“I think I can’t even breathe without you, you’re my everything!”
I wonder how sometimes we put so much pressure on our partners, for them to be our only source of happiness and everything else in our lives. My mother once told me that it is important to have different relationships in your life serving different purposes, so that the pressure of being the only one doesn’t really fall on one person entirely, not even on yourself. Therefore, total reliance on another person can eventually take a toll on your relationship and overall well-being.
The need to constantly look for attention, support, and approval from one’s partner, and making them a reason to live life, is what is called Emotional Dependency. This may also be defined as a psychological condition in which an individual needs another person to stay happy, and is unable to take full responsibility for their feelings. One might experience grief, worry, anxiety, depression, and despair and feel powerless to nurture these emotions themselves.
What Can Emotional Dependency Really Look Like?
Having someone to fall back on is extremely natural, and so is wanting some validation from your partner. But if you believe that your life revolves around your partner, then you may be in a sticky situation where things might not be as healthy as they ought to be.
Emotional dependency may be manifested in a variety of ways, some of which can be:
- Having an idealized view of your partner or the relationship
- Believing that your life lacks meaning without them
- Believing that you can't find happiness or security alone
- Having a persistent fear of rejection
- Having the constant need for reassurance
- Experiencing feelings of emptiness and anxiety when spending time alone
- Needing them to build your self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth
- Experiencing feelings of jealousy or possessiveness
- Having difficulty trusting in their feelings for you
Therefore, love is often confused with emotional dependency because they both usually come with intense feelings around another person. But in an emotionally dependent relationship, people feel they're 'in love' when really they're 'in need'. To be able to recognize the fine line between the two, it is important to regulate your emotions and keep a check on them. If you're mostly left feeling uncertain and anxious about your relationship with this person, then it can be a possibility that your love for them has also taken the shape of emotional dependence.
10 Ways To Lead A Happier Life Without Relying On Them So Much!
To be able to break the shackles of dependency in your relationship, it is of utmost importance to realize your emotional needs, and find a healthier way to fulfil them besides depending on your partner entirely. Here are 10 ways to live a more emotionally independent life:
Be There For Yourself! Emotional dependency is known to begin when we don't know how to be there for ourselves emotionally. The reliance on others to make one feel connected and fulfil one's emotional needs completely disregards their ability to self-validate. Therefore, try and have your own back as much as possible. Indulging in a few hobbies, taking out time for yourself to reflect, and being at peace with yourself are important to be able to maintain a happier version of yourself.
Identify The Patterns, If Any. Emotional dependency is often the result of previous experiences and relationships that we've had, which train us to behave in a codependent way, seeking another person to validate our sense of worth. To be able to become more independent, it is required for you to understand the roots of your dependent behaviour, in order to correct them accordingly.
Set Goals For Yourself! Try and have your own goals, or even your own bucket list, which may or may not even involve your partner or anybody at all. Once you have such goals for yourself, you will be motivated enough to work through them, to be able to achieve what you have wanted all this while.
Have A Circle Beyond Your Relationship. Prioritize family and friends to have a life beyond your partner. This will help you create a sense of security for yourself and also remind you that our lives are never dependent on a single person!
Feed Yourself With Everything You Want To Hear From Your Partner. Feel free to validate yourself without having to wait for your partner, using positive affirmations. Appreciating our good qualities, special skills, and abilities build self-esteem and helps us stay mentally healthy.
Choose Respect Over Attention. Many of us crave attention and always fight for our priority in our partners’ lives. Grabbing someone’s attention will give temporary happiness, but respect has a longer lifespan. Once we gain respect and are no longer people-pleasers, we become emotionally stronger.
Explore Your Triggers! You might notice certain things trigger emotionally dependent behaviours. For example:
- You catch yourself seeking reassurance most when dealing with outside sources of stress, like trouble at work or friend drama.
- Your self-esteem tanks when you make a mistake, and you really depend on their approval to lift you back up.
- You feel rejected and fear losing their love when they spend a lot of time with someone you don’t know quite well.
Identifying specific triggers can help you explore coping methods, whether that’s talking to a friend about your feelings or using positive self-talk to remind yourself of your strengths and successes.
Get More Comfortable With Your Emotions. There are always going to be a few bad days and then good days. The mere acknowledgement of your unpleasant feelings will also help you deal with them in your own way. Indulging in some mindful exercises, yoga or even mediation will help you regain your peace while also wandering with your thoughts..
Understand The Concept Of Me-Time. Understand that it is absolutely normal to take some time off from all of your relationships and have the liberty to do anything one would want to do, from sleeping for hours to binge-watching their favourite show.
Know Your Worth! Emotional dependency is known to stem from many issues, but one of them is a lack of self-confidence. Therefore, in order to be emotionally independent, you need to have self-assurance, which will allow you to acknowledge your worth.
Share With Now&Me
It’s always easier said than done, and we understand that as much time it takes to develop such a dependency, it takes an equal amount of time, or sometimes, even more, to come out of it. Therefore, if you feel too overwhelmed to sit with yourself, it’s always advised to then seek professional help and navigate your way through.
At Now&Me, under Therapy&Me, find a suitable therapist for yourself with just one click. You can also download our app, sign up, and create a space for yourself, and we promise with us, there’s nothing to worry about.
**1. How Do I Know That I Have Started To Emotionally Depend On My Partner?
When your love for your partner is coupled with negative emotions for a longer duration, and your excessive need for them to pay attention to you, validate you, or even be with you all the time increases, you may take them as signs to understand your dependency on them in an unhealthy way. Falling on your partner for emotional support is absolutely fine, but failing again and again, in an expectation for them to always be there may not be a definition of love but emotional dependency.
2. How To Stop Codependency Anxiety?
Many codependents often experience anxiety in their relationships where they are trying to constantly change, resolve, or fix issues that might not even exist. They are left feeling worrying, as well as helpless when they’re unable to solve these issues. To be able to overcome this feeling, one can try meditating, or even introduce some sort of physical activity to focus their minds somewhere. Journaling may also help [people to regulate their maladaptive thoughts.