How To Overcome Adult Emotional Dependency
As humans, it is natural to seek emotional support and love from our near and dear ones. Humans are social animals and cannot survive without care and emotional security. However, running behind the people in your life and feeling anxious without attention could be a sign of a personality disorder. This points to Adult Emotional Dependency (AED).
According to a recent study, about 9% of American Adults suffer from some kind of personality disorder. All in all, about 6% of the world’s population suffers from the same. Analogous to this, if you need constant reassurance from your friends, family or love it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to see a psychologist. Sometimes, you can overcome adult emotional dependency by following a few tips. Be that as it may, if AED is taking a toll on you, it needs medical attention.
What is Adult Emotional Dependency and What are its Causes?
In psychological terms, Adult Emotional Dependency is a state which takes place in an individual’s personal relationships. Some symptoms could be a constant fear of rejection, a persistent need for reassurance and feeling depressed when spending time alone. The sufferer seems satisfied and happy when receiving emotional validation. On the other hand, if that is not the case, he/she goes into a depressive phase.
AED is mostly seen in cases of romantic relationships. That is to say, if not cured it may make your relationship toxic for both partners. It leads to obsessive behaviour where you expect your partner to be there all the time.
As a matter of fact, it may be caused due to an unfilled void from the past. Childhood trauma or emotional abuse, for instance. It could also be an effect of constant dependence on your parents as children.
As a result, it affects your relationships as adults and your capability to take responsibility for your feelings. The good news is there are ways to overcome adult emotional dependency. It is not an impossible task. All you need is a will to come out of this stressful phase of life.
These tips will prove helpful in overcoming emotional dependency and improving your current mental state.
#1. Learn To Set Boundaries
To overcome adult emotional dependency, try cutting on unwanted interactions with your partner or friend. For instance, if you are at work and they are constantly calling you, it might lead you to AED. In effect, tell them that you care about them but you are busy at present.
If you indulge in constant contact, you will eventually get dependent. You should learn to have some personal space and spend time alone. This way you have time with your feelings and don’t lose individuality in relationships. Following this tip will lead to emotional security and keep you mentally happy.
Adding to this, you will build a healthy relationship with the other where you respect each other’s personal space. You can use this time to work on yourself. Learn, grow and take care of your physical health. This is how you build self-care and overcome emotional dependency on others.
#2. Stop Being Hard on Yourself
The need for external validation arises when you undermine yourself. This is how you emotionally burden others to make yourself feel secure. This is a sign of adult emotional dependency.
To stop focusing on the wrongs in yourself you need self-awareness. As has been noted, most people think they are self-aware but only these many actually fit the criteria.
On the contrary, the latest research says that only 10-15% of people are actually self-aware. You need to learn to accept certain flaws in yourself in a healthy way. Remember, everybody has flaws.
At the same time, appreciate your qualities. These could be physical assets too. You need to build a belief that you are enough and not depend on external support. I know it is easy to say but hard to practice, however, it is a slow process. If you start recognizing your qualities now, you will reach a point of complete emotional security. This way, you can overcome adult emotional dependency, in case you suffer from it.
#3. Take Charge of Your Thoughts
Do you realize that it is your own perspective towards situations which affects you mentally?
The way you view a situation is in your absolute control. Your partner is not answering your calls for instance. This is making you anxious and jealous because you have set up a scenario where they don’t want you.
Analogous to this, you can consider the possibility that they’re busy. They might need some personal space at the moment as sometimes you do. This way, you do not feel sad about not receiving reassurance. You learn to accept and gradually overcome your dependency on others.
#4. Indulge in Activities that Calm You
It is obvious that your nervous system needs a break from this torture. When you are eager for interaction and validation your reptilian brain is constantly at work. That is to say, you are always in a fight or flight state since you keep waiting for someone to emotionally support you. This is what you call ‘feeling anxious.’
Your nervous system deserves a break. Give it that through activities. You can try yoga and meditation, for instance. You can also follow your hobbies like painting, writing or running. Exercising is a great way to calm your mind and body. It releases the ‘happy hormones’ namely dopamine and serotonin. These hormones are instant mood lighteners.
When you stay in a happy state of mind and give your Nervous System a rest, you are sure to overcome AED. You will start finding solace in these calming activities and not want to go back to the same depressive pattern.
#5. Seek Help From A Therapist
If you seem to be in a higher stage of adult emotional dependency do not hesitate to see a professional therapist. The mentioned ways are effective to a great extent but if you feel incapable of following them, go for medical help.
Therapists can help you identify the main cause of AED. They can help you get out of this vicious cycle of thoughts. Remember, talking about your problems with a trusted person will be the best way to deal with them.
The most common therapies to deal with emotional dependence are Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance And Commitment Therapy.
On the other hand, therapy can be expensive but there are many affordable options available online in the present day. You can consider these options to help you overcome adult emotional dependency.
It is okay to feel a need for emotional support from your loved ones. As it may be, if this need is constant to the point that it makes you depressed, you need to take certain steps.
Adult emotional dependency can be overcome by setting boundaries and indulging in some calming activities. However, if these don’t seem enough, seek medical support.
There is nothing to worry about in case you are going through AED. You need to be strong-willed to get out of this situation. With proper guidance and awareness, you are sure to overcome emotional dependence and build healthy relationships with your loved ones.
Are you ready to enter a healthy state of mind and overcome emotional dependency on others? Let us know what issues you face in the comments section below.
Deeksha Tripathi is a Literature graduate and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration. Besides being a passionate writer, she is a fashion enthusiast.