It is common for people to develop a certain level of attachment to family and friends, but it stands out in relationships. Human beings usually develop their lives in the company of other individuals, we are social beings; who depend on others to survive. However, human interrelationships present different levels of complexity. 

Emotional dependence is created from the convergence of different factors, but mainly affective deficiency, cultural and educational influence stand out. That is, it is a condition to which certain individuals are more prone, who must try to compensate for their current situation by having the company and support of others .

Other determining factors are personal and social identity, that is, a person’s relationship with the rest of the world tends to experience a process of internal conflict. The dynamics that are created in this search for stability; it makes people prone to addiction to emotions. These can only be experienced with certain people and in certain relationships and situations.

The problem arises when emotions are built on insecurity and low self-esteem. These deficiencies will try to be replaced or filled with other people, they can have a not very positive influence, but at times it seems to be satisfactory.

What is emotional dependency? 

Emotional dependence is a psychological condition characterized by excessive emotional need . Diagnosed patients are often described as highly sensitive individuals and prone to extremely close relationships or bonds. This means that the patient will always be emotionally dependent on another person.

This type of dependency can be compared to addictive behavior . In this case, it is observed that another person is needed and at the moment of moving away the withdrawal syndrome is experienced. The similarities between both cases are evident, it is also important to note that autonomy and efficiency are affected.

What are their characteristics? 

Emotional dependence manifests itself differently in each patient, this means that in some cases the symptoms are more noticeable than in others. In addition, it also depends on whether a previous psychological condition already existed, such as depression or a type of anxiety disorder for example. However, some symptoms are very common , they are the following:

  • Thoughts and feelings that reflect “emptiness” and loss of perspective. The patient feels that he has no “purpose” and questions all his decisions and decisions.
  • Self-esteem drops considerably . If the patient previously had problems of this type, it is very likely that it is a condition that is aggravated by this dependence.
  • As a way of achieving normalcy and acceptance, the patient becomes obsessed with being able to please and be taken into account by others. It is an objective that is to be achieved in any way, it is usual that the patient is not conscious.
  • There is a tendency to idealize people for whom emotional dependence has developed. You can even exaggerate qualities and validate any opinion or action without questioning.
  • Patients are characterized by their inability to set limits and break negative emotional ties .
  • The fear of abandonment makes them prone to being part of unstable family and partner relationships, where they are subjected to acts of violence. They will tolerate any situation as long as they avoid loneliness and rejection.

How are people with emotional dependence?

Emotional dependents are people with all the symptoms associated with anxiety . Most notable is the constant fear of loneliness. Therefore, they are willing to take any action that can guarantee that the person on whom they depend does not move away from them.

In addition, its main objective is to achieve approval, liking, affection and respect ; specifically from people who believe they can provide them with the emotional satisfaction they want to achieve.

It is common for people with emotional dependence to try to compensate for their personal shortcomings by creating bonds and relationships under an unrealistic expectation. That is, when they meet new people they will try to make friends or find a partner, regardless of whether the other party shows the same interest. They quickly become attached to people who show minimal interest in them from the beginning.

They are submissive and very insecure people. Their relationships are asymmetrical , indicating their inability to identify the intentions of others. Nor can they notice when they receive disrespectful treatment, they accept any condition in order to maintain the relationship. The self-concept is not properly developed for which they have low self-esteem, this generates a constant feeling of compensation based on prioritizing the needs of others.

What are its limits? 

This type of dependency not only describes the excessive and obsessive need in other people . It also describes a type of merely affective bond whose main motivation is to satisfy the need for affection and security. It is about the constant search to achieve personal stability even if it means losing independence.

There are no limits between who are the most likely patients to develop this condition. Statistically it is shown that it affects both sexes , but it is more frequent in young women between the ages of 18 and 35. Likewise, in these cases psychological assistance to solve the problem is usually administered late; in part because it goes unnoticed by the misinformation that revolves around it.

It usually develops in individuals who have unhealthy relationships. It can even happen between parents and children or with friends. Unfortunately, dependent people look for a way to hold onto emotions like love; even if it means sacrificing self-love and self-respect . An exchange is created where affection is offered in exchange for attention and protection, which is not always fair and sincere.

The limits that a person with this condition can reach makes them irritable and anxious individuals. They have little tolerance for frustration and little resolution skills . This is how they will face serious difficulties in adapting to family and work environments; especially for their deficiencies in social skills.

What to do if I am emotionally dependent? 

Patients with emotional dependence can become victims of different types of abuse, such as sexual abuse and psychological exploitation. The complexity of this condition lies precisely in the idealization of the couple, in this case the person on whom they depend will become the center of attention. A relationship is created in which the patient occupies a subordinate position , giving power and priority to the other member of the romantic relationship.

During the first phase of psychological treatment, the patient will learn all the techniques and tools necessary to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Likewise, the patient must educate himself and learn to tolerate loneliness. This implies that you will have to implement tasks autonomously, also how to make independent decisions.

The next step is to work on the cognitive plane. Cognitive behavioral therapy precisely helps to identify what are the patterns of thought and behavior, all cognitive distortions of a negative nature. These are responsible for the patient being immersed in a vicious circle. When these patterns are intervened in a timely and successful manner, favorable changes will be observed.

In the next phase we will work on self-esteem and self-concept . It is essential to address this issue, because the patient is able to identify their feelings and emotions. By having a better and precise notion of these elements, it will be possible to understand what are the causes that have influenced the development of emotional dependence.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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