The 7 Problems Underlying Emotional Addiction

In relationships there is always a certain degree of commitment and of course, seeking the company of the person you love. However, some people present exorbitant emotional dependence on their partner.

This type of addiction, in addition to having harmful consequences for those who suffer from it but also for their environment, also often presents causes which constitute in themselves a problem.

    Possible causes of emotional addiction: underlying issues

    Emotional dependence is expressed in different waysBut in general, there are a number of common characteristics: loss of social life beyond the relationship with the person you are emotionally dependent on, the constant fear of upsetting that person or cutting the relationship, and the prioritization of all the tasks and responsibilities that have to do with preserving this bond.

    1. Low self-esteem

    One of the most common causes of emotional addiction is low self-esteem in the addict; it is embodied in a poor self-esteem and a constant feeling of inferiority vis-à-vis her partner.

    This low level of self-esteem it causes the person to judge themselves very harshly and that he is blamed even for the contempt or ill-treatment received by his sentimental partner (if these are given).

    The lack of self-confidence further feeds the fear of losing that person, as those who suffer from this problem are not able to make other such important connections with third parties.

      2. History of abuse or mistreatment

      Many of the cases of emotional dependence that a person may present have their origin in a history of abuse, mistreatment, or dysfunctional relationships that generate situations of dependence and subordination towards other people in adulthood.

      A childhood marked by physical or psychological abuse, paternal dependence, a lack of affection and affection during the first years of life or an insecure and negative affection style with parents can generate in the person a series of affective impairments, fears and healthy relationship deficits that eventually lead to a case of emotional dependence.

      Likewise, going through traumatic situations in adulthood, such as abuse or toxic relationships, can also lead to the onset of this type of addiction.

      3. Social skills deficits

      Some people may lack certain skills needed to build strong personal and emotional relationships, and this, in turn, is a factor that predisposes to dysfunctional emotional connections.

      Thus, people with emotional addiction may feel the need to put all of their efforts into a relationship to preserve it, in compensation for their difficulties in communicating or trying to provide a pleasant or charismatic image.

      4. Negative models of education and socialization

      Another cause which can generate emotional dependence and which has its origin in childhood is receiving inadequate education about love and romantic relationships.

      A conservative educational model based on teaching idealized romantic love can generate negative socialization patterns and a misconception about future romantic relationships.

      Romantic love is based on a very hermetic conception of gender roles, and the fear of not integrating into it is a vulnerability factor that reinforces this constant fear of losing whoever you want.

      5. Fear of being alone

      Many people who present images of emotional addiction also tend to have real one. panic at loneliness, the fact that their partner has already left them alone.

      This aspect is also explained by a low level of self-esteem, low self-confidence and may also be due to an education based on the imposed idea of ​​romantic love that should last forever (and that if you lose this luck there is nothing more that can be done in love).

      6. Idealization of the couple

      The idealization of the couple is another of the classic psychological elements that exhibit an emotional dependence on their romantic partners.

      In a healthy romantic relationship, both members recognize and accept each other’s faults, understanding that we are all human and therefore imperfect.

      Emotionally dependent people idealize both their partners and even they can tolerate situations of abuse, Humiliation or contempt on their part, and because of idealization, they will assume that oneself is responsible for what happened.

      It is also common for some emotionally dependent people to seek out overbearing, dominant, and even possessive sentimental partners; in short, psychological profiles that promote their own dynamics of dependence and subordination.

      7. Other associated disorders

      This phenomenon can be caused by other psychological disorders such as personality disorders or certain anxiety disorders.

      What can be done to overcome the problem?

      Faced with emotional dependence, you have to go to psychotherapy as soon as possible. Mental health professionals work by assessing the problem and coming up with tailored solutions to tackle the root of this behavior and emotion management model.

      Are you interested in having psychotherapy services?

      If, on a daily basis, you encounter problems of an emotional nature or associated with your personal relationships and you are looking for professional help, contact us.

      Fr Cepsim Psychological Center we have a full team of psychotherapists who are experts in dealing with disorders such as anxiety disorders, partner crises, trauma, emotional dependence, depression and more. You will find us in our various offices in Madrid, and we can also assist you online.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Estévez, A. and. at. (2018). The role of emotional dependence in the relationship between affection and impulsive behavior. Annales de psychologie, 34 (3): pp. 438 – 445.
      • Fernández-Álvarez, H. (2002). Cognitive therapy for emotional dependence. Cognitive psychotherapy towards a new millennium. New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers.
      • Morgan, JP (1991). What is codependency? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47 (5): pages 720-729.

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