Emotional dependence can cause suffering to the person who experiences it. Fear of abandonment, of a life without the other… How to free oneself from this addiction to love?
Emotional dependence, a kind of love addiction, can cause real suffering within a couple. The person who lives it needs the other person, his presence and love, which can cause toxic behavior when the state of lack is felt.
People in a state of emotional dependence have a panicky fear of loneliness and will do anything not to be alone, preferring not to break up a relationship that is going badly. They also need to please others and will seek their approval, which will lead them to avoid conflict and submit to the opinions of others.
If emotional dependence seems to be a powerful love, it is actually a disorder, reflecting a wound often dating back to childhood. This scar is still vivid and manifests itself in maladaptive behaviors that can eventually lead to the situation that emotional addicts fear most: breakup.
And it is not always easy for the partner to meet the addict’s needs: jealousy, anxiety, intrusive behavior (constant calls or text messages), but also the incessant need for love to be proven. This situation weighs on the members of the couple, poisoning their relationship.
What are the consequences of emotional dependence?
Emotional dependence has a deep and lasting impact on the couple’s relationship. On the one hand, the dependent spouse constantly needs the other to show him or her love, to be present, and to get ideas when he or she is not there or does not respond. The spouse may feel suffocated, not very free, constantly watched, and feel that his or her efforts are not enough.
The couple can quickly find themselves chained together in a negative functioning, where one will fight for their independence while the Others will need them more and more. This situation can lead to conflicts, even to a break-up, a situation that the emotional dependent wishes to avoid at all costs.
Realizing one’s dependence
It’s difficult to realize your emotional dependence, but answering a few simple questions can help. Think about your current relationship or a past relationship that made sense to you and asks yourself if you have ever had the following thoughts:
- I’m having trouble getting over my ex
- I don’t feel good when I’m alone
- I can’t get respect
- I don’t feel safe in my relationships
- I need to be reassured by my partner
- I need someone in my life
- I collect relationships to fill a void
- I’m afraid I won’t please him anymore.
These thoughts show a certain dependency, especially if they are recurring. Similarly, the more emotion you feel about these thoughts, the more dependent you are.
You should not feel guilty or judge yourself. Suffering from emotional dependence is not something you do voluntarily and recognizing that you are suffering from it and that it impacts your personal and love life is the first step towards recovery.
Healing from this dependency
To heal from emotional dependence and regain serenity in one’s current or future relationships, it is strongly advised to start a psychological or psychotherapeutic follow-up. Several techniques have proven to be effective in the treatment of emotional dependence:
- Psychotherapy will help the patient change the vision he has of himself. With the help of the therapist, he will navigate towards the source of his malaise, towards what makes him think he has no value and generates this dependence. The therapist and the patient will then work together to change his or her thought patterns that always lead to failure and help him or her see himself or herself in a more positive light.
- Hypnosis can be used besides psychotherapy or alone. It will help to eliminate emotional problems related to the past and thus help the patient find more serene love life.
- Behavioral and cognitive therapies are particularly adapted to treat emotional dependence. Brief therapies, they make it possible to change the negative thought patterns that generate maladaptive behaviors through thoughts and behavioral reactions that are more adapted to reality.
- Art therapy can be an excellent solution for treating emotional dependence for people who have difficulty speaking, who do not feel comfortable in front of a therapist. Through mediums such as drawing, singing, painting, music, or dance, the patient will express his emotions and heal his wounds to be reborn and regain serenity.
- Reiki is a technique that can also a complement to a psychotherapeutic follow-up.
- A life coach will help the person regain control, to develop more powerful communication tools, but also to focus on themselves by learning to take distance and by doing new and enriching activities.
- Couple therapy can also be considered, especially if the addiction has a profound impact on the relationship. It will help restore balance and communication between the partners and thus calm the relationship.
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