Many people can lead healthy lives by forming and maintaining personal relationships without necessarily being emotionally dependent on another person. However, there are those who have an almost pathological addictive need to feel cared for and accepted by others.
In this article Let’s talk about emotional independence and its difference from emotional dependence. We’ll also go over several tips for emotional independence to encourage it.
What is Emotional Independence?
Emotional independence is the attitude by which an individual is relatively emotionally autonomous, that is, you can lead a free life, without depending on another person or someone else. It is important to emphasize that this concept of independence considers the human being to be social and in need of connection with others to achieve a healthy standard of living. In addition, emotional independence is a very important aspect of a person’s development in favor of their psychological and social development, growth and maturity.
There are many benefits to having emotional independence. Among the main ones is the fact that being emotionally independent allows us to have satisfying interpersonal relationships with others, to enjoy individual activities, to have the confidence to take on projects and to assume our responsibilities. , to have emotional control over ourselves, to not always need others to make decisions, not to need someone else to feel good, etc.
In this direction, It is important to pay attention to emotional needs during childhood to help prepare us from an early age to be emotionally independent when we reach adulthood. Boys and girls need healthy patterns of social and emotional interaction that seek to foster social-emotional maturity so they can relate to others while maintaining a balance between what they contribute and what they want. ‘they receive. It is important that parents promote self-confidence in their children, using a democratic parenting style by giving parenthood that will really help the good development of the child which would benefit the good development of emotional independence.
What is emotional dependence?
The opposite of independence is dependence, understood as a pattern of behavior in which the person tends to feel the need for others to assume their responsibilities. These people are afraid of being separated from people on whom they are emotionally dependent, find it difficult to make decisions for themselves, find it difficult to express their disagreement with others for fear of being rejected, and are uncomfortable at the thought of being alone.
Addiction occurs when the person has a series of emotional demands that have not been met and which he tries to satisfy through another person, often the couple. Here are some causes of emotional dependence and their consequences.
It is very common for emotional dependence to occur in individuals or individuals who had emotional deficiencies during childhood. These individuals act by clinging to certain people in order to have a love and care that they have always wanted, trying to fill a void that they have always had in terms of fatherly or motherly love. This attachment or that attachment that emotionally dependent people make would become a defense mechanism to be able to face these absences that they possess.
Emotional dependence can also occur in individuals or individuals who had parents or caregivers who were disproportionately overprotective. The fact that a parent is overprotective with his son or daughter favors that the child does not develop autonomously and independently, with unfavorable consequences for the future. Many people with this type of overprotection tend to become emotionally dependent.
How to develop emotional independence?
Many people wonder if it is possible to achieve emotional independence and the answer is clear and precise: Yes. It is possible to have a healthy life in the way we relate to others, in a respectful and sincere way, with maturity so as not to depend or be attached to another person. Let’s see how to improve emotional independence with these tips.
1. Learn to value yourself
The main strategy for gaining emotional independence is start giving us the value we deserve. We should enjoy spending time alone with ourselves, in the same way we should appreciate the time we can spend with other people without it really always being a necessity to rely on.
If we own ourselves and give ourselves the value we deserve, we will help develop emotional independence.
2. Maintain healthy relationships with others
It is essential to realize how healthy it is to establish healthy interpersonal relationships with others, without normalizing addiction-based behaviors or romanticizing constant sacrifice without receiving anything in return or even despite the violations suffered. In this way we will have a more harmonious and independent and balanced life with ourselves and with others.. Avoid falling into attachment because it should do us good to be alone with ourselves.
3. Confront and reform irrational beliefs
It is important to reform and confront the irrational way of interpreting information that we sometimes hold in front of others. We must analyze whether or not this way of thinking really corresponds to reality and not just what we are fantasizing about right now because of our emotions. It is essential for the development of emotional independence to foster more adaptive thoughts, adjusted to the reality around us and to our relationships with others.
There are several books written by various authors that can help us reflect on the subject of emotional independence. These readings help people first realize how important it is to promote independence. Very popular and recommended books are those by Walter Riso and Laura Gutman, who approach this subject in a very interesting way, helping us to know how beneficial we can be if we are emotionally independent.
4. If necessary, go to psychotherapy
Going to therapy is the most responsible and safest way to promote our emotional independence and overcoming emotional dependency. In this way, we will foster an emotional independence that helps us to value ourselves, to be able to understand how to build healthier interpersonal relationships without neglecting ourselves and to give ourselves the value that we truly deserve.
- Perry, NB, Dollar, JM, Calkins, SD, Keane, SP & Shanahan, L. (2018). Childhood self-regulation as a mechanism by which early parental overcontrol is associated with preadolescent adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 54(8), 1542.
- Valdiviezo, CB, & Leon, BJ (2019). Family overprotection and impact on the development of autonomy and independence of children from 0 to 3 years old.