We are all dependent. We become it from the moment our lives begin. We are in the belly of our mother. We are it when we cry for the first time, when we make our first fall or when we go to explore for the first time unknown worlds. We are on a practical and emotional level. We need others to do things for us or, at least, give us some guidance to learn how to do them. We also need others because we are social beings and, above all, emotional. So, are we necessarily victims of emotional dependence?
There is nothing, apart from a human being, that can provoke such a whirlwind of emotions. Think about the first kiss, a reunion after years of separation, a hug that finally calms you down. You breathe, I breathe, we breathe.
Once we have passed adolescence, after having tried to conquer at any cost our independence, we normally realize that this is only a utopia that is not necessarily good because our primary needs do not necessarily answer it. Think about love, affection, meetings and separations.
Emotional dependence: a fact or chains
But then, if the emotional dependence is natural, why in psychology, she represents an ogre that must be banished? Partly because psychology is constantly drinking from social currents and they are becoming more and more individualistic. Partly because this dependence becomes negative when it is fixed on a concrete person who is not us. When we give the other the responsibility to face the whims and appetites of the child or youth that we carry in ourselves and when we think that this other is indispensable.
Let’s take a simple example. Ana makes some changes in the decoration of her house and she would like to change a piece of furniture. It’s way too heavy for her to wear on her own so she needs someone to help her. She can help herself if she starts studying physics and mechanics and builds a sort of cart that helps her move the furniture. However, after a while, this solution will not be very profitable.
The most profitable is that stronger people help her. Ana thinks about her children but soon realizes they can not because they are on vacation. She asks for help from her nephews and they are happy to help her. Well, Ana is dependent, but not dependent on her children. If they can not help, she is able to ask others for help. The same thing happens with independence / emotional dependence.
It becomes dangerous when it is placed in one person and that person is responsible and responsible for our emotional state. It is dangerous because it weakens us and, in the long run, ends with the relationship. However, the worst is that before the end of this relationship, we will be destroying ourselves using a whole lot of desperate means to not lose that person to whom we have placed our happiness.
The four levels of emotional dependence
The path of emotional destruction – through emotional dependence – is made up of four obvious steps that we start going down when we are afraid of losing someone. A fear that is very often unfounded and that contributes precisely to make this dependence stronger.
“If I did not manage to feel loved and indispensable, if you refused to complain and take pity on me, if I did not even manage to make you hate me Then you will have to notice my presence, whether you like it or not, because from now on I will do everything to make you afraid. ”
The first step is for the dependent person to try to become indispensable for the person on whom he depends. To show him all that it brings him in his life, to increase these contributions and to emphasize them: “if it was not you …”, “who would have done that for you …”, “you can go elsewhere but you will not find anyone who will do it as well as me … ”
The dependent person can also try to become a guarantor, so that “if you stay with me, you will never need that”. She will seek that the other will remain in his presence.
We move to the next level when the first one no longer serves us. However, this second step can be combined with the previous one. The dependent person plays the victim role and tries to provoke pity. In his life, everyday worries turn into authentic tragedies that would make the other person look inhuman if he wanted to get away … precisely during these moments. In addition, it is usually a strategy that the dependent person knows very well because she has probably already used it to demand attention.
The third and fourth rungs are paradigmatic and, through them, the dependent person tries to protect himself from what he fears most, indifference. These two levels are interchangeable and are not crossed in a specific order. They can be passed at the same time.
Both also refer to primary emotions: one to hate, the other to fear. Faced with the fear of indifference, the dependent person may try to seek hatred of the other. It is a form of self-deception by which the person seeks to create lasting feelings, bonds, a presence in the life of the other … even if it is by infusing hatred.
The fourth level is that of the threat. “If you intend to leave, I am capable of everything”, “if you disappear, I have no reason to live”, “if you decide to leave, I assure you that you will not see me again” never “,” it will be useless to cry when you realize that I am no longer there. ” The dependent person tries to pass on his fear of loss to the other. This fear is a deception but, for the dependent person, it can work perfectly as a substitute for love.
Dependent person hurts … and suffers
In one way or another, for the addicted person, his own addiction is a real torture. If she is a victim of something, it is good to have entrusted her destiny and her hopes to someone. This forces him to self-immolate so that someone does not go away because it really feels like, if he leaves, it will be over with life. Many of his sentences are a real manipulation but real suffering is hiding behind them.
Unfortunately, emotional dependence is hard to admit. Tags are labeled as “little value”, “weakness of character” and even “intellectual incapacity”. However, identifying this dependency is the first step to rebuilding it and understanding that, even though our needs are unique, the people who can meet them are multiple and can do it in different ways.