Emotional addiction: how to recognize it and how to leave it behind

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Emotional addiction: how to recognize it and how to leave it behind

Emotions determine our entire life. They come in an abundance that we can not even put into words. But especially when it comes to love, many describe emotional dependence as a feeling of not being able to live without the other person. However, what sounds like movie-like romance at first can also turn into a serious problem. This is the case when there is a strong emotional dependence.

To some extent, of course, an intense sense of belonging is important because it protects the love itself and also the trust in the relationship. But it is also important to recognize at what point it develops into dependence. That's exactly what we're going to talk about below. We will not only talk about what emotional dependence actually means, but also about why it develops and how you can overcome it.

Emotional dependence - What is it exactly?

Emotional dependency is when a person in the Relationship is overly dependent on the partner. In the process, she may even become bondage and immature. The whole thing can develop to the point of complete self-sacrifice.

Frequently affected are people who only have a low Self-esteem and spasmodically seek a foothold. Sometimes there is also a personality disorder at the root of the matter, which causes emotional submissiveness.

If these persons come into contact with a man or a woman who is strongly narcissistically inclined, the already existing submissiveness is joined by oppression. Narcissists often have a tendency to plunge their partner into emotional dependency. Through manipulative behavior, they make their counterpart feel inferior and portray themselves as the savior in need. They want to be dominant at all costs and can lead their partner to the point of self-sacrifice.

emotional dependence

reasons for emotional dependence

Probably the most common reason why emotional dependency develops is the low self-esteem already mentioned. Thoughts like: "Without a partner I am not lovable and therefore not worth anything" regularly buzz through the head.

Guilt can also be strong Fear of loss be. They are often due to past experiences, for example from childhood or from previous partnerships. For example, someone who was suddenly abandoned by a parent in childhood or by a partner without notice in adulthood, fears that this experience will be repeated. The effort is therefore all the greater to keep the partner with you, even if that means giving up yourself completely.

Emotional dependence can also arise when there is a strong dissatisfaction with one's own life. The partner is the only source of joy when friendships or hobbies that make you happy are scarce. And of course you don't want to be deprived of this source at any price.

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How can I tell if I'm emotionally dependent?

It's not easy to tell when a strong emotional attachment is turning into a serious addiction. That's why we've put together six signs you can use to test whether or not you're emotionally dependent.

1. you don't know what to do without your partner

Imagine you are separated from your partner, for example because one of you has to go on a business trip. What triggers this in you? Of course you will feel sad and you will miss him, that is quite normal.

But do you panic and don't know how to cope on your own? Do you feel completely lost and can't be happy and laugh for a single second? Then this can be a sign of emotional dependence.

2. you hand over all decisions

Let's be honest: It's really comfortable to hand over decisions and just let the other person do it. Your partner takes care of everything and you don't have to worry. However, it becomes critical when you decide nothing at all and really leave everything to your partner. Do you no longer express your opinion and only talk according to the mouth of your partner to please him? This can be a sign of emotional dependence.

Three, you're very jealous for no reason...

A healthy Jealousy is part of every relationship. After all, your partner belongs only to you and no one else. But there is a clear line to be drawn here with morbid jealousy. If you try to monitor every step of your partner, ask him about every little detail and check his phone, it has nothing to do with healthy jealousy.

4. you put all other social contacts on hold.

The partner often plays an overriding role. We usually prefer to spend the evening with him rather than with a few acquaintances. Nevertheless, social contacts outside the relationship are important, because they also represent a kind of safety net.

Do you leave all your friends behind and devote yourself solely to your partner? Then no one will be there for you if your relationship goes to pieces. You are well aware of this and your fear of rejection increases. With this, your emotional dependency grows more and more.

5. you are permanently looking for reassurance from your partner

With emotional dependence often comes the feeling of never being good enough for your partner. That's why you're always looking for approval. It is to take away your insecurity and compensate for your low self-esteem.

6. you alone keep the relationship alive and your partner withdraws more and more

You're doing everything you can to maintain your relationship, and that's a good thing. But the question is, what is your motivation? Is it because you love each other and want to stay together forever? Or is it rather because you don't know how to go on without a partner?

If you are emotionally dependent on your partner, this can be a huge burden for him. He knows that he is the center of your life and therefore responsible for your happiness. This comes with a lot of responsibility, which can lead to him withdrawing more and more. This in turn makes you feel insecure and you try all the harder to gain his affection. In doing so, you may be constricting him, which will only make him more distant.

Ways out of emotional dependence

Emotional dependency often gives sufferers the feeling of being safe in a specially created bubble of security and happiness. But what you have actually created for yourself is a prison. You lock yourself in and close yourself off from all that life has to offer by focusing exclusively on your partner.

It's time for you to finally break free and get back to living a life of your own. That doesn't mean you should give up on your relationship. Find a healthy balance. The following nine steps will help you navigate your way out of emotional dependency.

1. honestly question the current situation

Go inside yourself and think about whether you are really happy. Is your partner really good for you? Are you destroying yourself with your emotional dependence and losing yourself completely? Admitting this to yourself can be painful. But this realization is crucial for your further path.

2. visualize your wishes and needs

So far, you've completely sacrificed yourself to your partner. But what about you? Which desires do you want to fulfill yourself and what makes you - besides your partner - really happy? Think about your own needs and what is good for you.

3. have the courage to change something

You have now exactly in front of your eyes what you want from life and how you would like to shape it. Now you have to take the first active step and break out of your self-created prison. Gather all your courage and free yourself from your rut.

4. take your life in your hands and become active

You are determined to break out of the emotional dependency, but you don't really know how? Reflect on your strengths. Find out what they are and how you can best develop them, for example, with the help of our personality test.

5. work on your mindset

The will to change something is unfortunately not much use to you in the long run if you still tell yourself that you are not worth anything without your partner. Your thoughts strongly influence your actions. A negative mindset will hinder your development. But a positive mindset is one of the most important points to increase your self-esteem.

You can do this by changing all the negative thoughts into positive ones. Keep reminding yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. Regularly make yourself aware that you are worth something, whether with or without a partner.

6. accept yourself

Not many people find it easy to accept themselves as they are. Yet this is the key to a happy and content life. If you are at peace with yourself, this will increase your Self-confidence enormous, because you have finally recognized your own value. You are no longer dependent on the recognition of others and have learned to be proud of yourself and your achievements.

7. create your own social environment

Until now, your partner was the center of your life and you let social contacts gradually fall asleep. But having your own circle of friends is important so that you have someone to talk to besides your partner. In addition, your friends offer you support if, for example, you have had a fight with your partner or you have even broken up.

8. admit to yourself when you need help

You fear that your emotional dependency is the result of a personality disorder or trauma? Then it can be very difficult to free yourself from this situation. Don't be afraid to seek professional help, for example from a therapist. Together you will get to the bottom of the cause and work it out.

Your partner will also offer you support if you confide in him. The basis of a good relationship is communication. So don't keep your problems to yourself, but try to talk about them. Your partner will understand you.

9. take the time you need

There are things that you can't fix overnight. One of them is to break an emotional dependency. In the process, you go through a process in which you also develop personally. You can't do it by force. Be patiently with yourself, the better the results will be.

Personality Development

Solving emotional dependency with personality development

Overcoming an emotional addiction takes time. It requires a further development of your personality, which is not completed overnight. The first step in the right direction is to recognize that you are emotionally dependent on your partner.

Are you really living each day the way you want from the bottom of your heart? Or do invisible forces seem to keep you from making your goals a reality? And do you perhaps frequently encounter difficulties with your fellow human beings who always show the same patterns?

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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