How to get rid of emotional dependence?

Emotional addiction – what is it and how to deal with it?

To date, this problem is common in today’s society. Very often we hear the phrase “I can not live without him (her)” from both men and women. Strong jealousy, constant complaints about the partner, the desire to be together 24 hours a day are a manifestation of emotional dependence. The flip side of a dependent relationship is loneliness, when, tired of the pain, a person decides to avoid an emotionally close relationship and becomes aloof. Such loneliness is quite painful and takes a lot of mental energy, as well as emotionally dependent relationships.

What is “Emotional Dependency” is a state in which a person feels too strong (almost narcotic) a need for a relationship with another person.

It is a state in which the partner becomes over-valued. His interests, his opinion, and himself are the priority for the addict. If we are talking about female-male relationships, emotional dependence is commonly referred to as love addiction or addiction. However, this behavioral dysfunction is much broader than the relationship between a man and a woman. It can be overdependence on parents, on friends, etc.

In essence, co-dependency is an excessive need for other people, a need for a relationship with other people, a dependence on their opinions and assessments. An addict (here and hereafter referring to an emotionally dependent person) usually experiences intense fear if there is a threat of estrangement of the object of dependence. And if the addict once experienced the fear of losing a partner, he or she will now cling to that partner with a deadly grip. The relationship with the addict becomes filled with constant anxiety, tension and insecurity on the part of the addict. This is followed by anger and irritation and jealousy. It is commonly said of such relationships: “Together is difficult and apart is unbearable. Once upon a time, this relationship brought the addict a feeling of fullness of life, happiness and unbelievable pleasure from the opportunity to be near them. And the memory of former happiness preserves the hope that everything can be returned.

The addict sincerely, with all his soul, wants this. And he tries with all his might to make everything go back to the way it was before. He falls into dependence when, on the one hand, he tries to get what he passionately wants, but does not get it, and on the other, he retains the hope of getting what he wants from this particular partner. It is as if he is “on the hook” for the future. But, more often than not, he doesn’t receive, or receives a very small “dose”. And the more the emotionally dependent person tries, the angrier he/she becomes at the partner. He has, on the one hand, a feeling of being deceived, and on the other, a feeling that he is not good enough for his partner, that he is doing something wrong. This situation is reminiscent of childhood, when a child tries to be good in order to get his parents’ approval and love. And if he doesn’t get it, he considers himself not good enough, or simply put, bad. As a child, it does not occur to him that there is something wrong with the parent and that is why the parent is rejecting. More often than not, it is in childhood dissatisfaction with the relationship with parents that the cause of a person’s addictive behavior lies.

In more detail, what happens is approximately the following. Once upon a time there was a child who needed the warmth, love, and care of his parents. For any child, having parents’ love and care is a guarantee of survival.

But in our case, the parents were not attentive enough to the child:

– Maybe they were too cruel; – maybe they suppressed him psychologically or ignored him; – maybe they rejected him; – maybe they even beat him; – maybe the child had parents who were unpredictable, and he grew up in anxiety because he didn’t know what to expect from them; – or maybe they took their discontent out on him; – or he was brought up in conditions where he had to meet his parents’ expectations all the time. And for some reason, expectations were always too high, and the baby could not meet them. He could hear a lot of criticism in his address and parental dissatisfaction with him.

There can be many variations, but as a result, this child did not feel loved by his parents. All the time he had to do something, somehow try to deserve love, support and recognition. To feel loved, he had to be someone, but not himself. He always remained emotionally hungry. They say about such people: “unloved.” The basic idea that such a child will grow up with is that he is not good enough. He doesn’t deserve the good things in life. At times, the feeling of his own badness can be projected onto the world around him and onto certain people. And then the person has an acute sense of the unfairness of the world. He may feel like a victim of circumstances, feel powerless.

But in both cases, the addict cannot rely on himself, he is always doubting the correctness of his judgments. He desperately needs the recognition of other people. And he is very afraid of what people will say about him. But if in childhood this need for parents was justified – a child cannot survive without parents, then in adulthood the person is already able to take care of himself, but emotionally dependent – as if he does not know it. Doesn’t notice his or her abilities or doesn’t appropriate himself or herself. It may be a socially successful person, but all his successes remain insufficient. Or it could be a very attractive woman who feels unworthy of attention and love. Emotionally dependent people live with a sense of inner emptiness, and they need a partner to fill that emptiness. That’s how sad life is… However, co-dependency can be corrected, although it is not easy, but it can be corrected!

The main reasons for the development of a relationship addiction.

A person’s consciousness and subconscious are multifaceted, you can realize your feelings and subject them to verbal analysis, but it is difficult to get out the anxiety lurking in the depths of the soul. The fear of being rejected is an intuitive fear of the subconscious that many famous psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, including I. Yalom and Z. Freud, worked with. This phobia is the root cause upon which emotional dependence in relationships arises. The primary causes of relationship addiction, in addition to the above phobia, include:

1. Lack of parental love in childhood. We have already discussed this cause in detail in the section above.

2. lack of an example of proper, mature relationships in the family. Children becoming adults in their future families often copy their parents, their behavior, their reactions to certain events. Therefore, the habits of a parent who is significant to the child will play a crucial role. If the mother has always been dependent on the father, never had the right to vote, lived under his constant moral pressure, then the daughter is likely to be dependent on him in her relationship with her boyfriend (husband).

3. low level of self-actualization and self-esteem. The person believes that he has no right to happiness, and if now he is loved and valued, he is “obliged to put himself on the altar of this relationship, to sacrifice himself and his desires,” in order not to lose the love of his loved ones.

4. lack of hobbies. The person spends a huge amount of time on his partner, his hobbies, because his own interests are absent. He becomes the center of the universe for the co-dependent.

5. Fear of being alone with his experiences, inner emptiness. When the person develops harmoniously, he or she develops a system of communication with himself or herself and the surrounding world. Versatile interests, a favorite job, the presence of certain achievements – all this contributes to the fact that there is a process of self-improvement and self-realization. When this component is missing in the structure of a particular person, she is “filled up” at the expense of another person, so the loss of the object of meaning in life causes obsessive anxiety and fear.

6. Childhood psychological trauma. If there was child abuse by a parent or sexual harassment in childhood, in the future it will distort the perception of gender relations and lead to dependence on a partner in a relationship.

7. Feelings of personal insecurity. Also comes from an underlying fear of being rejected, when the self-preservation instinct kicks in. The only protection and support for the dependent individual is the partner, who is idealized to the highest degree. As a rule, his shortcomings are either ignored or greatly downplayed.

Signs of addiction in a person.

Like any addiction, love addiction (passionate attachment to another person) has a number of clearly limited signs that allow one to identify this condition:

– Inability to end the psychotraumatic relationship – no addicted individual can exit his or her condition on his or her own without external intervention.

– The desire to merge personalities into one – the addicted individual tries to “absorb” or “dissolve” into his partner.

– Fixation on the object of his or her love – all thoughts and feelings are only about him or her.

– Denial of dependence – no individual under another’s influence voluntarily admits to being subordinated.

– Feeling of his own worthlessness in the relationship – the person cannot end or change the nature of his relationship.

– Breaking the already established personal ties inevitably leads to depression and an overall aggravation of the individual’s psycho-emotional state.

– Development of a pathological personality structure, where the absence of the internal semantic factor prevails. The person on whom the person is dependent acts as an inanimate factor giving meaning to existence.

It is worth noting that the psychology of dependence in a relationship is a search for positive factors to fight the inner emptiness and anxiety, obsessive fears. The lover acts as a knight who protects his beloved from all troubles and misfortunes.

Varieties of relationship addiction in a person.

The search for the object of affection is based on what a person needs most, what needs he/she wants to satisfy and how he/she wants to satisfy them. Therefore, there are several types of addiction. Types of addictions in relationships:

1. Dependence on the feeling of love. It is important for a person to personally experience these emotions of falling in love; the relationship with the person he or she loves is not particularly important.

2. “Hate” addiction. Destructive forms of relations between people, when conflict situations that have not found their logical resolution prevail.

3. Dependence “my duty. Type of dependence based on the strongest feeling of own duty to the partner, as extreme variants of behavior of the other person after breakup are considered: suicide, alcoholism, overdose.

4. Dependency “addiction”. When the individual is completely subordinated to the will and feelings of the other person, feels his or her own helplessness. Slave behavior.

Ways to deal with relationship addiction.

At the heart of the fight against addiction is the destruction of the pathological intrapersonal bonds that form it. How to get rid of obsessive compulsion at home and who to turn to for specialized help, consider below. You do not always want to go to a specialist with your problems, so you can fight them at home, but only if the process of addiction to relationships has not dragged on to the emotional and mental exhaustion of the individual on the background of constant stressful stimuli. Methods applicable in the home environment:

– Find a favorite activity for yourself. It will be the impetus for personal self-development, as well as add a sense-making factor.

– Write down your own feelings and emotions. This will help you reflect on what destructive relationships gave you and what positive emotions you are experiencing now.

– Analyze childhood experiences and emotions. Allow you to identify the root cause of the addiction.

– Replenish information resources. Broadening your horizons is an important step in combating your problem, allowing you to consciously move towards getting rid of it.

– Analysis of previous relationships and the reasons for the relationship breakdown. Maybe among the methods used to get out of a bad union for you will find a suitable one.

– Enlist the support of loved ones. Parents know us like no one else, perhaps they can help you make sense of this difficult situation.

– Variety of leisure. Not only hobbies, but also study, work and help around the house will get rid of obsessive thoughts and improve your self-esteem.

– Work on mistakes. It is recommended to take apart all the relationships and make a list of “How not to behave in a relationship.

– Computer test “Level of personal anxiety. Anyone can take it at home. He will help to monitor the internal state of mind on their own.

All these methods of struggle are suitable only in that situation, if the addict realizes the degree of responsibility for his life and is ready to change it. Otherwise specialized intervention and correction of person’s addiction with the help of psychotherapy will be needed. Psychological methods of struggle against dependence on relations:

1. training of self-development and increase of self-esteem. In a group some processes proceed faster, the emotional component is brightly expressed and the support of people around is felt, which the addicted person needs so much.

2. The method of accelerated maturation. More often than not, the addict is infantile, lacks initiative and is tormented by doubts and a feeling of guilt. Therefore the psychologist gives tasks in which the infantile person is obliged to take responsibility for him or herself, to make a decision or to express him or herself in some way (it is easier to work in creativity – drawings, expositions, theatrical genres…).

3. Psychotherapy. The person gets rid of the obsessive state and forms a plan of further action in life. Gestalt or Transactional Analysis techniques are used.


Answering the question “how to get rid of psychological dependence on a man” and maintain relationships, psychologists recommend:

– Recognize and accept the problem. It is important to understand the seriousness of what is happening.

– Determine the object of dependence – the reason in a man’s personality or in your own feelings for him.

– Shift your attention to another object. Maybe devote yourself to sports, career, think of some interesting occupation or hobby. In other words, you need to occupy your mind with something else.

– Keep your emotions in control. Stop controlling your loved one every minute, not boring him constant calls and his presence.

– Respect yourself and your partner, and love your personality.

– Set personal boundaries. If, for example, the emotional problem is related to the material issue, then the woman should find a job that will allow her to feel like an independent and established person.

– Learn to stand up for her point of view, make her own desires a priority.

Dependence on relationships or addiction in a mild degree is very rarely treated by specialists, when the person himself can cope with it and the general psycho-physiological state of the body does not suffer, but in its extreme manifestations (phobia of losing a loved one, thoughts of suicide because of the breakup of relationships, etc.) needs psychological control and correction. It is quite difficult to recover from love addiction, but it is possible by putting new interests on the forefront. Getting rid of addiction requires a lot of effort and constant work on yourself.

Love implies a healthy dependence of the partners, and the perverse nature of addiction creates co-dependency in the relationship. For example, a co-dependent spouse needs the relationship so much that she tries to get it from her husband by any means, using scandals, manipulation and in some cases physical force. Psychological addiction differs from falling in love because it does not bring joy, but brings suffering and depression.

How to get rid of psychological dependence on a person?

We are often afraid of the emergence of addiction to drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, but do not take into account that the painful addiction to another person can also greatly complicate our life and become very dangerous to health.

After reading this article, you will understand what causes the dependence on the person, learn to distinguish its symptoms and, most importantly, you will understand how to get rid of this pathology and return to a full life.

Dependence on a person: what is it?

Dependence (addiction) on a person is a psychological condition in which the dependent individual experiences pathological attachment to the object of his love. Because of this, the person practically loses his or her personality and lives the problems and joys of his or her partner.

Addictive behavior is caused by the inability to take responsibility for one’s feelings and actions, and the accompanying negative emotions (sadness, doubt, resentment, anxiety, uncertainty) an addicted person cannot always cope with on their own. It takes a lot of courage and often the help of a competent psychologist to find the resources to stand up to oneself and overcome addiction.

Types of emotional dependence

Addiction can be of different types in different kinds of relationships.

  • Love addiction usually begins with a fairy tale love story – two are constantly inseparable, enjoy each other’s company, new sensations, while friends, girlfriends, relatives step aside – no one is needed in love. Then feelings subside and there is a desire to diversify isolated life hobbies and meetings with friends. Healthy relationships easily cope with this period, but pathological – no. The addicted partner has the feeling that he is no longer loved, that he was abandoned and betrayed, and the main emotions are resentment, jealousy and dissatisfaction. As a result, the initial idyll is replaced by quarrels, accusations, and threats.
  • The friendship addiction resembles the love addiction, with the only caveat that the actors are friends. The same jealousy of other people and occupations, fear of losing a buddy and an urgent need to communicate with him or her is present. If the friend gets a loved one or other friendship, the addicted person becomes depressed and feels betrayed.
  • Parental addiction is a type of addiction that is laid down during early childhood due to faulty parenting. It usually occurs with the oppressive behavior of parents who have a totalitarian style of upbringing or have themselves been a victim, experienced psychological trauma, grew up in an incomplete family. Such parents suppress any attempts of the child to be independent, they are afraid to be left alone, to be abandoned. Their actions have the color of manipulation – they invent nonexistent diseases, promise an inheritance – in a word, they do everything to make the child need them, at the same time depriving him of the opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility, to make a decision himself, to make an adequate assessment of his actions.

What is the reason for a dependent relationship?

If you recognize yourself, your partner or the story of acquaintances / relatives – surely you will wonder: what is the reason for this picture, what is wrong, why it happened?

Causes of emotional addiction usually include:

  • parental neglect during childhood;
  • The presence of psychological trauma suffered as a child;
  • Excessive parental custody;
  • Visibly low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence;
  • desire for the approval and praise of parents and others;
  • disrespectful attitude of parents;
  • existence in poor material conditions;
  • emotional infantilism;
  • fear of own uselessness;
  • fear of loneliness;
  • Inability to take responsibility for their behavior;
  • frequent criticism;
  • desire to be in someone’s subordination;
  • wrong upbringing;
  • absurd idea of love, aspiration to be with the object of adoration as one unit, to be together from morning till night;
  • the presence of psychological complexes.

Test: check yourself

How to understand that you are susceptible to addiction? Usually a strong sense of dependence on another person is manifested in the total control over their actions and movements, the desire to be constantly near, in the loss of self-control over his thoughts, feelings and behavior.

The following 9-question quiz will help you determine the presence and level of addiction to a person. Please answer the “Yes” or “No” questions as honestly as possible.

  1. Do you often feel anxious when you think about your relationship?
  2. Do you find it difficult to say no to your partner?
  3. Do you vitally need your partner’s approval?
  4. Does your self-esteem depend on that approval?
  5. When your partner praises you – your mood visibly increases, you like yourself?
  6. Do you feel fear if your partner is not happy with you?
  7. Do you panic if your loved one is in a bad mood?
  8. You can not imagine life without your loved one?
  9. Your old interests are no longer fun?
  10. You no longer use passwords, have no secrets from your partner and demand the same from him?

If you didn’t answer yes to any of the questions, you don’t have an addiction to your partner.

If 1-2 times you answered “Yes”, you have a mild stage of addiction, which you can cope on your own. Analyze your behavior from the outside, study the information on the subject, think about how to fix the situation.

From 3 to 5 positive answers indicate that you have an average degree of addiction and you are recommended to consult a psychologist/psychotherapist in order to understand in what direction you should work on yourself.

More than 5 positive responses indicate a severe addiction. You need to take action and seek help from a specialist.

And we will tell you about ways to correct addictive behavior.

Step by step instructions for getting rid of addiction

  • Step 1 – CONSCIOUSLY. Start with awareness and acceptance of the fact that addiction exists. Talk to yourself mentally, tell yourself that you would like to get rid of this condition. This step is very important, your brain is used to thinking it’s love, not addiction, your sincere willingness to change will make your subconscious look for options to change the situation.
  • Step 2 – DECISION. The next step should be a firm decision to leave the painful relationship or a decision to change your personality (thoughts and behavior) within the existing relationship. You need to understand that an addictive relationship supports both parties in the union, so if you get out of the addiction – your partner will either have to change to pull up behind you in a new healthy relationship, or leave on their own.
  • Step 3 – DETERMINE BORDERS. Learn to say no to your partner and defend your position. At this stage, gradually return to love for yourself, you will begin to do what you like, listen to your desires.
  • Step 4 – FILLING THE HOLE . In an addictive relationship, your own hobbies have long since receded into the background. Start getting to know yourself anew. You can make a list, list what your partner gives you that you can’t give yourself, and start making yourself feel good about yourself. You can also listen to yourself, remember what you liked to do, what was interesting to you, to resume lost friendships or family communication, return to an old hobby or find a new one. Effective medicine will be sports or dance classes, because improving your body, a person not only improves self-esteem, but also gets health and good humor.
  • Step 5 – STUDY YOUR PROBLEM INTO YOU. Addiction – a complex psychological condition, not everyone can cope with it on their own, to see their problem from the outside. At our course “Psychology of addiction” experienced teachers will tell you how to cope with emotional dependence, will teach you methods of mental correction and help you acquire a new profession of a psychologist to help not only themselves, but also other people who are in a similar situation.
  • Step 7 – NEW RELATIONSHIPS. Start building a new relationship or analyze your feelings in an existing relationship – how strong your addiction still is and if there is a change for the better. To do this on a scale of 1 to 100 determine how happy you are.

When is it worth seeing a psychologist?

If you doubt your strength or if none of the available methods does not help you to change your position as an addict, it is worth to turn to a professional.

It is necessary to understand that in addictive behavior you do not live your life, that emotional addiction is not only a state of mind, but also a psychological disorder caused by self-loathing.

Addiction destroys people’s lives and makes both the addict himself and his partner suffer. Moreover, if the problem is not solved by cardinal changes, then addictive behavior will accompany you throughout your whole life, and attempts to build a healthy relationship will not succeed. It is necessary to regain self-respect and love for yourself, this is the only way to health and a new life.

To change the situation, you will have a long and painstaking work on yourself. An experienced psychologist will help to identify the true causes of addictive behavior and competently correct them. Remember, if nothing is done, the situation will only get worse.

Famous Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said wonderful words, which we would like to finish today’s conversation: “He who depends only on himself and sees everyone in himself is the happiest of all.” Let us believe in ourselves, friends!

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