Have you ever felt like you couldn’t live without “that certain person”?
To stop depending on that other person, can be difficult.
And I’m not talking about your parents or your brothers or sisters.
I’m talking about that friendship or partner you break your back to keep them next to you.
Let me tell you that there’s nothing wrong with depending on another person, we all depend on someone.
The problem comes when that dependency becomes bigger than you, and you forget about yourself and what you want.
Then, without realizing it, you dedicate 100% of your time to that other person.
- 1 When the relationship ISN’T balanced
- 2 How do we get too emotional dependence?
- 3 Is it possible to not depend emotionally on others?
- 4 Emotionally dependent relationships
- 5 How to stop depending on others?
When the relationship ISN’T balanced
I have a sister who is 7 years younger than me, so during my childhood and adolescence, I felt like an only child because I couldn’t share that much with my sister.
When I was 13, I “adopted” a friend as my sister.
I remember always being available to her, doing what she wanted, accompanying her wherever she wanted to go and love her madly.
For me we were joined at the hip.
I always was her alibi when she wanted to meet a boy and always faced the consequences for her.
There was a moment when she was my only friend.
She was EVERYTHING to me.
My friend used to hang out with a lot of boys, and there where many times when I’d be the third wheel.
But I was so “blind” that I didn’t realize that my relationship wasn’t reciprocal.
When I was 16 I fell madly in love with a boy.
Of course, my friend was my confidant. I’d tell her if I saw him, if he looked at me, if we talked…
Do you know what was my surprise?
That my “friend” started going out with him.
And she didn’t just want me to accept their relationship, she wanted me to be the third wheel.
I’d never felt so betrayed.
Today, I can tell you that I depended emotionally on that person.
But it wasn’t a reciprocal relationship.
Another moment in which I’ve felt that dependency on another person was when I was 29.
I had a really nice relationship for the 2 first years, but then something changed.
The relationship was no longer in balance and the less he depended on me, the more I depended on him.
It was a long and painful process and a moment came where I just felt pain, but I was unable to leave him.
I depended totally on what LITTLE he gave me.
How do we get too emotional dependence?
I think that to be emotionally dependent some things have to happen:
- Lack of care
- Little self-support
- Lack of self-confidence
But above all, being with someone who doesn’t give you the importance you want or need, and nevertheless, giving then all your care and, without realizing, stop caring for yourself.
I can tell you that in my case, I didn’t realize it.
The moment came in which I couldn’t live without that person.
Is it possible to not depend emotionally on others?
- Do you really think you NEED others?
- Are you sure about that?
- How much do you think you can live WITHOUT other people?
It was difficult for me, but finally I learned how to do it.
Though it was a hard and long process.
Not depending on others implies an internal change.
First of all, consider that you’re conditioned to depend on others.
How many times have you heard “I’m nothing without you” or “I can’t live without you” in songs, films or books?
A lot, right?
The repetition of an idea, even if it’s false, many times in a certain period of time, makes that idea turn into a belief.
And this belief of “I can’t live without them” is a half-truth or half-lie, depending on how you look at it.
We’re social beings, we need others and that’s the true part.
Nevertheless, we don’t need “a certain person”, that’s the lie.
It’s clear that we can only apply this to adults.
Children need both of their parents or adults to take care of them and love them. They can’t choose.
But as an adult… Eh! Things change.
You don’t need a specific person.
But you do need you.
Emotionally dependent relationships
A dependent relationship is one that keeps you emotionally “hooked”, to a person who DOESN’T give you what you want.
Or, in other words, that isn’t convenient for you or damages to you emotionally.
If you need love, but are with a person who gives you love “sometimes”, while he takes your love after a time, you start thinking that:
- It’s normal
- At least you have “a bit” of love
- At least you have a relationship
- At least you aren’t alone
- At least someone loves you (or that’s what you think…)
These are excuses that you tell yourself to convince yourself to stay with that person who DOESN’T satisfy you.
How to stop depending on others?
I’ll try to give you some advice that may help you:
1. Change your focus
If you focus on that other person, you take care of what he wants, needs, and adapt yourself to him or her.
Now look at yourself, even if you do it gradually.
What it means is, stop depending on that other person and learn to depend on yourself.
So if you have a need and the one who you depend on doesn’t satisfy it, take your need and look for a way to satisfy it yourself.
I’ll give you an example:
Years ago I read a Jorge Bucay book called ” Towards auto-dependence “.
In that book, he explained that when you have a need, instead of waiting for your partner, friend, relationship to solve it… you can keep it and do it yourself.
If you need a hug, you can ask for it from your friend Maria. If she’s busy and can’t hug you, you can ask for it from your other friend Fernando.
If Fernando can’t either, then you can ask for it from your partner, your mother or whomever you think can give you what you need.
The idea is for you not to wait for Maria, Fernando, your partner or others to decide to make time for you, but for you to keep that need with you until you find the person, thing or situation that can satisfy it.
The one who’s responsible for satisfying your needs, IS YOU.
Because you depend on YOU.
If you manage to do this, you’ll stop depending on others.
2. Create a new support network
Imagine that you’ve been walking with crutches for a long time because you had a mishap and the doctor prescribed them to you.
Some time has passed, you’ve gotten used to walking with crutches and you even feel comfortable with them.
And you know it too, but you’ve used them for so long, that you don’t remember how to walk without them.
If I suddenly take the crutches away, you may fall.
You may not even be able to walk without them.
And you think that you really need them, or even that you’ll never be able to walk again without them.
What I’m trying to say is that BEFORE giving in and walking with that person you depend on, you need to look for other people, situations or things you can learn on, to learn how to walk without crutches.
Do you follow me?
The next step before leaving the crutches, is finding some places to sit, so you can rest when you’re walking without them.
But you have to find those support points first.
To create a network that will hold you when you need it.
So begin by:
- Looking for help from people you already know
- Hanging out with new people
- Finding activities you like and don’t need anyone else to do them, for example, reading, going for walks, skating, singing, doing sports…
- Start going to new places, where you can have other kinds of experiences and maybe meet other people
After some time, if you do all of this, your life and resources will expand.
And you’ll feel strong enough to START walking in the other direction.
This is the most difficult step, but also the most important one.
If you focus on yourself and find a support network, you’ll have to start walking.
You know you can, but even so, it’s hard.
Because on the way, by losing that person, you may wish they’d come with you.
And most probably, he won’t, so you’ll have to mourn that loss.
And say goodbye to that relationship, which didn’t give you what you wanted, but did have some good moments.
4. If you can’t do it alone, find for help
I had to find professional help because I wasn’t able to do it by myself.
Promise me you’ll be honest with yourself.
And if you see that you can’t do it alone, you’ll find helpful.
Because if you leave the relationship that doesn’t give you what you want, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to find a relationship that does.
As always, these things are easier said than done.
But if I was able to stop depending on that person, so can you.
So, what are you waiting for to focus on yourself?
If you want you can leave your progress in the comments to encourage other people to follow your steps.