Emotional dependency in relationships

20.02.2021

In couple relationships there is always a certain degree of commitment and, of course, seeking the company of the person you love. However, some people have an excessive emotional dependence on their partners .

This type of dependency, in addition to having harmful consequences for those who suffer it and also for their environment, also usually has causes that in themselves constitute a problem.

Possible causes of emotional dependency: underlying problems

Emotional dependence is expressed in various ways , but generally there are a series of common characteristics: loss of social life beyond the relationship with the person on whom one is emotionally dependent, constant fear of antagonizing that person or cut the relationship, and prioritize all the tasks and responsibilities that have to do with preserving that bond.

1. Low self-esteem

One of the most common causes of emotional dependence is the low self-esteem of the dependent person; It is reflected in a poor self-esteem and a constant feeling of inferiority with respect to her partner.

This low level of self-esteem causes the person to judge himself very severely and blame himself even for the belittling or mistreatment received by his partner (if these occur).

Lack of self-confidence also feeds the fear of losing that person, since those who suffer from this problem are not capable of creating other such significant links with third parties.

2. History of abuse or mistreatment

Many of the cases of emotional dependence that a person can present have their origin in a history of abuse, mistreatment or dysfunctional family relationships in childhood that generate situations of dependency and subordination towards other people in adulthood.

A childhood marked by physical or psychological abuse, a paternal addiction, a lack of affection and affection during the first years of life or an insecure and negative attachment style with parents can generate in the person a series of affective deficiencies, fears and healthy relationship deficits that lead to emotional dependency .

Likewise, having gone through traumatic situations in adulthood, such as cases of abuse or toxic relationships can also lead to the appearance of this type of dependency.

3. Social skills deficits

Some people may lack certain skills necessary to build strong personal and emotional relationships, and this, in turn, is a predisposing factor for dysfunctional bonding .

Thus, people with emotional dependence may feel that they need to put all their efforts into a relationship to preserve it, as compensation for their difficulties in communicating or when trying to present a pleasant or charismatic image.

4. Negative patterns of education and socialization

Another cause that can generate emotional dependence and that originates in childhood is receiving an inadequate education about love and romantic relationships .

A conservative educational model based on the teaching of idealized romantic love can generate negative socialization patterns and a misconception of romantic relationships in the future.

Romantic love is based on a very hermetic conception of gender roles, and the fear of not fitting into them is a factor of vulnerability that gives strength to that constant fear of losing someone you love.

5. Fear of being alone

Many people who have emotional dependency pictures also tend to have a true panic of loneliness, that their partner leaves them and that they are alone .

This aspect is also explained by low levels of self-esteem, low self-confidence and may also be due to an education based on the imposed idea of ​​romantic love that should last forever (and that if that opportunity is lost there is nothing more that can be done in love).

6. Idealization of the couple

The idealization of the partner is another of the classic psychological elements that people with emotional dependence present towards their romantic partners.

In a healthy love relationship, both partners recognize the other person's flaws and accept them, understanding that we are all human and therefore imperfect.

People with emotional dependence idealize their partners so much that they can even tolerate situations of abuse , humiliation or contempt from them, and because of the idealization, they will assume that one is to blame for what happened.

It is also common for some emotionally dependent people to seek authoritarian, dominant and even possessive romantic partners; in short, psychological profiles that favor their own dynamics of dependency and subordination.

7. Other associated disorders

This phenomenon can be caused by other psychological disorders such as personality disorders, or certain anxiety disorders.

What can be done to overcome the problem?

Faced with emotional dependence, it is necessary to go to psychotherapy as soon as possible . Mental health professionals work evaluating the problem and offering tailored solutions to intervene on the root of this pattern of behavior and management of emotions.

When we reason about a problem, we tend to use a simple and useful outline most of the time. This way of thinking is what is known as linear thinking.

In couple relationships there is always a certain degree of commitment and, of course, seeking the company of the person you love. However, some people have an excessive emotional dependence on their partners .