Is Emotional Dependence Holding You Back? Learn to Be Your Own Person & Thrive
“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” ~ unknown
Are you drawn to people who are kind and self-assured? I am! I love being around people who are comfortable in their own skins and who easily interact with other people. You can tell they love people, but you sense that their happiness isn’t dependent on others but comes from within. They’re the embodiment of someone who has successfully grown from youthful emotional dependent to mature emotional independence.
As we grow and mature, we’re supposed to become resourceful and emotionally self-regulating. The friction between teens and their parents is a classic stage in this growth. We rely on our parents to show us the way. If parents don’t know how to let go or help their children find their wings, the transition from emotional dependence to emotional independence could be delayed or stunted. This may result in fears and anxieties, such as:
- Fear of failure, judgment, rejection or abandonment.
- Anxious for approval and validation, aka people pleasing.
Paradoxically, people with emotional dependence are filled with self-doubt, while at the same time being very self-absorbed. They are needy, feel inadequate and are filled with social insecurities. They crave attention in whatever manner they can get it, even if it’s hurtful. They may find themselves in abusive relationships. Without any real evidence, their minds imprison them in an unproductive and unhappy life, because it’s too scary to break away.
There are three main ways that emotional dependence manifests itself. Here are some extreme examples of each:
- Emotional dependence in the family. Each member feels that anything outside of the family is a threat. The only safety can be found within the family. Self-confidence is discouraged and destroyed.
- Emotional dependence as a couple. The relationship is all-consuming; there is no life or meaning outside of it. Each is helpless without the other. Because they’re so afraid of losing their partner, they develop harmful behavior, like excessive jealousy, which ultimately destroys the relationship.
- Emotional dependence in society. Because of an excessive need for recognition and approval, this person does anything to fit in and avoid confrontation. They sacrifice who they really are to keep the status quo.
In each case, the person experiencing emotional dependence accepts self-limiting beliefs as truth. Their fears and anxieties often lead to numbness, resentment, depression, addictions, projections, and a victim mentality. Panic attacks, chronic tiredness, overwhelm, anger issues, antisocial behaviors, broken relationships and unfulfilled dreams are common.
Breaking free from emotional dependence can take years of hard work. Often, people find it beneficial it to enlist the assistance of a professional who sees things objectively. Since this topic is so broad and deep, let’s quickly go through the general steps for achieving emotional independence. You’ll find links to other articles, so you can broaden your search at the level you desire. Be mindful that each step takes a great deal of time and effort. Please be patient and compassionate with yourself.
- Build your courage to challenge your comfort zone.
- Develop greater self-awareness.
- Mindfully explore your fears and identify where they’re coming from.
- Be on the lookout for negativity that feeds your emotional dependence.
- Consciously reframe thoughts that no longer serve you.
- Purposefully redirect your mind-body-spirit connection to rewire your brain.
- Create new behaviors that support resourcefulness.
- Work on being genuine by exploring YOUR true values, beliefs, hopes and dreams.
When you systematically clear away anxieties and fears that create neediness, you can then mindfully make choices that help you take control of your life. Step-by-step you can transform emotional dependence into emotional freedom. What can that look like?
You’re with someone because you want to be with them, not because you need to be. You eat a healthful snack because you choose to nourish your body, rather than mindlessly take whatever comes your way, or worse, punish yourself with junk food. You exercise because it feels good to stretch your muscles and your limits. You resist alcohol or narcotics because you want to feel more alert and engaged in your life’s higher purpose. You manage your emotions and your creativity has room to grow. You like who you are. You live each day fully and joyfully. You have an abundance of energy to reach out and help others. This, in turn, allows you to develop interdependence, a relationship where two people recognize and value the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within their relationship dynamic.
Does that sound like the kind of life you want? Would you like to completely engage your capacity for self-reliance and train your mind to clear away residual layers of emotional dependence? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). You’ll come to understand yourself better than you ever have before!