What is emotional dependence?
Emotional dependence on love can be understood as a dysfunctional way of managing emotions and adopting patterns of behavior when relating to someone, which results in a logic of constant sacrifice without taking into account other aspects of life or what they should be the limits that should not be crossed through self-wear and the violation of one’s dignity.
How to detect emotional dependence on love in the couple?
The following includes a series of points that will help us detect if you suffer from emotional dependence:
1. You try to reinforce the bond from the fear of abandonment
This is the main characteristic of emotional dependence: what motivates us to maintain the relationship is not so much the satisfaction and happiness that it generates, but the avoidance of a certain emotional pain , which would cause rejection.
2. All activities are determined by the presence or absence of the other person.
Obviously, it is normal that in a relationship many of the activities of the week take place trying to respect the need to enjoy time together and to coordinate activities so as not to cause inconvenience to the other person.
However, when what we do at all times has its raison d’être in whether that person is physically close to us or not , this indicates that we have a problem.
3. Your only criteria to regulate your self-esteem depends on how your partner sees you
Another characteristic of emotional dependence is that it becomes the main engine of maintaining self-esteem, so that we perceive what we are worth through the prism of whether or not we do enough to keep that person by our side .
4. You tend to assume that your partner’s discomfort is caused by you.
This is one of the signs of emotional dependence in a relationship that indicates the capacity for physical and psychological exhaustion of this dynamic.
It occurs even when the objective cause of the other person’s discomfort has nothing to do with us : in these cases, the feeling of not being able to make them feel much better leads us to feel directly responsible for what happens.
5. You are not clear about the limits of respect for one another.
Finally, the lack of references about the extent to which oneself can give in or sacrifice for the other person is another indication that there is a dependency problem.
Profile of the person with emotional dependence
The most common profile within a person with emotional dependence coincides with:
Low self-esteem and need for social desirability
The self-esteem of the dependent person is very low, throughout his life of social relationships he usually has the need to like and be liked by everyone. The emotionally dependent person has a very internalized belief that if they stop loving him, he will not know how to take care of himself.
Fear of loneliness and social pressure
A disproportionate fear of loneliness arises as a result of the belief that she cannot fend for herself.
Added to this is social pressure, which constantly leads us to the conclusion, from the cinema, series, literary works and advertising messages, that a person is successful in his life if he has a partner, and that the opposite is a sign that something It goes wrong. In this way, love becomes the “idealization of the love object” to the point of obsession.
The role of the partner in emotional dependence
In the role in the couple it is essential to take into account:
Fear of commitment and need for admiration.
The other part, the apparently dominant one, also depends on the other; raised on an altar of idealization, with fears and problems to commit, so that they always dance in the ambiguity of a diffuse love, with many norms that defend their freedom but with few obligations towards their partner, these people perfectly maintain the balance that sustains the dependent relationship: a constant “I give you but I take you” that maintains the alertness of your partner.
Let’s note that this role is no less dependent: they depend on the fact that their partner has them constantly idealized, that the fear of losing their partner favors not getting involved and committing too much, they depend on someone who always forgives them for their faults, no matter how serious. that they are, and that their self-esteem remains high depending on the degree of submission of their partner.
The relationship is established from the anxiety of fear of abandonment and loneliness and low self-esteem,It would be more appropriate then to speak of «emotional codependency», to refer to the type of relationship of the dependent couple: The fear that sustains both members of the couple in a suffering relationship is basically the same, like the two sides of the same coin , the fear of loss and abandonment of one, ensures the power of the other, self-affirming to the extent that his or her partner suffers for him or her.
The relationship is established from anxiety and is nothing more than the expression of obsessive behaviors and recurring thoughts, such as phone calls, constant checks on how much the other loves me, what they do or who they are with, etc.
Over time, and not for a long time, interests, concerns and social relationships are abandoned. The energy required by the couple to maintain it is so much that anything that at any given moment is considered an obstacle to my relationship, is gradually eliminated.
The progressive lack of support and references will thus increase low self-esteem and therefore dependence on the other.
The constant “celebration” of the recovery of the loved object, which he abandons from time to time to test its worth, maintains this type of relationship over time.
Fear of abandonment
If I have a fear of abandonment, usually due to some early experience during childhood or an insecure attachment to parents, the recovery of love means solving the abandonment, it is a constant and reassuring recovery, an apparent overcoming of a childhood fear.
At other times they are people raised in an excessively protective environment, so they grow up with the idea that they will always need someone, not being able to fend for themselves.
In the case of the role, we are going to call it dominant, compared to the submissive, it has been able to grow by establishing a relationship between love and power, which maintains the tendency to demonstrations and power struggles within the couple, to lower the anxiety caused by the another is stronger and can “control” you.
For these people, a peer-to-peer relationship is a threat to their own self-esteem, since personal worth is measured in terms of how superior I am to others, with the dysfunctional, very internalized belief of “if I am not superior I am worth nothing and I am not lovable ».
Keys to overcoming emotional dependence
Working on your own self-esteem will be key if we detect our tendency to establish dependency relationships. Assertiveness, or the ability to express my needs, desires or opinions, without the other feeling attacked (see article on assertiveness), will be one of the main objectives to regain self-esteem.
Working on the beliefs that maintain my insecurity , understanding that they are not rational and that they are usually due to early learning, is another important point, after they have been detected. Sometimes these beliefs are so persistent that professional help is needed to deepen them and effectively change them.
Trying to maintain our world, outside of the relationship , knowing that it is not incompatible with the couple, taking care of family and friendship relationships, as well as our concerns and leisure outside the couple, will be essential to not lose the references and support points fundamental for anyone.
Understanding that love is not suffering and that the other is never inferior or superior to me, so that a strong bond can be established in the couple, is essential for a healthy relationship.
Facing the fear of loneliness
With small and everyday behaviors, such as going to the cinema, to a museum, spending time with oneself taking care of eating, doing sports or doing those little things alone that make me feel good and that I like, Without calling the other or waiting for them to be present to do them, it will help to verify that one can fend for oneself.
Do not give up things that are important to you because your partner asks us to do so, or because we believe that “that will prevent them from leaving me.”
Not understanding love as a struggle of forces in which “the other has to be subjected to be able to love me.”
Allow the couple to express themselves and not have to always agree with my ideas so as not to feel attacked.