November 9, 2022

How to Indicate and Prevent Emotional Dependence

Lydia Poon

How to Indicate and Prevent Emotional Dependence

It is normal to look for emotional support from friends, family, and significant others. Having a certain amount of emotional dependency on someone is even normal. However, depending on one person too much, whether it be your significant other or friend, can take a dangerous toll on you.  How can you know if you are emotionally dependent or not?

What is Emotional Dependence?

Emotional dependency is the inability to take full responsibility for your own feelings and instead depend on others for their emotional capabilities. It is when you expect someone to meet all of your emotional needs instead of trying to meet those needs on your own. If someone is unable to meet your emotional needs, then this could lead to strong fears of abandonment, low self-esteem and self-confidence, and anxiety. To avoid an unhealthy relationship with yourself and others, it is important to recognize if you have the problem. Some signs that indicate emotional dependence are:

  1. Sudden changes in mood
  2. Constant low moods such as depression or anxiety
  3. Difficulty being alone
  4. Acceptance of suffering; tolerating abuse from others
  5. Lack of self-worth apart from others
  6. Lack of self-care

Tips on Preventing Emotional Dependence

If you are experiencing signs of emotional dependency, here are some tips you can practice to improve your emotional health.

  1. Spend time alone

The best thing you can start doing is to practice knowing and being comfortable with your emotions. The best way to do that is by spending time alone, figuring out what makes you feel up or down, and understanding what triggers your emotions. Meditate, take a walk, or journal your thoughts to help you face your emotions, recognize destructive patterns, and realize what helps you feel better.

  1. Practice self-care

Manage your emotions by doing something for yourself! Feeling sad? Go for a run. Feeling exhausted? Take a bubble bath. Feeling anxious? Listen to music. Do the things you know that makes you happy or relaxed.

  1. Set boundaries

To help you practice being less emotionally dependent, you can start by setting boundaries with your significant other. For example, if you notice you spend all your time with one particular person, try limiting time spent together to three days in the week. If you feel as though you are interrupting their work schedule, set a time to talk that best fits their schedule.

Boundaries do not have to only be physical. If you notice that you are talking too much about one issue with a person, try and limit the amount of times you seek out to them for help. If you feel that you handing them responsibilities to look after you, try and retaking those responsibilities to look after yourself.

Improving upon your emotional dependency will not happen overnight. Remember that change takes time and patience! What matters is that you are consistently putting in effort in yourself.

Lydia Poon is a Psych intern under the AGAPE House at Thaddeus Resource Center. She is a senior at UC Berkeley undergoing her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to get a Master's in Social Work in hopes of being a licensed therapist. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing Valorant, going to the gym, and playing the guitar.