We all need love, security and acceptance. To do this, we build relationships with other people, whether friendly or loving. They develop an attachment to another person.
We may miss a friend who is away on vacation. We worry about a man when he’s in trouble. We are looking forward to meeting, we are upset, we are glad to see, we are worried – in general, we experience a wide range of emotions in relation to the person whom we consider close.
And that’s great. However, there are relationships in which healthy attachment quickly becomes severe emotional dependence.
Addiction – this is something without which a person cannot live and function normally. An alcoholic cannot help but drink, a gambler cannot help playing, a drug addict cannot do without his usual dose. The body without doping refuses to work. In emotional dependence, a person cannot live without another person.
Emotional addiction is not necessarily love addiction. You can also depend on your friend.
The main signs of addiction – this is when all the thoughts and feelings of one person begin to revolve around the life of another person.
Attachment what distinguishes it from dependence is that in attachment people can be at a distance from each other. I don’t mean physical distance. It’s about distance in a relationship.
Remember your girlfriends – today you call up 3 times a day, because you live on some common topic. But that’s it, the topic has exhausted itself and then the next call may be in a week.
You moved away from each other for a week, and each at that moment became close or was fond of something else. Another person or other activity.
It’s the same with a man – you can meet in the evening and have a wonderful night together, the next morning go your separate ways and meet in a few days or later.
But every time you go away from a person for a certain number of days or affairs, you know that you are still in a relationship. Your girlfriend didn’t leave you and the man is nearby.
In emotional dependence, it is impossible to be at a distance. Any increase in the distance is perceived as leaving – “she does not want to be friends with me anymore”, “he left me.”
Then the addict starts demanding proof that you are still in the relationship. At first, these may be innocent messages like “hello, how are you?”, however, if you do not respond immediately upon receipt, you will be bombarded on the rise. These can be pictures of cats, dogs, cute rhymes, texts “answer me, I’m worried.”
But the sweeter and more innocent these hooks are thrown to pull you into contact, the more you will feel like you are suffocating. The other person wants to control you and demands every second proof of love. At the same time, he himself can absolutely realistically, not picturesquely, suffer, experience physical pain, thinking that you have abandoned him.
So why do people get emotionally addicted? The roots of this phenomenon lie in early childhood.
The very first and most important attachment relationship is formed with the mother. Even from the moment of uterine development and somewhere up to 10-12 months after birth, the child and mother exist as one. Have you noticed how pregnant or young mothers often say “we” referring to themselves and the child?
Mom keeps the baby safe and fills him with love. After 10 months, the baby learns to walk and goes on an independent journey to explore the world. The older the child gets, the further he goes.
If everything was going well in the relationship with the mother, then the child does not lose a sense of security and knows that he is loved. In addition, mom gives support: “you can leave, you can return, because I’m there.”
If within a period of up to a year there was a failure in the relationship between mother and child, for example, the mother was in prolonged postpartum depression or the pregnancy was initially not desired, the child has a hole in the sense of security or the trauma of abandonment. Even if then mom comes back, this hole will not close. The child grows up feeling a huge lack of love.
As a result, we get a person whose inner vessel of love and security is always empty. This emptiness is not realized. But nature does not tolerate emptiness. Therefore, a person tries to fill the jug by “sucking” on the emotions of other people.
If you have become the object of someone’s emotional addiction, it is not easy to get rid of it. The further you distance yourself from the person who has a crush on you, the closer, and faster, and more emotionally, he will approach.
In a love addiction, a woman, for example, may threaten a man with suicide in front of his eyes, or arrange vivid public scenes. In friendship, the same thing – a friend will accusingly ask “why don’t you call?”, “Where did you go? I’m so worried.”
The main thing here is to understand that you are not responsible for the emotions and feelings of another person. And keep calm. While you turn on and give emotions, the other person sucks them like a vampire.
You are not a donor who is obligated to donate all of your blood for someone else’s life. Even if you give it away, it still won’t help, because the tank has no bottom. If a person is very dear to you, you can directly tell him: “You are a valuable person, I like to be friends with you, communicate, but I have many other interests and people in life. Just because I’m not with you now doesn’t mean I’m leaving you.”
If you are the one who sticks and suffocates, then you cannot do without the help of a psychologist. You are destroying not only the life of another person, but your own life too. Yes, you were unlucky in early childhood. For some reason, your mom left you and you got hurt. There is a huge lack of love and security within you, but it can be filled. There are special techniques and methods that will allow you to fill the vessel once and for all. Then you will learn to build healthy attachment relationships with other people, without suffocating control.
Why do these two meet at all – the one who depends and the one who becomes the object of dependence? There is no single answer. But you can dream up.
Robin Skinner and John Cleese’s The Family and How to Survive Them describes an exercise that clearly illustrates how people pair up. Members of the group, which has not yet met, are asked to choose a couple from those present on the basis of the principle “the one who reminds me of someone in my family or” the missing link “is the one I miss.”
It is forbidden to talk and learn any details about each other. When the group is divided into pairs, they are asked to discuss why they united, that is, to identify similarities. As a result of the exercise, it turns out that people choose partners for themselves whose families functioned similarly to their own. In some inexplicable way, we catch this information in each other.
I think it’s the same with injuries, we feel in the other the same woundedness as we do. However, with the same injury, everyone develops their own way of coping with it. One abandoned child grows into an adult prone to addictive behavior. Another abandoned child goes into independence or strong autonomy “so that no one leaves me, I will not let anyone near me.” Both are equally traumatized, but with different ways of getting out of the trauma. And now the “dependent” begins to run after the “autonomous”, which drives him to madness. Both need both intimacy and affection, but they won’t find it that way, they will only get hurt even more.
We all need each other. But not in order to “treat” or measure injuries. When two people learn to deal with their emotional wounds in an eco-friendly way, they become whole and self-reliant individuals who can build a relationship of interdependence. In them, they will fill each other, and not “suck”.
And this is the path to freedom.