Do you have an unhealthy obsession with people loving you back?
“I need other people in my life so that I can feel alive and whole as a person”
Does this statement ring a chord? If this reminds you of yourself or of someone that you know, then you could be looking at a condition where you are emotionally dependent on others, a.k.a. a dependent personality disorder.
People who suffer from this condition fear that if they don’t connect with others, they don’t exist. They don’t trust themselves to do anything on their own out of fear.
While it is normal to seek contact, as human beings are social creatures by nature, it is problematic when a person feels that their worth is defined entirely by other people.
People that are emotionally dependent suffer from an over-reliance on others. They rely on others for their emotional needs being fulfilled and their physical needs as well.
For example, a husband getting angry at his wife because she doesn’t cook the food he needs to eat to lose weight, when he could just cook it himself. This is a sign of an emotionally dependent relationship. Emotional dependence will make the husband blind to the option that he can take his weight issue into his own hands, and take care of himself. He could say things to her such as: It’s your fault that I’m fat. When in fact, he should be taking responsibility for his own life without relying on others to do it.
But how can you be sure that you are looking at dependent personality disorder and not something else?
People that suffer from dependent personality disorder show several signs and characteristics. If you recognize yourself, or someone you love within those, then know that it is time for introspection.
12 traits of people suffering from dependent personality disorder
- We have difficulty defining our own identity. Most of the time, our vision of ourselves is negative and we have low self esteem. We look for ourselves within others.
- We have difficulty recognizing our own needs. Our behavior taught us that our own needs don’t matter.
- We are incapable of naming our needs. Instead, we choose to control situations our way, in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt.
- We do not know our limits, we go beyond what is acceptable towards ourselves, in order to be loved by others.
- We see life either as black or white. We are always choosing the extreme option in order to feel alive.
- Our relationships are based on all or nothing mindset. We either become extremely controlling of everything, or we control nothing. There is no middle ground.
- We often have obsessions or compulsive behaviors.
- We don’t know how to communicate with others adequately.
- We do not trust ourselves, we do not trust others and we do not trust life. We sometimes want to feel validated by people that are not healthy for us, and when they break our trust, it reinforces relationship issues with trust.
- We forgive others for being weak,, but do not forgive ourselves.
- We fear rejection and disapproval.
- We are often jealous and are always terrified of losing everything we love.
An emotionally dependent person needs to learn that their life is worth something, that they are capable of learning and doing things on their own, and that they don’t need validation from others to exist.
If you are emotionally dependent, then understand that your energy would be much better spent on self-improvement, confidence building, and validation of your own needs as opposed to pursuing an unattainable never fulfilling need to be loved by others.
Practicing acceptance, trust, and knowing that you are capable of doing things on your own, is key towards healing. Sometimes, it is difficult to change a pattern that your mind is already on by yourself. Psychotherapy is a form of therapy that is highly recommend to treat this condition. The first step is always recognizing that there is a problem. The second step, is towards healing yourself.
It will be a beautiful journey.
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