Human beings need to establish meaningful and deep relationships with the people around us, who fulfill us, give us happiness and make us feel better both psychologically and psychophysically.
However, some people develop an inappropriate type of relationship both socially and emotionally with the people around them, usually with friends, family or partners.
This type of relationship generates great discomfort in the person who suffers from it and can be explained as an “addiction” to another person. We are talking about emotional dependence.
Emotional dependence consists of a series of dysfunctional behaviors when interacting with a person that put someone into practice in their relationship with another person and it is characterized by low self-esteem, submissive behaviors, insecurity, fear of loneliness and the constant need to be with the person on whom one depends.
Guidelines for Overcoming Emotional Addiction
These are the main guidelines and practical strategies that we can use in our dependent relationships to overcome this problem that affects millions of people around the world every day. It’s about principles that psychology professionals apply in therapy.
1. Identify the problem
As with any other psychological problem, the first step is always to identify the problem and recognize that there is something wrong with our daily lives.
Emotional dependence is a psychological alteration that can be easily perceived by an outside observer but is generally not recognized by the person who develops it.
Instead of finding excuses of all kinds that minimize the problem and hide the emotional dependence under the guise of love and exclusive devotion, acknowledging that we have this problem will allow us to begin the process until we overcome it.
2. Learn to be alone
As mentioned, people who develop an emotional dependency on another close person usually have a real panic at the thought of their partners or friends leaving them and finding themselves alone.
This heightened fear is one of the reasons why this maladaptive addiction and obsession appearssince the person considers that he alone will not find happiness in life and that he needs others to be happy.
To break with this toxic dynamic, we must learn to be alone and understand that our happiness does not depend on a person, but that it is in us, we just have to find it.
3. Boost self-esteem
Another of the classic causes of emotional dependence is the low level of self-esteem which leads the person to become dependent on another person to feel better.
Low self-esteem can make us think we’re worthlessthat our life has no meaning without the other person and that we will never find happiness without our partner or close friend.
To overcome these negative thoughts, we can form our own self-esteem by consulting a qualified psychological professional to guide us in learning various mechanisms, strategies, or guidelines to achieve this.
4. Learn to set boundaries
People who are emotionally dependent on others also show submissive attitudes and very little ability to set boundaries or make personal decisions for themselves.
This submission sometimes leads them to tolerate all kinds of disrespect or humiliation. on the part of the submissive, something that undermines their self-esteem and overall psychological health.
To overcome this problem and regain an assertive and confident attitude, you must learn to set limits and know how to say “no” when you don’t agree with anything.
5. Challenge your own beliefs
Oftentimes, negative beliefs about oneself contribute to undermining a person’s morale and to developing a greater emotional dependence on a certain person.
These beliefs about yourself need to be challenged and replaced with more positive beliefs. and adaptive that help us to increase the levels of our own self-esteem and make us aware of all that we are truly worth.
6. Dare to overcome uncertainty
Uncertainty is another of the conditions that cause someone to develop emotional dependence on another person.
Not knowing if someone else will love us or thinking that sooner or later they will leave us can lead us to develop emotional dependence on our partner or a close friend.
To overcome this fear, we must dare to live with uncertainty now see it as a possibility to build our own futuremore than a curse that will pour us into suffering.
7. Find happiness within yourself
To overcome emotional dependence, it is essential, as has been indicated, to forget the idea that we will only be happy with x person and to start believing that happiness is in everyone and that nosotros solos valemos por nosotros mismos.
This will allow us to improve our self-esteem and allow us to live life with confidence in ourselves without depending on anyone else to lead a full life.
8. Maintain an active social life
As social beings that we are, people need to relate to other people to feel better, share experiences and feel better when we put our experiences into words.
Maintaining an active social life, hanging out with other friends will help us overcome the addiction to someone in particular, since it will allow us to see that everyone has something special and that there is no point in obsessing over them. the love of someone in particular.
9. Work on yourself
Working on yourself means taking time for yourself and your mental health, as well as prioritizing your own interests and needs over those of others.
By beginning to prioritize ourselves and our own well-being, we will learn that we are more important and that it is absurd to focus body and soul on the well-being of others, before our own.
10. Avoid idealizing others
Emotional dependence is often based on an idealization of the other, a psychological phenomenon consisting in maximizing the virtues and minimizing or making invisible the defects of the same person.
To overcome a case of addiction we need to see the other person objectively and consider many nuances when interpreting their actionsfocusing on their virtues and also their flaws, always keeping clear that we are all human beings and no one should be idolized.
You have to do the same thing when you meet a new person with amorous or friendly aspirations, so as not to fall back into emotional dependence.
- Biscotti, O. (2006). Couple therapy: a systemic vision. 1st ed. Buenos Aires: Lumen.
- Jordan, CH; Spencer, SJ; Zanna, MP; Hoshino-Browne, E.; Correll, J. (2003). Secure and defensive high self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(5): pp. 969-978.