delegated responsibility for your pleasure, worth, and safety to your partner?
  • Do you experience anxiety or panic when you are not with your partner or when they do not text you when you expect them to?
  • Do you have expectations that your partner must meet in order for you to feel loved and safe?
  • Also, do you believe you couldn’t live without this person?
  • Are you concerned about losing this person?
  • Do you feel empty and alone on the inside unless your partner pays you attention and validates you?
  • Do you have feelings of jealousy and possessiveness toward your partner?

Emotional Dependency vs. Love

Fear-based “love” doesn’t love; it’s neediness. Emotional dependency stems from the inner emptiness created by abandoning yourself, and you then want your spouse to fill that emptiness and make you feel loved and protected. When you make your spouse responsible for your happiness, safety, and worth, you must strive to exert control over him or her for you to be loved the way you want to be loved.

Love is about giving and sharing, not receiving. Love is not a requirement. True love is not a commanding force. Love promotes your and your partner’s highest good, which means you would never strive to control or possess the other person. When you love someone, you deeply respect their basic qualities—those that do not fade with time.

The issue of true love is that you cannot desire to be loved while also desiring to be loved. Your need for love will always result in a closed heart and dominating behavior, keeping love at bay. What expands the heart is your concentration on being loving and learning what is loving to yourself and your spouse at any given time. When you choose to be loving to yourself and others constantly, you will experience true love.

emotional dependency
Attractive girl looking at dependent boyfriend with smartphone on the couch

How to Get Rid of Emotional Dependency

Is emotional dependency something you or your spouse have experienced in a relationship? Try to be as truthful as possible in your response.

If you answered yes, don’t be too hard on yourself. By following the necessary steps, it is quite possible to treat and eliminate this problem.

Here are a few pointers to help you identify and address your emotional requirements. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relying on your friends and partner for emotional support, but knowing how to become psychologically strong and stand up for yourself is equally important.

#1. Be conscious of your identity and emotions:

Accept yourself, and don’t try to hide who you are. You must first accept yourself and recognize your talents and limitations to become a better version of yourself.

The first step in learning how to stay emotionally healthy and meet your emotional needs is to identify and acknowledge your feelings as they arise. This will be difficult at first, and it is natural to experience difficulties while attempting to manage your unwanted feelings.

Understand, however, that everyone experiences ups and downs throughout their lives. After all, how can you appreciate the good if there is no bad? Negative emotions are just as vital as happy ones since they help you notice when things aren’t going well.

As a result, instead of relying on someone or hiding from negative feelings in an attempt to make them go away, try to reconnect with your sense of curiosity. Shift your concentration inward and try to understand what they’re saying.

If you want to understand how to build mental strength and learn about yourself and your emotions, you can do the following.

  • Meditation
  • Exercising your breathing
  • Making time for yourself
  • Spending time outside

#2. Learn to take care of yourself:

Humans are social beings who wish to interact with another person at some point. Our self-connection, on the other hand, has the most transforming power. You must learn to care for your emotional and physical health and that you can rely on yourself at the end of the day. Your wants will not vanish simply because you ignore them or someone else dismisses them. Practice knowing your own needs and prioritizing your desires over the desires of others. This means you should embrace your passions, curiosities, and interests and not hide yourself to make someone else happy.

To practice self-love, you must commit to it, just as you would in any other relationship. You may not be able to meet all your wants, but you can meet most of them. You simply have to put in the effort and give it a shot, which is preferable to having someone else do it for you.

Here are some suggestions for putting yourself first:

  • Recognizing your needs and putting your well-being first
  • Managing your demands on a regular basis and not being afraid to prioritize them
  • Weekend self-indulgence and indulgence in activities you enjoy
  • Regularly engaging in physical activity
  • Instead of vegging out, do something productive.

#3. Investigate the factors that cause emotional dependence.

Certain factors will cause you to engage in emotionally dependent activities. Some of them may be –

  • Outside stressors such as work problems and family troubles may force you to seek reassurance from others.
  • Making a mistake may weaken your self-esteem and cause you to rely on the approval of others to pull you up.
  • When your friends or partner spend time with others, you may feel rejected or as if they have abandoned you.

As a result, one must identify specific triggers to establish a coping strategy to increase mental resilience and emotional strength. This could include talking about one’s thoughts with a friend or utilizing positive self-talk to focus on one’s qualities and triumphs.

#4. Don’t be a slave to the past:

When you’re always trapped in the past, you can’t move forward or make better decisions for yourself. Recalling past events and persons and having regrets is detrimental to your growth.

This creates a vicious loop in which you forget to live your life and are constantly disappointed and miserable.

#5. Make your own decision:

Overcoming emotional dependency necessitates making logical and sensible decisions, particularly those made on your own. Don’t rely on others to talk to you or make decisions on your behalf just because they appear to be more powerful.

Ask yourself what you want out of life, and don’t be scared to go after it. Believe in yourself and your intuition, and be certain of what you want or believe.

Begin with minor details such as how you want to celebrate your accomplishments, what you want to eat for lunch or supper, how you want to spend your weekend, and so on.

Gradually progress to larger ones, such as money decisions, and so on. Make mistakes, learn from them, and improve the following time.

#6. Don’t ask for permission:

We frequently seek counsel from our family and friends while making major life decisions. We may ask for input, but what we actually want is validation. It’s fine to do so. However, do not ask for approval from others for petty matters.

Make a decision, look within for what you want, and move forward. Seeking permission for everything moves us away from being self-sufficient.

Nobody can tell you for certain what is right and wrong with your decision. All you have to do is be in harmony with yourself and take the required leap.

#7. Don’t become overly attached to people:

We all need our support system, including our friends, families, and even our pets. However, when we become overly attached, we cannot function as individuals or have our own point of view.

Maintain a good balance between yourself and your connections. Learn to anticipate less from others so that you are not disappointed later.

#8. Accept whole responsibility:

Accept responsibility for your choices and decisions. You may persuade yourself of anything, but accepting responsibility for your actions is important. It implies being completely aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and accepting them.

#9. Recognize emotional malice:

Recognizing when you’re being excessively harsh or critical of yourself is a key step in becoming emotionally self-reliant. When you are too hard on yourself, you begin to avoid your own thoughts and rely on others for approval. This cycle of self-criticism can be broken by finding a constructive and efficient strategy to deal with your emotions, particularly in challenging situations.

The key is to recognize that there is true trouble in your life and acknowledge that you are the source. When you recognize that there is a better way to deal with bad feelings and act on them. Recognizing emotional cruelty might be difficult, but once you learn how to avoid emotional dependency, you will discover that having a positive attitude can be liberating.

#10. Identify self-destructive patterns:

Many emotionally dependent behaviors stem from trauma or emotional struggles we experienced as children or adolescents. Once you’ve identified the triggers and events, you’ll be able to remove the pain of the past, which will help you avoid self-destructive behaviors that can harm your mental and physical well-being. When you seek counselling for dependency issues, you will learn to let go of the past rather than allow it to define you.
To begin, you must discover your triggers and the patterns that are connected to your past. These actions, habits, or individuals lead you astray and make you feel unloved. Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can spot the traps and avoid them before things get out of hand.

#11. Increasing your patience:

You must learn to enhance your talents and elevate activities that you can perform for yourself if you want to be emotionally strong. However, honing your skills requires time, commitment, and a determination to never compromise with yourself. Cultivating patience is essential because life can be unpleasant at times, and the sooner you learn about it, the sooner you can build the abilities that will enable you to grow on your own and become less emotionally dependent on others.

#12. Don’t mistake your needs with those of others:

To be emotionally strong, remember that you are not responsible for the happiness of others. While your childhood attitude may have been influenced by your parents or guardians, your adult attitude is entirely your responsibility. Realizing that your needs are not the burden of others is a crucial component of life. You must remember that every connection has limitations; you can occasionally ask for assistance, but it will not be the answer to your happiness.

Do not make the mistake of believing that someone “ought” to make you happy. This type of emotional dependency might make you unhappy. The sooner you accept reality and accept that you are accountable for your own pleasure, the more joy you will find in your life.

#13. Seek Professional Assistance:

You can follow these recommendations flawlessly on your own, but occasionally, a helping hand gives you a little push to stand up for yourself.

It can be exceedingly difficult to overcome emotional dependence, but it is vital to do so. We won’t be able to learn how to become mentally strong and repair the hurts of the past until we recognize the traumas and past sufferings that we all tend to burden ourselves with.

Because emotionally dependent behaviors develop over time, you cannot improve yourself overnight. Although you must confront such issues and be firm, you must also be patient and compassionate toward yourself or your partner.

Speak with a mental health counselor who can help you embrace yourself and manage issues caused by emotional dependence.

Is Emotional Dependence a Pathology?

Although we tend to believe that women are more vulnerable to this emotional dependency, it affects both men and women. However, emotional dependence is classified as a pathology, just like any other addiction. Indeed, emotional dependence causes you to be psychologically unable to see yourself living without the other person’s presence, without them giving you their approval or sharing their judgment. You need to know that the other person appreciates you and that you are carrying out what they tell you. All of this causes you a great deal of psychological and physical pain.

Emotional dependency and fear of abandonment are often tightly linked. In fact, someone who fears abandonment is more likely to develop emotional dependence. When you are terrified of being abandoned, you will want the other person to prove his or her love for you, which exhausts the other person, who is no longer willing to change all of his or her behaviors to fulfil your needs. You then lose the other, which promotes your anxiety and emotional dependence. It is then the beginning of this vicious spiral.

According to health professionals and pathology classifications such as the DSM-5, emotional dependence is considered a pathology and falls under the category of personality disorders such as dependent personality. It cannot be diagnosed until adulthood. When an adult person is unable to make decisions in his or her daily life, has difficulty assuming responsibility, has difficulty engaging in an activity on his or her own, has a strong need for support and recognition, feels unable to live alone, and has a high level of anxiety about being alone, these are all signs that he or she may be suffering from emotional dependence.

What Is a Healthy Emotional Dependency?

A healthy relationship is, first and foremost, fair and balanced. In your relationships, you feel like you give a lot (too much) and receive far more than you offer. However, this isn’t proof of a healthy relationship. In fact, for a relationship to be healthy, each individual must contribute 50% and offer 100%. It is important not to attempt to compensate for the hypothetical absence of the other. You shouldn’t offer yourself at 90% and the other at 10%. According to the Toltec Agreements, it is important always to offer 100% of yourself while remaining true to who you are today.

However, leaving room for the other to give is also necessary. Accept and be content with what is offered to you.

Being in a healthy relationship is knowing when to say no. It is not a good relationship if you and your partner accept all their requests. If they don’t fit you, your ideals, or your desires, give yourself the freedom to say no. It is important to be yourself in a satisfying relationship.

Finally, a healthy relationship is knowing how to give yourself before looking for it in the other person. Emotional dependency causes us to seek love in others when we lack it for ourselves.

Is Dependency Good or Bad?

One of the most genuine aspects of a relationship is dependency. Dependency is frequently regarded as a negative characteristic of a relationship. The authors, on the other hand, are not so sure.

What Is Toxic Codependency?

One individual is “troubled,” and he or she tends to drain the other’s energy and resources by acting selfishly. The Codependent, on the other hand, obsessively takes care of the other at the expense of their own well-being and independence.

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