Emotional dependence is like any other drug dependency, the emotional dependent suffers a strong attachment to his significant other.
This disorder affects both men and women, although men show less of it.
The emotionally dependent person has an extreme and constant need for affection and a dreadful fear of being abandoned by a partner. Normally, these people tend to cover their need for affection with complicated relationships. They can lead them to neglect their work, their friendships and even distance themselves from their family.
This situation leads the dependent person into a dangerous spiral from which it is sometimes difficult to escape.
Usually, the dependent pattern is repeated with each partner, it is not a one-time thing. The emotional person will look for partners that keep and aggravate that dependence. They tend to look for dominant, possessive, narcissistic, egocentric and inconsiderate personalities that, in some cases, can even go as far as physical and/or psychological abuse.
If you’re familiar with codependence, you might notice some overlap, but there’s some difference between the two.
Codependence happens when you neglect your own needs to take care of a loved one’s needs.
Emotional dependence can resemble a type of codependence if you overlook your own emotional needs to prioritize your partner’s emotions.
The person with emotional dependence thinks that the problems derived from their dependence have a different, and often external, origin. Behind this dependence is usually an extreme fear. There are also many fantasies about one’s own ability or place in the world. One feels, without evidence to support it, that if he broke or lacked certain bonds, they would be in grave danger
This type of dependency is typical of people who carry great insecurities. They are not clear about what they are or are not capable of doing. In fact, they assume they are very helpless. Therefore, they need support to live and that support comes from a partner. The dependent person is so afraid of losing their partner that they can develop harmful behavior, including excessive jealousy or unlimited submission.
Episodes of anxiety and depression appear when, for some reason, the bond breaks or weakens momentarily. Existence itself can feel unbearable without that bond. Whoever suffers from it undoubtedly suffers greatly.
If there are not sufficient signs of true appreciation and acceptance, the individual panics. In addition, he will do whatever is necessary to achieve that apparent psychological compensation. Feeling rejected, from their perspective, is the worst thing that could ever happen to them.
In order to achieve approval, the dependent person feels compelled to please others, even overexerting themselves. They will make any sacrifice so they don’t have to face rejection or confrontation. In the second case, the person relinquishes their convictions in order to dissipate tension in the environment. In both cases, the situation is completely damaging.
The 5 phases of emotional dependence
1- Initial phase of euphoria
Our need to have a partner makes us we idealize our future “Prince Charming” or “princess”, creating expectations that are very difficult to fulfill.
We love, or rather, we believe we love our partner so much that everything he says or does is fantastic.
The couple becomes difficult to maintain and fighting becomes constant, which generally leads to a rupture.
4- Breaking up is related to high suffering (anxiety symptoms and depression)
It’s usually when we feel overwhelmed and family or friends can’t help us anymore. That’s when we need to go to a psychologist or psychotherapy.
5- Transitional relationships
“A new worry takes your mind off the old one” We decide to jump into another relationship to try to forget the previous one because we can’t bear to feel alone. It may be an exact replica of our previous partner, or on the contrary, something totally opposite.
6- Restarting the cycle
The last phase is when we think that we will find prince charming next so we engage again in the cycle of someone with the same patterns as before.
When a relationship ends The psychological blow is so brutal that we can feel “broken inside”.
Some symptoms of emotional dependency
Constant and obsessive need to be close to other people
Constant feeling of guilt if they don’t pay total attention to their partner
Acceptance of psychological and physical suffering, for fear of losing the relationship
A constant and dominant feeling of anxiety
an idealized view of your partner or the relationship
the belief your life lacks meaning without them
the belief you can’t find happiness or security alone
a persistent fear of rejection
a constant need for reassurance
feelings of emptiness and anxiety when spending time alone
needing them to build your self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth
feelings of jealousy or possessiveness
difficulty trusting in their feelings for you
Some conditions associated with emotional dependency are:
· generalized anxiety,
· unjustified feeling of unsafe,
· fear of judgement and rejection,
· need for approval,
· confidence issues,
· performance anxiety,
· social anxiety,
· starvation for love and attention,
· alcohol and drugs abuse,
· feeling overwhelmed and tired,
· neediness or emotional numbness
Fear of :
Belief in the need for:
· External leadership and/or validation
· Over-giving to be a ‘pleaser’
· Accepting abuse to get affection
· Neediness and self-focus
· Social anxiety
· Chronic insecurity
· Lacking an identity
· Being a fraud and a failure
· Being a child in a world of adults
· Resentment for the lack of external leadership and support
Emotional dependency throughout adult life creates:
· Feeling overwhelmed and tired
· Dependency in relationships
· Starvation for love and attention
· Loneliness and solitude
· Loss of spirit-mind connection
· Panic attacks
· Chronic anger
· Unwarranted fears
· An inferiority complex
· Antisocial tendencies