How to get out of emotional dependence in a friendship?

We all have friends, some better and some not so good. Our relationships with others can be very diverse, but what they should all have in common is that we respect each other.

There are very close and strong friendships, best friends with whom we plan everything: vacations, outings, living together… however, sometimes this good friendship becomes toxic, dysfunctional and too dependent. A senseless attachment develops that makes you feel betrayed if you stay with other people.

It also happens that the relationship between two people is so, but so much too dependent that one cannot envisage his life without the other, without being a family or a partner. The independence of two individuals fades and they become two people who form a unit which, when one of them leaves, feels amputated.

Knowing how to get out of emotional dependence in friendship this is the question we will address today, not without first talking about what is meant by dependence and co-dependency and what signs betray it. Let’s go!

    How to Get Out of Emotional Dependence in a Friendship

    It’s common that when talking about emotional addiction, the first thing that comes to mind is a dysfunctional relationship. Although these relationships often develop addiction-related issues, the fact is that this phenomenon can also occur in family and friendship relationships. Friendships where emotional dependence has become something of a hallmark are not uncommon, and in fact it’s not uncommon to start being friends with someone and, After a while, this relationship becomes toxic, addictive and possessive.

    Emotional dependency is the need for protection and support where trust in the relationship becomes an essential element that influences a person’s self-esteem, identity and overall functioning. Emotional dependence is synonymous with senseless attachment, in which a person needs the near-constant contact, constant attention, and exclusivity of another person. This need ends up creating toxic bonds in which the addicted person pressures and oppresses their friendship not to receive that torrent of attention that the other person craves.

    In emotional relationships tainted by emotional dependence, one person revolves his life around the other. They are jealous when one of the two friends says that he is going to do something without the other, with other friends, or that he has already done it and that he has not been told. One or both become obsessed when the other doesn’t give them the attention they need.

      Signs of emotional dependence in a friendship

      There are many signs that allow us to see that we are part of a friendship in which there is emotional dependence. Here are a few:

      1. Jealousy if you stay with another

      Emotional dependence in a friendship manifests itself when there is jealousy, the fact that one of the two goes out with other people to go to the movies, to go to parties or simply because he has been with other people. other friends without him.

        2. Obsession

        One or both people in the friendship show a clear obsession with each other. They spend all day thinking about their friend, not because they like him or because they want to have something deeper with him, but they give him twists on what he said and did. .wondering what she is doing and if she is betraying her friendship with him.

          3. Adaptation to the life of the other

          We try to adapt to each other’s life in absolutely everything: tastes, interests, job… The need to be accepted by the other is so intense that it is feared that if one thinks or acts differently from what the other wants, the relationship will end.. This desire to please the other in an extreme way testifies to a deep lack of self-esteem.

          4. The friend becomes the priority

          When we have an extreme emotionally dependent relationship with a friend, it becomes the highest priority in our lives, taking precedence over other friends and even family itself. And worst of all: it takes precedence over itself. We become so dependent on the friend in question that we may cancel important plans, such as a date or a family reunion, because the friend told him at the last minute to stay.

          5. Friendship Dependent Mood

          The general happiness and mood of the addicted person depends on his friend. When she feels loved and cared for by her friend, she doesn’t need anything more or anyone else in her life. But when one realizes that the attention is not specific to oneself, the addicted person feels sadness and anguish.

          6. Other warning signs

          In addition to these, we can highlight some behaviors related to emotional dependence in a friendship:

          • One acts as the other’s savior, putting the other’s needs before their own.
          • We always feel responsible for helping the other.
          • It feeds the addiction to the relationship.
          • One is too attached to the other.
          • We feel bad if several days pass without staying.
          • One or both give up other friends to be together.

          How to Get Out of Emotional Addiction to a Friend

          Coming out of an emotionally dependent friendship is tricky. Whether you are the dependent or your friend, in the long run the relationship will hurt you emotionally. Fortunately, this can change with a little willpower and effort. You can make the relationship healthier, without toxic addictions, although there is a possibility that in the worst case the relationship will end. You need to know whether it is better to continue to have an extremely dependent friendship or whether you prefer to be a free and happy individual.

          The first step to getting out of these dysfunctional and toxic relational dynamics is to become aware of them. Overreliance on a friendship takes us away from our family, partner, and other friendships that can bring us so much more than the person with whom we have a highly emotionally dependent friendship. Friends are there to support us, and we should support them too, but they cannot take away our individuality or our freedom..

          1. Learn to live alone

          One of the main triggers of emotional dependence on someone, whether it is a friend, a family member or a partner, is fear of loneliness. This fear is the source of many addictive relationships.

          Fortunately, this can be improved if one learns to live in solitude, since solitude is not so bad if one knows how to live in it and serves to do deep introspection, discover and appreciate freedom and independence.

          Knowing yourself better by seeing what are the authentic tastes, interests and desires, and not those that the relationship with another person has made us think are those that characterize us. It’s time to throw it away and move onbe yourself, without expecting anyone.

            2. Expand the social circle

            If we take care of our social relationships and expand our social circle, we will have a larger support network, a group of friends, a family and, if we have one, a partner who it will help us to receive help when we need it without being too dependent on one person.

            One of the main issues that a person ends up becoming overly emotionally dependent on with a friend is that that particular friend is the only one available.

            To have more members in our social circle, with their varied views, tastes, interests and activities, we will not only have a larger group of people who can help us when we need it, but also we can have a broader perspective on what is happening to us.

              3. Get out of your comfort zone

              It may seem like it doesn’t have much to do with it, but the truth is that if we step out of our comfort zone and we changed our routine we can go out emotional dependence in a friendship.

              Doing new things like signing up for a language course, going to the gym, jogging or whatever will help us see that we don’t need someone else to enjoy life. and grow.

              Additionally, it can give us more self-esteem by discovering that we can be independent and grow as individuals without needing someone to tell us whether or not they like what we do. It is our decision and the benefits derived from it are ours directly..

                4. Go to the psychologist

                Emotional dependence, regardless of the person, is a major problem that refers not only to a problem of self-esteem but also to the possibility that there is a psychological condition behind it such as an anxiety disorder or depression.

                Consulting a psychologist is the best way to learn how to get out of emotional dependence in a friendship, because in this case, the real cause of this dysfunctional relationship will be addressed, evaluating the possibility that it is explained by a mental disorder. If there really are, it will be necessary to receive treatment that will bring about improvements both in the emotional state of the patient and in his way of relating to others.

                  Self-esteem: key

                  To get out of emotional dependence on a friendship and avoid falling back into it it is essential to work on self-esteem and independence. In many cases, relationships with a high degree of emotional dependence are due, to a greater or lesser extent, to the fact that one or both involved have a great lack of self-esteem and have made their image of be very marked. by the existence of another person, whether they help or receive their help.

                  For this reason, it is very important to work on self-esteem, since it depends on how we relate to others and Falling into highly emotionally dependent relationships can be a protective factor if we have it.. If our self-esteem is good and we are aware that as individuals we are independent and have our rights. If these factors occur, we will be in harmony with ourselves and will be able to seek out and relate to other people by establishing healthy, mature and functional relationships.

                  Bibliographic references

                  • Brenlla, M., Brizzio, A. and Carreras A. (2009). Attitudes towards love and attachment. University of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
                  • Riso, W. (2008). To love or to depend? Barcelona: Editorial by Norma SA.
                  • Camarillo, L.; Ferré, F.; Echeburúa, E.; Love, PJ (2020). Partner Emotional Dependence Scale: Psychometrics. Actas Españolas de Psiquiatría, 48 (4): 145-53
                  • Castelló Blasco, J. The fear of rejection in emotional dependence and borderline personality disorder. Barcelona: Editorial of Alianza.
                  • Petruccilli, F. et al. (2014). Affective dependence and aggression: an exploratory study. BioMed Research International, 805469.

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