First, to understand what emotional addiction is, we need to talk about dry addiction. I when we talk about addiction we talk about hanging up.
Attachment is not just a psychological theory. From Bond Psychology we understand attachment as a way of life and a way to understand relationships and bonds. The hold is not only on psychology, it’s in our lives all the time.
The characteristics of the hanging
What is hanging? Hanging on is synonymous with dependence, hanging on, being in contact with others in order to survive. Since we are small, and this is what we have in common with animals (among others), our basic need is to feel safe, protected …
This need is healthy, fundamental, universal and we cannot deny it. Depending on others is essential at certain times in our life, especially when we are children.
What happens when our main caregivers (parents, grandparents…) are unable to provide us with these basic needs, or do not always do so? That we can develop an insecure attachment style. That is to say, we do not learn to depend healthily on our parents.
This insecurity will lead us to unstable relationships when we are adults. Relationships that we will live with a lot of anguish but from which we will not be able to get out. We will need it both yes and no.
The constant need for to be linked to someone, without being able to self-regulate, and living alone when you need to, is called emotional dependence. It’s like an addiction, but for people.
What factors generate emotional dependence?
As we have already noted, an insecure attachment style is what leads to emotional addiction. Below we will see an example.
A girl grows up in a traditional family. This girl’s name is Clara. He has 2 brothers. Her mother does not have time to be shared between the 3 siblings and does not know how to get along emotionally with her daughter. Her daughter sometimes feels sad because she is playing alone and the mother is always working or cooking for her and her siblings.
This mother, in turn, is descended from another mother (the girl’s grandmother) who is not very affectionate. Therefore, he has not learned to receive affection, so he does not give his daughter a lot of hugs and kisses. In addition, her father being away from home all the time, the daughter feels more and more lonely. The father always brings home a piece of candy to make up for this absence, and the daughter becomes very happy. This girl, as an adult, will have internalized a very great fear of being alone, because that is how she felt at home and no one could support her.
Also, the explanation this girl gave is that she deserved to be alone, because her mom was a little cold and distant and that had to be because she had something bad about her, she didn’t deserve love. A girl prefers to tell herself a thousand times that she is bad and not get angry with her mother for not being affectionate and breaking that bond. Remember that when we are little we only think about surviving and maintaining both yes and no bonds, disconnecting from emotions that endanger that bond, such as anger, fear, sadness to feel alone …
What kinds of bonds will this adult maintain in the future and how?
- Distant and cold men who value the material part a lot, like their father
- Apparently independent, strong men, not very vulnerable, but at the same time caring, maybe older men. The girl needs security, and apparently this style of dhome can be given to her.
- He will tell in the bonds of fear to abandonment, that the other leaves, that he remains alone, and so on. This will lead to behaviors of emotional dependence: control, anxiety at the slightest sign of distance (such as not giving a hello message), need to be constantly valued, etc.
Clara’s problem is that he continues to watch cold and emotionally distant men, who go from strong to hard. He believes these men will transform and give him all that love and recognition that he didn’t get from his parents. And we will continue to explain that men do not give her this love because there is something bad about her and she does not deserve love. Because in the end, these men always end up leaving her alone. Clara chooses to repeat her story unconsciously in an attempt to resolve. Paradoxical and fascinating, right?
We can therefore see that Clara he projects his family history to his partner. Clara thinks she is falling in love with these men. But she only falls in love with what she has always lacked: security, recognition, unconditional love, affection … Because when we speak of love, we speak of attachment, not of that mistaken romantic myth that the company told us.
Therefore, Clara’s uncovered childhood need keeps him in bonds that don’t just fill him for the story to change. History which could not change in childhood because it privileged the bond with oneself. And that’s okay, like we all kids do. Because we just can’t survive. We have to do it en masse, like animals.
But what about when we are adults? Why don’t we give up on this relationship? Precisely, and taking the example above as a reference, for that. Because we think we are not enough and we will not find someone better, because we are afraid of loneliness as we did in childhood, because we are always waiting for this couple (which are essentially the conflicts of our parents) to change and give us what should have belonged to us. .
The couple is only a reflection of the conflict that first appeared in our childhood. And that’s emotional addiction. It’s a cage. It’s a prison. It’s a concrete wall. A wall that we struggle with to try to change and shape as we please. We try to change our partners and that only hurts us, leaving us devastated and destroyed.
Emotional dependence is a bond whose needs of the child are not adequately covered.
How do I know that I am emotionally dependent?
First, recognize and accept that we have an emotional addiction. This can happen mainly in relationships, but also with our relatives and friends.
Do you feel devalued in your relationship? Do you feel like you would like to change the other person? Do you have moments of very intense anger, despair or sadness…? At the same time do you feel that the other person is even if if he left you you would die? Do you feel misunderstood in the relationship? Should we choose men who are narcissistic, selfish, cold, distant, immature, or overly protective? Did you feel the absence of your parents or, on the contrary, a very close bond with someone? Have you left and resumed your relationship several times? Do you suffer from very intense emotions in your relationship as if you were on a roller coaster (anxiety, emptiness, obsessive thoughts, idealization and hatred towards the couple…)? Are you suspicious of your partner? Do you want to change partners? Have you been subjected to any form of abuse, whether physical or psychological?
Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself to see if you have an emotional addiction or not.
How to cure emotional addiction?
Emotional addiction, as we have seen, is an exciting problem. It’s a bondage disorder. So, it should be healed with a person who has a secure grip style. A healthy bond with a therapist who generates security, autonomy and independence is the best psychological treatment.
Affective dependence is linked to the bond, and therefore to the attachment and / or hidden traumas that we have described in a similar article.
So a good way to cure it is to go to its root, in our childhood. Thus, we will examine the first bonding relationships with parents, dynamics, transactions, emotional management, space-time, play with the child, etc.
Later, we will work on the memories that gave rise to this emotional dependence.. In the event that we lead by example, we will heal the memories related to this girl’s feeling of loneliness. When we go through this duel, we close it. If there is no fear of loneliness, there will be no need to choose a partner out of this void, nor to stay in relationships that are not suitable for us. We will choose a partner according to our values, needs, common projects, skin, etc.
We will also be working on the relationships we currently have: how to set limits, tools to be more autonomous, to value oneself more, etc.
You can’t help but think that everyone has their own story and is different, which is why it should be reviewed in therapy. Clara’s story is just one of many.
But we could also find the story of Matthieu, who has always lived for and for a mother who had lost her husband since he was 6 years old… She therefore became a kind of partner for his mother. He currently has a wife who is like his mother, elderly, executive, who tells him what to do, etc. But neither he nor she (whose role in childhood was to care for siblings as an adult daughter) enjoys a relationship. Sounds like a mother-son relationship …
And, not only that, but Matthew finally formed this couple, after years without having been with any girl, because for him the main thing was his mother, and his mother didn’t like any of your girlfriends …
What is your story ? Do you want to get out of emotional addiction forever? Connect healthily and lovingly with me and with Psychology Link. We are waiting for you.