Who among us has never experienced the feeling of being “hooked” on someone they were just starting to know or who they were falling in love with? That feeling that maintaining a tight relationship with that person should be our top priority?
Sometimes, we can begin to feel something akin to addiction, not in relation to a particular substance or activity, but rather towards a person who is in our immediate environment.
What is an Emotional Dependency?
One definition of emotional reliance is “the overwhelming need of an effective type that a person feels towards another in his or her connection.”
There is a strong lack of personal investment when you are emotionally dependent on someone else, as well as a loss of connection between what you feel, need, and desire.
We’re going to look at the core ideas and personality traits that define an emotionally dependent individual.
What Characteristics of The Person are Associated with Emotional Dependence?
These include, most prominently, low self-esteem (a negative self-concept), as well as a lack of assertiveness and social skills in expressing one’s own views, handling disagreements, etc.
Low self-esteem is a risk factor for developing emotionally dependent relationships, although it is not a necessary condition for doing so.
Here are some of the red flags that point to emotional dependency.
1. Fear of Loneliness
People who have not yet learned the value of spending time alone to reflect, recharge, and rejuvenate are particularly susceptible to this phobia. Sometimes we misinterpret solitude as a sensation of isolation when in fact the two are quite distinct.
For example, if we regularly think things like, “People always forsake me,” “I can’t be happy without a spouse,” “Single individuals are unsuccessful and miserable people,” etc., this may be a sign that we have a fear of loneliness.
2. Fear of Breaking Up, Rejection, Abandonment
Since being alone is the result of a breakup or desertion by the spouse, this fear is related to the preceding one.
When we worry about our relationships ending, we often act in ways that make us feel more secure. And this kind of conduct is typically submissive: we ignore our boundaries to preserve the connection.
For instance, dropping perfectly compatible hobbies and interests because our companion doesn’t share them.
And if the split does happen, you’ll probably deny it and make futile efforts to patch things up, making the healing process that much more drawn out.
Key thoughts on fear of breakup are:
- Self-requirement ideas like “I must be the perfect mate” and “my partner should like and like me above all else”
- Disaster-inducing speculations My heart would break if he ever left me.
- Concepts that are absolute “if he left me now, I’d never be the same.”
- Suggestions for Satisfaction It’s like breathing: I can’t live without him or her.
- Consequence-focused worry: “What if he leaves me?” What if you end up dating someone else?
3. Control/Dominion Exercised and Rejected/Accepted
In certain relationships, the controller and the submissive fill roles that are ideally complementary to one another, making for a stronger bond between the two partners.
The controlling person’s irrational beliefs typically revolve around this demand for control: “It’s dreadful when things don’t go my way.”
The common negative sentiments of the submissive partner, on the other hand, revolve around the need for affection and approval and the perception that a breakup or desertion is likely:
- Perceptions of need include, “I need to be with this person,” “I need to be loved and approved of by others,” and “I need someone stronger to depend on.”
- Thinking that bad things will happen if they don’t already: “If I don’t do what he asks, he’ll leave me” and “I’ll be all alone.”
4. Jealousy, Desire for Exclusivity
There are several emotions that accompany jealousy, including wrath, rage, shame, anxiety, melancholy, and depression. Jealousy is an outward expression of the need for isolation caused by the other person.
Jealousy is a normal human emotion, and it’s important to make sure these feelings don’t turn into an unhealthy fixation on the possibility of infidelity. When they lead to over vigilance and controlling actions that harm the connection, they become problematic.
The unfounded suspicion of prospective infidelity consumes one’s thoughts, leading one to interpret a wide range of the other person’s activities, such as being nice to strangers or arriving home later than planned, as evidence that they are cheating on us or will do so in the future.
5. Extreme Priority of The Couple
When the couple’s wants, well-being, dignity, or personal projects come before our own, we run the risk of losing who we are as individuals.
This is only one area of our lives that will be receiving a massive amount of focus from us, but there are many.
The idea that “personal interests must be surrendered for those of the marriage” is a common limiting mindset.
Both partners bring something unique to the relationship and have unique interests, hobbies, and projects that should be respected and encouraged. Both partners need their own private, sacred space, but it’s also important to have a common area where they can do things they enjoy together.
Getting help from a professional may be necessary if you have identified with any of these thoughts and, more importantly if you believe it is a problem you have been dragging around. Get the hang of having happy, fulfilling, and freeing relationships!