Emotional dependence is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation, although clients or patients do not think at first that this may be the reason. The prevalence is higher in women, although we do not know if this prevalence is real, since the data are based on the frequency with which they come to the clinic for this reason.
When a patient suffers emotional dependence, the psychologist usually does not take long to suspect it, since he can hear how the patient verbalizes that “he loves his partner too much”, “he will change with time and when he realizes” or he tells that, sometimes, He leaves everything he is doing in his life to distance the possibility of abandonment.
Although the needs of the person are relegated to a second, third or fourth plane, the primary objective is that your partner does not despise or not be absent from your side.
In this sense, the emotional dependent is capable of abandoning projects that are important to him, leaving other people aside, spending excessive amounts of money on gifts or even not putting limits on disrespect or humiliation on the part of his partner.
Some people go so far with their emotional dependence that they destroy their whole lives, generalizing this problem to their work, their family or their social environment.
We can imagine how the self-esteem of these people is when they put their partner above themselves, even if it hurts them. What really happens is that there is an unresolved emotional deprivation that they try to fill with the ephemeral affection of another person.
For this reason, the abandonment is so important, since it would mean to remain orphans of love or affection, something of which they lack by themselves.
How far can emotional dependence go?
When I explain the emotional dependence I usually draw a “dummy” running behind a heart with a hole in the center of his body -as if they were missing a piece – The hole, which also has a heart shape, can only be filled with the self-esteem, that is, with the heart that the patient puts himself.
The clerk does not know this and thinks that running after a heart that is outside is the solution to his problem. And run, run and do not stop running, for days, months, even decades. What is the result of this strenuous race? The only result obtained by our “monigote” is precisely the exhaustion.
The heart is not reached and if it is reached and we place it in our hole, it does not help us. It’s like it’s not our size. And the question that is essential to understand, is that no heart is going to fit.
The only heart that can serve us, as we have already said, is that which we ourselves give ourselves. And in this sense, power is not outside, but is born from within.
But, if we do not know this, the result is that we can go very far in that expedition. We can lose our friends by leaving them aside to avoid the rejection of our partner, we can sabotage our own values, tastes, hobbies to satisfy the other. We can abandon jobs, trips, interesting projects not to get away from our partner and that means their loss. We can even become jealous and try to control everything that the other does, with the suffering that implies and the scarce result.
What can we start doing to avoid falling into this trap?
Self-control strategies in emotional dependence
The techniques from the psychological point of view that we can carry out to gain self-control in emotional dependence have to go directed to the management of our most emotional and rooted impulses.
Emotional dependents, as with other agencies, know that their way of acting hurts them, but they can not stop doing it because their “emotional gps” has a lot of force guiding their actions.
It is difficult to break the habit dependent, but after all, it is only that: a habit or a learned pattern and can be unlearned with determination.
Some ways to effect this unlearning are:
- When you are going to write a text message to your partner or ex-partner as an attempt to control, either by jealousy or by knowing what you think or what you are doing, you should write that same message on a blank sheet of paper. In this way, you win in time – emotion lowers its intensity in a few minutes – and you also force yourself to get it out of your impulsive mind into reality and then you will have to rewrite it on your mobile.
This simple exercise can create “reactivity” and this is an advantage because it can inhibit you from finally doing the behavior.
- Try practicing zero contact. If the relationship is over and you are still stuck, try to reduce the actual contact to zero. Eliminate it from all social networks, avoid staying with friends in common or frequent places where you can find them.
- If you feel the impulse to go to your house, approach you to talk to him, etc., do a contrary behavior. If to go to your home, you have to take the car and drive on a specific road, divert to another alternative road that forces you to take many laps to get to your main destination. As in the rest of strategies, this will allow you to gain time and think more rationally.
- Think about what you are going to get by following your impulses. Will he come back with you? Will you get me to explain to you, as you want, why it is no longer by your side? Will you get me back with you? Do you really want to go back to him or her? If after all the questions, you conclude that you are not going to get to anything other than a discussion, fatigue or irritation that could have saved you, consider yourself if you still want to follow your instincts.
- Make a reminder card. When you are serene emotionally, write a reminder card that you have to carry over always to have access to it. There you have to write phrases that help you not to step into the dark side when you are too emotional. They have to be phrases that reach you and serve you, not worth anything.
An example could be: “You already have experience and you know that acting in this way only ends up damaging you. Is not that a good reason to maintain the effort to control your impulses? “
Self-control in emotional dependence is difficult to acquire. It requires constant work and, even so, nobody is totally invulnerable. We have to know that falls or relapses are part of the process and continue to persevere.