Emotional dependence is a complex condition. It usually does not obey only one factor, but arises and is maintained because of several factors. Moreover, in many cases it is not even a conscious reality. On the contrary. The emotionally dependent person thinks that the problems resulting from his addiction have a different and often external origin.
Behind the addiction, there is extreme fear. There are also a lot of fantasies about one’s own ability or about one’s place in the world. The dependent person feels, without proof, that if he breaks or lacks certain links, he will find himself in great danger.
This type of addiction is similar to addiction. As such, it therefore also leads to the abstention syndrome. There are episodes of anxiety and depression when, for one reason or another, the bond breaks or is momentarily weakened. Existence itself can be experienced as something unbearable without this connection. Anyone who suffers from it, without a doubt, suffers a lot. We can talk about three types of emotional dependence. Here they are.
Emotional dependence on family
It is one of the most difficult forms of emotional addiction to resolve. Generally, it corresponds to family structures where parents suffer from strong states of anxiety and pass them on to their children. The latter are therefore educated with an excessive fear of the world. The exterior is seen as a threat and the family breast as a refuge.
Anyone who suffers from this type of addiction overvalues the protection that their family gives them. If there are affectionate bonds and great gestures of solidarity, it is obvious that there are also unhealthy traits. In this diagram, there is the repeated idea that there are risks and that it is better to stay away from them as much as possible.
In this type of family, we do not build self-confidence. On the contrary, basically, we encourage the belief that the person will be incapable in the face of great challenges. In this way, the family becomes a kind of bubble which protects but also which encloses. Basically, this is the wrong way to deal with anxiety. It is also an equivocal response to the need to grow up and be independent.
The emotional dependence of the couple
This type of addiction is one of the most common. It is also one of the most harmful. It starts from a mistaken belief. It is assumed that the spouse gives meaning to his own life or protects from terrible loneliness. And then he becomes the axis of his own life.
This type of addiction is unique to people who are full of insecurities. They are not sure what they are capable of and what they cannot do. In fact, they assume that they are quite destitute. They therefore need support to live and this support materializes in their spouse. It then becomes a kind of protective shield against suffering and fear. And a strong attachment to him / her is built.
Although this type of addiction can work for a while, sooner or later it usually causes great suffering. The dependent person is so afraid of losing their partner who can develop very harmful behaviors. Between them, there is often excessive jealousy or limitless submission. Thus, addiction deteriorates the relationship instead of making it stronger.
Dependence on the social environment
Most characteristic of this condition is the excessive need to be recognized and trusted by any environment. If the environment does not send us signals of frank valuation and acceptance, the individual goes into panic. In addition, he will do whatever is necessary to achieve this apparent psychological compensation. Feeling rejected, from her perspective, is the worst thing that can happen to her.
To gain the approval of others, a person may become subservient or invisible. In the first case, the dependent person feels obliged to please others, and forgets himself completely. She is able to make any sacrifice so as not to have to face rejection or confrontation. In the second case, the person can give up their convictions, so as not to come into tension with those around them. In either case, the situation is totally harmful.
Whether in the case of family dependency, couple or social environment, what lies at the bottom is poor self-esteem. Above all, there is no awareness of what one is capable of doing. We start from the idea that we have little value and that we are inferior or less competent than others to have the life we want.
All of these false beliefs translate into fear and anxiety. And like all fear, like all unjustified fears that we have, the best way to overcome them is to face them. Maybe you need to take the first step. Dare to walk alone. You risk stepping out of your comfort zone. Self-confidence doesn’t just happen overnight, but there is something for sure: if you build it away from “addictions” it will be much stronger.
Images by Catrin Welz-Stein