How to Overcome Emotional Dependency

When your happiness starts to rely on any person, achievement or outcome (or a fragile combination of these) then you may discover that you’re emotionally dependent. It’s not an easy thing to face, nor is it your fault but it is a challenge which is vital to address.

It takes great courage to learn how to overcome emotional dependency but it’s worth doing so that you feel more in control of your life. Becoming gradually more independent and less attaching takes time and practice but it can be done. Here are 18 ways to overcome emotional dependency.

1. Avoid giving away responsibility for your happiness

People who aren’t sure about how to look after themselves emotionally are more likely to reach out for someone else to do it for them. But no matter how good someone makes you feel, it’s still a good idea to preserve and develop as much emotional self-reliance as you can rather than relying on them.

Learning this requires self-observation and practise but eventually you will be able to take care of yourself in situations where you might normally depend on someone else. For example, if you feel lonely or stressed you could experiment with different ways of making those negative feelings dissolve.

“It’s my job to look after me”

This realisation can also be useful when feeling needy. For example, if someone does not reply to a message you might think “Why can’t they just reply?” But then instead of sending a second one, you take a step back and say “Okay, maybe I don’t want to be someone who pressures people like this”.

The ironic thing about wanting to be more independent and less “needy” is that the solution is to recognise that your needs are actually very important and won’t go away if you neglect or ignore them. Dependency is often a result of both neglect and self-neglect of important emotional needs.

Here are some of the main ways to take greater care of yourself emotionally:

  • Recognise your needs and prioritise your happiness
  • Manage your needs regularly and strategically like a business
  • Practise savouring your alone time and exploring playfulness
  • Gradually replace self-harshness with self-loving behaviour
  • Face, accept and embrace your most vulnerable emotions
  • Develop a list of healthy coping strategies and distractions
  • Consciously return to the present moment several times a day
  • Work on a variety of different sources of joy and connection
  • Wallow in what is positive rather than what is negative
  • Explore your capacity for sincere enthusiasm more often
  • Practise positive self-motivation on a regular basis

There are always many ways to make yourself feel better: calming breathing, developing positive attitudes or resting your mind through meditation, enjoying movies or music, talking on the phone, going for a walk and so on. Make it your project to figure out and repeat what works best for you.

2. Avoid confusing your needs with anyone’s responsibility

An important step along the road to freedom is allowing other people to be free rather than holding onto resentments about their behaviour. It may be tempting to get angry with someone who isn’t there for you during a crisis or lets you down in some way but it isn’t the solution.

Consider how many times you may have passed a homeless person in the street and not even thrown them some loose change. When you become an “emotional beggar” you’re in a similar situation. You can ask for help but there’s no point demanding it because nobody owes you anything.

“The only way to free yourself from other people is to free them from you”

Part of the solution is simply accepting that people have natural limitations when it comes to friendships, relationships, humanity and understanding. They may find it hard enough to stay positive as it is already without having to look after those who can’t seem to look after themselves.

Imagining that anyone “should” help you when they haven’t explicitly agreed to do so can come across as manipulative because it confuses your needs with their responsibility. It’s not worth testing anyone’s limits by pressuring them to be someone they may not even be capable of becoming.

3. Recognise and let go of destructive childhood patterns

A lot of neediness may stem from difficult events that happened during childhood or adolescence. Identifying these events and the way you responded to them as a child is a great way to recognise why you may have got stuck in a place of emotional dependency.

You don’t want to get lost in the past but exploring it to some extent can help you to let go of patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour that you may have formed when you had no idea how to deal with what was going on. It’s good to avoid “re-living” the same story over and over again.

“The role of the present is not to reverse the past or compensate for it”

Therapy can help. Part of the solution is learning to distinguish between present situations and past situations they may remind you of. You can also increasingly distinguish between the helpless child you once were and the self-calming, self-caring, self-approving adult you’re becoming.

You may identify certain “triggers” that make you feel helplessly attached. You can then start seeing such things as an invitation to a trap you don’t have to fall into rather than as something irresistible or impossible to ignore and which inevitably pulls you into dependency.

This can also help you to recognise and let go of illusions at the core of the dependency. Examples might include feeling a need to take responsibility for someone else’s well-being or believing that your survival depends on securing one person’s approval or affection even at an unreasonable price1.

4. Let go of reckless impulsivity

Emotional dependency can create overwhelming and confusing emotions. Reacting impulsively to that internal state can be very dangerous. What seems like a great idea when you’re in a “reactive” mood could turn out to be a really bad idea so it’s worth stepping back from that.

When you feel calm you can think things through carefully. But feeling needy, upset, sad, stressed, angry, manic, tired, hungry or drunk isn’t a great basis for drawing conclusions or making snap decisions. To avoid consequences you may regret, it’s good to heed the advice of Winston Churchill:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going”

When you’re in the grip of intense feelings it can seem as if they will never go away. But the truth is that they always do when you give them enough time. This is why people often remind themselves “This too shall pass” rather than doing something reckless merely to escape.

The irony is that desperately reacting to make feelings go away often escalates problems with people. Rather than becoming involved in a potentially never-ending cycle of drama, it’s often better to allow emotional “ups and downs” to run their course by avoiding the temptation to do anything rash.

5. Recognise when you start being too clingy

A bit of adventurous self-introspection will often help you identify patterns of dependency in your thoughts or behaviour that you can work on overcoming. An example might be having an attitude of wanting “all or nothing” from people instead of appreciating whatever is freely offered.

You may also recognise how you start thinking about what you want so that you can nip some of that dependent thinking in the bud at early stages. Spending too much time or energy focusing on what might be good for you may seem positive but it can be dangerous for one reason. As C.S. Lewis put it:

“Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose”2

If you start attaching to anything or anyone too much you’re giving them too much importance and so you may need to give both yourself and them more distance in order to avoid becoming dependent. The sooner you realise this risk the easier it is to avoid getting into trouble.

You can even recognise and let go of neediness in your everyday thoughts. Changing your language is one way to tackle that. Instead of saying “I need to” you might start saying “I’d like to”. Instead of saying “I need this” you might say “I would quite like that”.

6. Avoid getting carried away by desire

It’s easy to get carried away by the idea of wanting things to be a certain way. It starts with
a mild preference but then it gets twisted in the mind, going through several stages:

 “That might be nice”   “That couldn’t possibly be bad for me”   “This must be good for me”   “This will make me happy”   “I’m starting to feel strangely unhappy without it”   “Nothing else could make me happy”   “Without it I might be devastated”   “I’m starting to feel unhappy, that just proves how much I need it”   “I need it so much that nothing else exists anymore” 

An example is meeting someone and imagining that they are “the one” instead of just “one of many”, “one of a kind” and not necessarily even good for you or right for you at all. To stop yourself jumping between the steps of desire mentioned above you might say:

“That might be great but I can survive without it just fine”

What may seem completely amazing and the complete answer to all your problems may turn out to be surprisingly bad for you! It’s especially easy to get swayed by first impressions or feelings about new people and to forget that all that glitters is not gold. For example, you might:

  • Confuse being attracted to someone with them being right for you
  • Confuse a feeling with genuine sexual and emotional compatibility
  • Confuse a strong crush or visual attraction with a deeper attraction
  • Confuse physical infatuation with really knowing and loving a person
  • Confuse a feeling you get from someone with knowing what they are like
  • Confuse your first few impressions with what someone is really like
  • Confuse loving an impression of someone with loving who they really are
  • Confuse insecurity, emptiness, loneliness or wishful thinking with love
  • Confuse a fear of “abandonment” with someone being right for you
  • Confuse childhood traumas or pain with someone being right for you

It’s incorrect to believe that someone or something can “make me happy”. What’s really happening is that you are making your happiness depend on them and that dependency makes you unhappy. The more you focus on what you think “makes” you happy the more you start to depend on it.

People often try to inspire themselves by focusing on a personal goal. Focusing on what inspires you is a great idea and a goal can be part of the fun but you can still do that without making everything depend too rigidly on a particular outcome. The solution is exploration rather than “goal fixation”.

7. Recognise emotional dependency in different forms

We all sometimes experience a feeling which, on a subconscious level, might be explained in terms of a child jumping up and down and screaming “I want my ice cream!” It may be that the child is spoilt or just so distressed that it genuinely seems as if ice cream is the only possible answer.

To any adult observing the scene, it is obvious that the child could be okay even without getting any ice-cream. And so it is important to observe the child within yourself and to recognise when you might be holding your own happiness to ransom by insisting on something you might not actually need.

“I am willing to try my very best to be happy in spite of X, Y and Z and even without A, B or C“

Identifying what you have recently made your happiness rely on can be an eye opener. For example, a troubling thought like “People are driving me crazy!” can be reinterpreted as “I can’t be happy unless everyone is great” which is clearly a little overdependent and unrealistic.

Another example might be “Nothing is making any sense!” which is another way of saying “I demand that everything always makes sense” and not strictly necessary for a happy life. Recognising which arbitrary conditions you keep placing on your own happiness can increasingly set your mind free.

8. Take responsibility for dependent beliefs

It’s very easy to suddenly become psychologically addicted to anything, such physical intimacy, companionship or external approval. Nobody can blame themselves when this happens because they often do so without fully realising the precise role that they played in making that happen.

If you start telling yourself that you “need” something this is likely to alter your “reality”. You can persuade yourself of anything but it’s good to take responsibility for doing so. When you depend on something, your mind creates a system of self-reward and self-punishment around it.

“I did this to myself”

For example, I could keep telling myself over and over again that I “need” to see a black cat run across the street. If I genuinely start believing that and hoping for it then this will affect my emotions. When I finally see a black cat run across the street I may even feel blissful.

I could say that the black cat “makes” me happy but it’s not really true. I made my happiness depend on it by strongly persuading myself it was what I needed. I rewarded myself with happiness at seeing the black cat and punished myself with disappointment if I didn’t see it.

9. Challenge your assumptions about the nature of love

We may feel supported by personal or popular prejudices that seem to “confirm” some kind of value in sliding down the slippery slope of dependency. Falling “head over heels” may seem “thrilling”, “caring” or “destined” rather than risky, unwise and merely a sign of preceding loneliness3 or self-neglect.

“Love is not the answer. Learning how to take care of myself is the answer”

It’s easy to forget that “romantic” songs, books and movies often involve a somewhat naive and teenage glorification of unhealthy neediness. Dependency may create strong and addictive emotions but such imbalanced longing is not something that needs to be idealised or seen as magical.

10. Avoid idealising anyone or anything

The more we idealise what we want, the deeper we sink into the quicksand of desire. The more you imagine anything to be perfect or put anyone on a pedestal the more you are setting yourself up for a disappointment. What seems like the Holy Grail can easily turn out to be a poisoned chalice.

Worshipping anyone as if they are some kind of “saviour” figure is particularly dangerous. Imagining that someone has a supernatural ability to make you whole4 is really a way of persuading yourself that there’s something you can’t live without and that you can never feel okay or grow independently.

It may seem like idealising someone is a great compliment but you’re not doing yourself or them any favours. Sliding into dependency will make you feel like a stalker the moment they change their minds about having you around. Focusing on their flaws for a while can help offset such over-attachment.

“Nothing is ever quite what it’s cracked up to be”

Idealisation is a form of escape from life. Rather than coping with reality, we create a fantasy in which we can lose ourselves. It’s easy to become addicted to a fantasy but it’s inevitably disappointing5. Anyone we worship in our imagination can be boring, annoying or even quite obnoxious in reality.

Another danger of such obsession is that you may end up devaluing everything else in your life, leaving you with a sense of things being somewhat stale or pointless. It’s worth consciously elevating the importance of various things in order not to lose perspective on what you would normally value.

A classic sign that you may have idealised someone is the tendency to disregard or dismiss evidence that contradicts your wishful sense of what they are like. It’s a good idea to notice such counter-evidence and accept that your whole impression of them may be partly or largely illusory.

11. Avoid catastrophising withdrawal

Some people believe that they can’t love themselves unless someone loves them or that they don’t exist unless someone acknowledges them or approves of their existence. They mistakenly assume that their survival depends on being attached to someone on whom they have to depend6.

Imagining that you can’t live without someone or something only gives them power over you. You may subconsciously believe that being denied what you want would cause you to fall apart but it’s an illusion that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy until you realise that it might not have to be true.

As long as you’re determined not to abandon yourself then you never have to fear anyone else’s absence. You may sometimes go through a hard time but you also have the ability to get through it, comfort yourself, soothe your distress, learn positive lessons and come out stronger.

“Everything is going to be okay”

Believing in any form of hopelessness can only make a person feel more needy and less in control of their emotions. Part of the solution may be to visualise yourself surviving and recovering in the long term. In case you are worried about anyone else you may need to visualise them being okay too.

Occasionally, your mind may try to pull you into an extremely negative state of thinking. This may also be triggered when you hear someone complaining about their life, listen to a romantic song or watch a movie about disgruntled teenagers or victims of a grave injustice. Here are some of the classic traps:

  • Eternal despair: “Everything will be generally horrible unless I get what I want right now”
  • Eternal nihilism: “Life must be meaningless in every way unless I get what I want right now”
  • Eternal incompleteness: “I can never become fulfilled unless I get what I want right now”
  • Eternal loneliness: “I will always be miserable and alone unless I get what I want right now”
  • Eternal victimhood: “Life will always be helplessly unfair unless I get what I want right now”
  • Eternal lethargy: “Everything will always be stale unless I get what I want right now”
  • Imminent annihilation: “I’m about to die unless I get what I want right now”

These are all dangerous illusions to be toying with let alone identifying with mentally. Many of us have occasionally entertained such notions but the key thing is not to get carried away by them or to imagine that that they can ever truly represent what your life is going to be like.

12. Learn to substitute what you start depending on

It’s not usually worth needing anything from the wrong people or situations. You may sometimes find yourself “barking up the wrong tree” but sometimes the solution is to figure out what it is that you need and to accept that it doesn’t have to come from that particular source.

People sometimes lose sight of everything when feeling as if true love is what they are missing in life. But since the prospect of a relationship working out cannot be relied upon with any real certainty, developing and retaining other sources of contentment can end up becoming a lifeline.

When you start being a bit clingy ask yourself what it is about a person, situation or outcome that you like so much. This allows you to figure out how to substitute that by looking for it elsewhere rather than seeing them as having some kind of monopoly on that benefit.

“Nothing is irreplaceable”

For example, if you love how much someone empathises with you then you could look out for a few more people like that and learn to do it for yourself and others. Any need can be met in a variety of different ways so learn to identify what you want and patiently go after it in more than one form.

A relationship breakup is one of the hardest challenges and similar to overcoming drug addiction. As in “rehab”, the most effective approach is “cold turkey”, giving up all contact with the other person, starting a whole new chapter in life and remembering that time eventually heals all.

13. Let go of expectations about people

When you’re emotionally dependent, you’re more likely to have unrealistic and slightly intense notions about what you can expect from others. This may be driven by a naive idealism about what friendships, romantic relationships and other arrangements are “supposed” to be like.

One of the biggest dangers is imagining that you know what someone is like based on wishful thinking. Needing someone to be good for you makes it easy to disregard evidence to the contrary or signs that you may not have as much in common as you would prefer. For example, it’s easy to:

  • Confuse mere friendliness with friendship
  • Confuse a casual friendship with unceasing loyalty or availability
  • Confuse a romance or relationship with unconditional love
  • Confuse romantic curiosity with serious romantic interest
  • Confuse any cool or intense experience as the start of something greater
  • Confuse doing someone a favour with them having to do something for you

For example, you may think friendship must always be “true” and involve “being there for each other” in hard times or always being genuine or kind. You may think that a partner should love you forever, can never turn their back on you or must forgive you just because you’re sorry.

Needing more from people than they feel ready or able to give is just unrealistic and it can also make you appear unreasonable. Even in a crisis, it is pointless to push on someone to do something for you just because you would be willing to do the same for them: no obligation strictly exists.

“A bond can be beautiful even when it’s temporary and limited in scope”

Everyone is good for some things and useless at other things. Some people will be great at empathising with you or boosting your confidence. Other people will be useless at that but they might be a hilarious travel companion or the perfect partner for a new hobby. Nobody can be all of these things.

There’s nothing wrong with “fair weather friends” as long as you remember what you can’t expect. Nobody can be a substitute parent and their idea about how everything works may be much more casual. Many friendships are about occasionally amusing each other and nothing deeper.

14. Think in terms of virtues rather than obligations

Disappointment is a common human experience but a good way to recover from it is to look at what you expected in terms of virtues that aren’t possible for everyone, given their natural weaknesses and limitations. Instead of accusing anyone of a moral crime, a better conclusion might be:

“They’re only human, they have lots of good points but x is clearly not their forte”

For example, if someone lets you down when you feel sad then you might be tempted to think “What a bad person!” A better way to look at it might be: “They have many good points and sometimes they are kind – just not in an unlimited way or in every situation. I can work around that”.

If empathy, humanity or some other virtue does not always come naturally to a person then needing it when they simply don’t have it in them involves demanding something that is in a sense “supernatural” for them. It’s unrealistic to insist that anyone should rise above their limited nature.

15. Practise changing your focus regularly

The power of focus is what can get you both into trouble and also out of trouble. A good way to prevent yourself from becoming too attached to anyone or anything is to practise switching your focus regularly or asking “What am I going to focus on?” so that it never becomes too narrow or selective.

A good way to wean yourself off anything that starts becoming addictive is to throw yourself into some other area of life that can keep your focus balanced. If you’re willing to find something inspiring enough to totally distract you then you probably will succeed.

“Maybe it’s time to spread my wings”

It may help to consciously stop yourself from focusing on, thinking about or visualising whatever you need to depend on less. You may need to give up bad habits such as compulsively checking phone messages and remove reminders such as photos, social media and so on.

If you never focus on something it can’t control you emotionally. You don’t want your life to be about one person, situation, goal or outcome. A good way to change that is to decide what you should be focusing on less and what you should be focusing on more and proactively making that happen.

16. Practise embracing multiple outcomes

Outcome-independence may well be the essence of freedom. You can develop a more independent frame of mind if you practise imagining the main outcomes a situation could have and then embrace each of those scenarios by looking at them as positively as you can.

“Whatever happens could be a good thing in some ways. It may even be for the best”

The funny thing about life is that you never really know what’s good for you. Sometimes you need a “bad” experience in order to learn the amazing lessons that will result in becoming a much happier and more independent person in the long term.

As Oscar Wilde put it, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it”. Sometimes we get exactly what we want and it is a disaster. But when we don’t get what we want, we often forget that it might not have resulted in a fairytale ending.

17. Take things slowly and play it cool

When I’m feeling needy around someone, I often visualise a giant baby crawling up to them and in a high-pitched squeaky voice saying “Mama?” This cute but embarrassing comic depiction helps me to detach and deters me from being needy by reminding me of how I would never want to come across.

Seeming to need slightly more from someone than seems socially appropriate can be quite a turn-off for them. But you can often such avoid unfortunate impressions simply by making it a rule to outwardly behave in much the same way as someone who has complete emotional independence.

No matter how you feel, you can make an agreement with yourself to communicate in a way that allows people to relax and feel totally free. By doing so you are refusing to let any personal feelings or difficulties get in the way of things going smoothly and you are also following a simple rule:

“Go with the flow”

A good way to take things slowly with people is to imagine what it might be like if you were already way too successful and busy or had too many friends. You are less likely to “come on too strong” or need “too much too soon” when behaving as if you already have everything you need from life.

Playing the role of someone who “has it all” can help you avoid giving anyone a sense of being inappropriately pushed or relied upon. You can “fake it till you make it”, using the appearance of totally casual behaviour to allow people take things at their own natural and often gradual pace.

But the main reason to take things slowly with anyone is that they may not actually be good for you in spite of overwhelming impressions to the contrary. If you’re trying to speed things up then you may have wrongly convinced yourself that someone has to be right for you and can’t be wrong for you.

18. Develop greater patience with life

Part of becoming less needy and more independent is improving what you can do for yourself. But an equally important part of the solution is having the patience to wait for some things in life to fall into place rather than depending on the next person or outcome that might be good for you.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

There is often a risk that some people will feel punished just because they aren’t the kind of person you’re hoping to meet one day. Rather than trying to change anyone it’s better to be patient, diplomatic, to accept that “everyone has their uses” and to look out for people who are good for you.

In conclusion

Nobody is entirely independent and even people who seem very “strong” are not as free as they imagine. Their sense of emotional well-being often relies on what’s going on in their lives and on knowing that someone who cares about them is a phone call away should they ever need their help.

But it is possible to learn how to overcome emotional dependency, at least enough to feel much better. At some point, even when things aren’t going very well, you’ll be able to say “I’m happy not because of what’s going on but in spite of anything”. Developing that frame of mind takes time and practice.

An important part of the process is letting go of overly dependent ways of thinking about yourself and others. When you combine that approach with enough self-encouragement and a willingness to broaden your horizons while prioritising your happiness then the path to freedom lies before you.

Support group

CODEPENDENT no more – Facebook

References

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Brenda Schaeffer. Is It Love or Is It Addiction?: The Book That Changed the Way We Think About Romance and Intimacy, 19. Hazelden Publishing, 2009
  2. Lewis, C.S. The Four Loves. Mariner Books, 1971
  3. Erich Fromm, The art of LovingM, 3. Thorsons Edition, 1995
  4. Brenda Schaeffer. Is It Love or Is It Addiction?: The Book That Changed the Way We Think About Romance and Intimacy, 49. Hazelden Publishing, 2009
  5. Brenda Schaeffer. Is It Love or Is It Addiction?: The Book That Changed the Way We Think About Romance and Intimacy, 124. Hazelden Publishing, 2009
  6. Brenda Schaeffer. Is It Love or Is It Addiction?: The Book That Changed the Way We Think About Romance and Intimacy, 21. Hazelden Publishing, 2009


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199 thoughts on “How to Overcome Emotional Dependency

  1. I’ve been struggling with a lot of things lately and this may have just changed my entire outlook on my situation. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to growing.

  2. What a great article! I appreciate how you’ve included different layers of thought from both psychology and personal experience. I myself am a teacher and if I could teach my students how to embrace life, I would definitely use your articles in the process in order to spare them some of the troubles relating to relationship issues. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Beautifully described everything about the problems with quotes which are like a balm to an aching heart. I have never read such a thorough article written so softly yet penetrating into depths of emotional problems. Thank you so much! I have saved it on my desktop to read over and over again.

  4. This article has completely changed me. This morning I was feeling nearly suicidal. Now I have some real tools to feel better. Thank you.

  5. Stop watching schmaltzy crap like The Sound of Music with its fairy tale notions. Only young, beautiful people can live that lie. I thank God that I finally managed to do away with my romantic self. Turning 51 and looking more and more like a troll had something to do with it. I used to be SO optimistic. Life is what it is. No expectations now, and I am happier for it.

    • In reply Bryan:

      Wow. I read your comment and I can totally relate to what you feel. I think you have balls to say something so honest. I think you are right on the money. I am 52 and things have changed for me also. Anyway I hope soon that I can see things the way you have. Life is what it is. I don’t know if you’ll ever see this from me but I hope so. Thanks Tina

  6. Thank you so much this is the best content I have come across on the web regarding neediness! It has put me right back on track – THANKS AGAIN 🙂

  7. I was drowning in self-pity and feelings of rejection and unworthiness because of (what else but) a man. Reading this article, the very realisation that I convinced myself of ‘Him or there’s no happiness for me ever!’, has helped instantly. I am a high achiever, consider myself a person who can see the bigger picture and can put things in perspective, have a beautiful healthy family who love me, and here I am dependent on his 5 minute a week attention! To be clear, he is a lovely man, and this is not intended towards blaming him. But I do find myself resenting him, even stalking him. I am now fine and calm after reading the article, but very VERY embarrassed. The healthy embarrassment though, because I feel armed with help tools-I have copied the article to refer to it when I get overwhelmed by neediness. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for preserving my sanity!

  8. Thank you for posting such a clear message, that we are enough to create our own happiness, in the meaning of self-worth. It is really helpful. I am sure everybody has time to time some doubts about emotional stability and independence, no matter how strong they can seem to be from outside. Thanks again! 🙂 I have needed it.

  9. Thank you so much for putting your thoughts, experiences, and advice out here for everyone to see and learn from. Ive ruined a lot of relationships with people by being needy and dependent on them for happiness and it took til now, losing Someone i heavily relied on and loved to leave me to realize that i needed to make a huge change in my life so i can better my future and current relationships with others. Youve been a great help and i appreciate it very much.

  10. Thanks so much for this article. I have been going through so much in the past few months, and I believe that I have developed a sense of dependency on my male companion which I feel has pushed him away. I am not as bad as I thought. I just need to put things into perspective. I will definitely save this for future use. Thanks again

  11. Thank you! I feel better already and am going to be coming back to this article over and over again through my self healing journey

  12. I stumbled on this article today whilst trying to find some relief on google rather than making yet another phone call to burden a friend with my emotions. I’ve been reading this article for hours, writing notes and feeling relieved, but worried about how long I will go before reverting to old thought patterns. I’d be happy to keep in touch and hear how you are going, if you think it could help.

    • I too have found this blog really helpful & it gives me some useful tips on how to recognise and control my own emotions. I have been struggling with things for years but didn’t understand exactly what I was struggling with and why, let alone how to deal with it. I have been receiving support from various Christian sources for my issues and have made great progress. Having started down this path and shared my struggles I have found myself wondering why those I have shared with, including my wife, do not seem to understand my ‘need’ to talk things through as much and as often as I do. This can leaving me feeling more alone and quite down. Emotional dependency was mentioned to me by a minister a few months ago and having felt left alone while trying to talk things through with my wife last night I had a restless sleep and woke early so decided to explore the topic more. There are definitely several traits here that I recognise and suggestions of things I can do to help myself. I would normally look almost exclusively for help from Christian sources but this blog seems to be a really helpful source for anyone struggling through life with some form of emotional dependency.

  13. I had already recognised this quality in myself a while back, but this is the most articulate and informative explanation I’ve seen or heard. I love that its written I’m such a way that is positive and encouraging and allows the reader to acknowledge that many people are doing the same thing and feeling equally as guilty. I think I’ll have to read and re-read a few times but I’m hopeful I can get some control back of my life and my emotions.

  14. Well this was something that has made me complete. I know that being a teenager is like being a person from another planet, thrown here to suffer at this point in time when i have to make my career and focus on living a quality life. This has given me a great insight on how to manage everything. After all, there will be a new day and I sincerely hope a day to turn a new leaf in my life. I always knew i just cannot rely on anyone be it my parents or friends and I know I have to face it all my own. SO A VERY BIG THANKYOU FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE. ALL THIS IS MIRACULOUS AND HELPFUL!

  15. Thankyou for a well written article. So many useful tips and ideas. You should do presentations for teens and adults – everyone can learn a great deal for your insights.

  16. So true… Even I am in the path of changing myself. It looks so difficult but I want to do it for myself.
    Moral help definitely matters

  17. Very nice article. Read it for the 3rd time now and it helps each time… I hope someday i’ll be able to live with myself and be at peace! Maybe with time, it’ll happen. I wish it for everyone in my situation.

  18. This is probably one of the best self help articles I have ever read. Thank you. I am going to read it every day and get these messages to stick!

  19. Thank you! great article,and very very relevant to my personal situation. its the most helpful piece of writing regarding emotional dependency,an issue I have been struggling with all my adult life so far,ive ever come across.it has given me lots of hope!

  20. Thank you so much for writing this article. I just realized this not so long ago, but I am suffering from this persistent problem for quite a few years now and it’s really breaking me up lately. It stops me from being the happy, positive and optimistic person I am in my core. I realized it’s really unhealthy and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this magnificent article. It is full of hope, encouragement and contains simple yet really effective tips. After the moment I have finished it yesterday i felt different. Since then I felt better, this awful feeling was suddenly not so present anymore. This article has affected me a lot and helps me already. To make it work even more I’m going to print all the separate statements and hang them on my wall in my bedroom. This way I will be reminded of the simple ways that lead to recovery of this problem every single day and I think it will help a lot. Thanx again for writing this article. And to everyone who has read this too and is trying to overcome this problem as well: I wish you all of the happiness and luck in the world. You are not alone. It will get better.

  21. This article is amazing. I woke up with a pang of deep anxiety like I do most mornings since finding myself without my beautiful and loving friend who has offered me so much support over the last 5 months. This morning I reached to my phone and found this article. I’m now feeling calm and more in control of my emotions. I will read it again and make notes. For anyone interested; I am 27 and feeling incredibly lost. I am struggling to know what I want to do with my life after losing and pushing away everything I once had. This includes a great friend and musical partner I’ve know since college, first ever girlfriend of 3 years and recently this other girl who I got to know when I has very vulnerable and quickly became attached too. She has now distanced herself from me because I became too negative and unproductive and I’ve been draining her. She now has a new job opportunity and is making radical and positive changes in her life and has relied less on me and more on her longer term friends. I’m also having to address a marijuana (skunk) addiction – a drug I’ve used to mask my own emptiness and stagnant my unfulfilling life. I’ve lost my drive, direction, passion, sense of humour and realise I’m more miserable and depressed than ever before. I met this girl when I isolated myself away from my family and felt so lucky to have found her. We had many adventures together and talked lots about the fun we would have in the summer (lots of festivals and some travelling). She was very taken with me, was very supportive and made me feel alive again telling me I was special. We had an intense and amazing time together but I rapidly blew it by not getting on with my own life enough and depending on her to make me happy. She started to realise I wasn’t getting the fundamental things together in my life that we both agreed I needed – friends and a job (I quit mine soon before meeting her because it was causing me depression). She became my mentor more and more and I was draining her. I was offering her less and less. It’s heart breaking and I’ve never felt so lonely and disappointed in myself. I became heavily attached to this person and now I don’t have her. Wow never again will I rely so much on one person or thing again. Lesson truly learnt and now I now strive to rebuild my life more realistically.

    • My husband and I just separated on May 2, 2015. We have been married for 14 years. We were fighting/arguing a lot. I talked to a friend and was asked to write him a thank you letter and I did. From there I started thinking of the things that drive people away from me when I found this blog. Ever since it has opened my eyes a lot. It sure did help my husband and I both when I wrote him a 3 page thank you note. Then I found things on here to boost my self esteem as well. It shocked him cause I too am negative most of the time. We both thought the other person was controlling when in hindsight neither of us knew how to communicate at times without it sounding negative. I hope this helps you in your journey as well.

    • Dear me, reminds me of myself relying on my husband for 12 years of my life. I was a happy, cheerful girl and we shared few wonderful years together. I don’t know what got me on to depending so much on to him. But looking back I am ashamed of myself, of the agony and stress I caused him through my emotional dependency on him. I can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful article, it has surely changed my perspective on life.

  22. It jus occurred to me that most times i give my all with the expectation that i will have the same or more back,that’s being over optimistic.its not important any more,from now on its me myself and I.THIS IS A GOOD Blog i had withdrawn from my social life but now i have a reason to enjoy every bit of it,
    Thanks

  23. This surely helps me alot as i am struggling now… I just ended a friendship because I’m being too dependent on him and it’s not helping me to grow as an individual. I developed anxiety/depression for being emotionally attached. Thank you with a grateful heart because this is what i need at this moment… Your words are what i needed to hear to overcome this.. More power to you and God bless!

  24. This was extremely helpful and has given me so much to work with. I took a long time reading just so I could soak up the full insight. I have struggled with emotional dependency for so long even though I’m very independent in every other way. It can become sort of a shame inducing secret how much I long for certain people to fill parts of me and take up a lot of time and energy. I feel like I finally have some concrete steps to help myself out of it.

  25. This has been so good for me this morning. I have recently walked away from a 10yr relationship since i realised that i had erased most of my identity and uniqueness and replaced it with neediness and dependency. I long to crawl back to my formal safety blanket but i know i must weather the storm. This article means so much to me in this time, that i am not alone in this behaviour. I left to save myself and also her, since it will always end in tears if you rely on someone else for your happiness. Blessings and strength to all on this board x

  26. This is an absolutely amazing article. A lot of what I’ve read here is really painful stuff to read because it taps into some very deep insecurities that I’ve never had the courage to tell myself, but I feel that recognizing those insecurities for what they are is the way forward for bettering myself in the long term. Experiencing this very pain is actually surprisingly liberating because it provides me some catharsis. I believe that pretty much anybody who comes across this article will discover something invaluable about themselves.

    Thank you for writing and sharing it, whoever you may be.

  27. I’m so glad I read this,, it helped me so much with all that’s been going on with me. I knew that I had become needy, but this really summed me up… a real eye opener….. this just changed my view…..

  28. Thank you for spending the time and effort to write this. I have reach a similar conclusion to my emotional and mental state right now. It was nice to see an article that clearly breaks down the various issues and cycles that the mental state goes through and help warn yet reaffirm on certain traits and characteristic.

    I am glad I took the time to read.

  29. Thank you. It was as though this was written just for me. So insightful. I will need to print this and read it over and over and over …

    So many beautiful golden nuggets, I will need to take my time to absorb them all.

    🙂

  30. Thank you for sharing this article. I have been suffering major depression and anxiety which is mostly caused by my dependancy on one person and my views on outcomes. I really feel this could be the turning point of making my own happiness. I will be reading this many more times. Much appreciated 🙂

  31. I don’t normally leave comments on things like this but your article is so accurate and has been an incredibly helpful and useful read, so I just wanted to say, thank you.

  32. This article has me in tears at just how much it hit home and how timely it is that your words of truth and wisdom have come into my life. As someone with deeply entrenched emotional dependency and abandonment issues, recently experiencing an unexpected rejection by my long-time significant other has felt completely unmanageable and the pain intolerable. I’ve struggled my whole life with dependency, never having had any tools or coping skills to see me out and to a better life – nor even realizing it was possible. Stumbling upon this article has given me the hope to go on and may well have changed the course of my life. Thank you for giving me and so many others the keys to be able to finally experience freedom!

  33. Truly an awesome article. Thank for making me so delightful. Life is all about happiness so why one should waste on these silly and unworthy things? CHEERZzzzzzz

  34. Wow, I’ve never found anything as useful / relevant to me as this on the internet. I’m putting as much of this as I can into practice. Thank you!

  35. A wonderful educating and helpful article I will recommend to people who really struggle with own emotional challenges. Thank you so much to put out this kind of information to the public.

  36. Very good article,i felt in love 7 months ago with someone and came emotionally dependant…we broke up and even after 3 months im still trying to go through this..but i deducted through this article that im going through this slowly but surely….those small quotations will certainly helps me for my next relationship…thank you by the way for the article….

  37. How I wish I ran into this article a few days ago. There is no point in self-pity now. This is the most powerful article I have read.

    Before reading this, I had no idea that I was co-dependent. 100% of what is written here, describes my behaviour. It’s really incredible how you have organized and put into words in a very logical and eloquent manner what we dependent people go through.

    I am printing this and carrying this every where with me. In a sort of way, it will become a Bible to me. It will help me to be reminded of the options I have.

    My most sincere appreciation for this article.

  38. This article is incredible! This is the most useful, helpful info that I have ever come across. It feels as if it was tailor made for my very circumstances.It has opened my eyes fully! Thank you so very much!!!!!
    I can see happiness & contentment heading my way.
    I am so grateful!

  39. Found answer to each and every question. It was as if someone was listening to me and answering accordingly. Every line, every thought is just amazing. I have decided to read this article every morning to lead an actual positive life “)

  40. So the key to happiness is video games and jerking off, thhus tending to my own needs.

    By that logic, I should be one happy harmit. :/

  41. Thank you! By reading this article, I feel like I really can change to be more positive and happier.. Right before reading this, I was so dump to think that I couldn’t get rid of my dependency at all.. Thank you so much for your wonderful words.. 🙂

  42. Absolutely wonderful article. Extremely useful. I liked the way it managed to keep the person seeking help interested throughout.
    Well paced out and I hope to get this kicking in right away! Thank you so much! Please keep sharing! You are helping loads of people stuck in this cruel world out there! 🙂 Kudos!

  43. What a fantastic, touching, article. Touching because it was beautifully put. Very helpful. Definitely be working on the recommendations and hoping for a better and happier and free-er me 🙂 Thank you so much.

  44. This article is so powerful, thank you so much for doing so much research in trying to help people with this condition. Amazing article.

  45. A lot of wisdom is to be found in this article, thank you very much. I printed it out so that eventually I will reread it just in case when I start to lose perspective again.

  46. Amazing article! I will read it over and over again. It is confronting to see so much of me in there. The irony is that I would love to find a group, or special person to help as I try to become less emotionally dependent. I guess that just shows how much I need this and I MUST do this alone. Thankyou.

  47. Thank you so much for this article. It has really changed my perspective and I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time.

  48. This was truly a helpful article. I suspected that I was an emotionally dependent person a little while back and my neediness always annoyed and disgusted me. I happened to stumble across this page yesterday and the information here brought tears to my eyes. This is the most practical and informative bit of advice that I’ve found on this topic and I could feel a drastic change when I finished reading it. There are so many incredibly simple but really effective steps I can take to help myself and get over these negative feelings. Thanks a bunch for the help and the fact that your own experiences are included instead of something some psychologist who’s never been through this makes a world of a difference. I can’t express how grateful I am that you posted this. It’s really been a major source of encouragement to me. I’ve bookmarked it and I’m going to get it printed asap. Thanks again.

  49. This is the best article I have ever read, (in relation to the topic), hands down! Thank you so much. It has already served as a benefit in my life. God bless.

  50. Thank you for this. I so needed it. I’m in this situation where I rely on others too much. I seem needy and desperate and feel like I can’t survive without my friends or whoever is in my life. I used to be okay on my own but after a few life events that turned sour i lost my self confidence down the road and started to look to others for happiness because I felt a void within me that hurt too much to examine or just fix. Your article gives me hope that I can turn things around for the better.

  51. ‘Learnt to substitute what you start depending on’. This is great pragmatic advice. Often times, I feel I need person X for various things and not having them there any more is stressful. But finding lots of different people to meet various needs is something I’d never considered due to my ‘all or nothing’ thinking traps.

    That dependency feels more manageable now.

    This article is amazing.

  52. I will print this article. I am trying to recover from a relationship break up with someone who took over my life, thought for me and told me what I needed. I went from being a confident successful single parent to an emotionally dependant child. I can’t make decisions or look after myself. He broke me down and emotional dependency is now tearing me apart as he is no longer there for me. I humiliated myself begging him to come back as I could not function without him. Now I need to find a way to survive this debilitating dependency for one person to provide all.

    • I feel how u feel I been suffering a badbreak up from my boyfriend but reading this article how’s open my eyes and got me thinking. like what he did for m I ca do for myself and he don’t owe me any thing I owe my self some self respect.

  53. It’s a very helpful article, I can’t say I will change in one day but I will try my best to overcome this emotional dependence.

  54. Incredibly insightful piece! Came across this while trying to seek affirmation that my friend (or rather, former friend) was indeed exhibiting extremely needy tendencies. She dumped me as a best friend because I allegedly treated her as if she had no value during our recent vacation together. The instances she angrily brought up (e.g. selfishly checking myself in for our flight on my phone, rather than “sticking with our team plan of doing it together” at the airport kiosks, or selfishly and callously not informing her I was going to order a $10 cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, preventing us from “sharing something special between us”) were laughable. Moreover, she accused me of trying to wash away my treatment of her by sending her a check, which was actually reimbursement for charges she paid for during our trip. Reading this article has made me accept that she seeks and bases her own self-value in others and their actions, misinterprets the motivations behind people’s actions in order to frame herself as a victim, and that I shouldn’t feel responsible for her own happiness and self-esteem. And while I can understand her lashing out at me is a response to her own neediness, I also know that it is unwarranted.

    I’ve also recognized sone needy patterns in myself thanks to this piece and love the positive ways the author suggests to help break them and to look internally for happiness.

  55. Thank you for sharing this article. It brought deeper understanding in my life that I had been searching for the past few months. The words expressed were clear, concise and useful. Wish you a wonderful day!

    ~ A future psychiatrist

  56. Superb article. I have been struggling for a month to forget someone who rejected me suddenly. This article will help me to become myself again. Thanks again

  57. Hello, I’ve bookmarked this page and God knows, this is much needed for me to hear. I can resonate with every word written!

    Honestly speaking, this is the best article I’ve read in such a long time.

    Thank you so much for writing this and blessed be.

  58. Wow. This article is absolutely amazing and speaks to me on so many different levels. Thank you so much for writing.

  59. This is one of the most helpful article I’ve ever came across. I’ve never commented on an online article before. This is my first one because I want to let you know that you’ve literally pulled me out of hell. Thank you!

  60. This article is so great. It has really given me alot of info and tools to help someone who is emotionally dependant (even for myself).

    I am also looking for some help. How do I tell someone in a positive way that they are emotionally dependant on someone in an inoffensive way? And in a way that will limit their possible denial or rejection for help? What are the things I should avoid saying to them? I can see that a female friend of mine is exetrmely emotionally dependant on a man who is really not right for her. Any kind of pointers would be great.

  61. Thank you so much for this article! It’s a life saver. I have been getting depressed to the point of feeling suicidal, and I’ve been in great need for some kind of help or advice. I really need to live by all of this and plan on reading this over and over, in hopes that I can find happiness within myself, instead of relying on a significant other (which is what I’ve been doing lately). Stellar!

  62. This is a life changing post. I almost felt like I was listening to my mother giving me great advice. Thank you.

  63. Very well narrated and I can be convinced after a long time. This is very precious article when you feel sorrow and hopelessness about a person or a situation. Very interesting article.

  64. Thanks a lot for this article. For a few months now I was just torturing myself and being needy without recognizing it. This article made me realize where I was going wrong and also made me feel a lot better.

  65. Ah. We think we know. But we don’t. At least it gets easier to type up the key words when we’re struggling. Thank you for the reminders.

  66. This article is one of the best articles I have ever read. I am emotionally very weak and depend on others too much for my happiness. But every word of this article has had have a magical effect on my mind and made me realise that I have forgotten to love myself. Hopefully, I can implement every word of the article in my life slowly.

  67. Absolutely stellar, detailed article! I’ve been struggling with this issue for months now and this is a great stepping stone for me to start resolving it

  68. This was the greatest article I have ever read. It hit home for me, and I feel like I will remember these points forever. I have bookmarked it for when I am feeling as though I am being too dependent, and I have shared it with my friends as well.

  69. First time I’ve ever commented on anything online! Thank you so much for this article. It could possibly change my life.

  70. This is a fantastic article. I found myself relying on my friends a lot recently after a miscarriage and have realised that I’m becoming too dependent on them. It’s strange how quick I got used to talking to them all the time and now have overwhelming feeling that I want to talk to them all the time. I hope I haven’t ruined my wonderful friendships and they realise that it’s not me at the moment. I think there should be more support groups online for people to talk and share experiences. It may help people to talk to others who feel the same.

  71. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing with us. This article really helped me in terms of coping with emotional dependency and how to reset my own frame of mind. Thank you again!

  72. I’ve come to realized recently that my mood changes frequently and whether I feel happy or unhappy every day is largely depending on what my husband does or doesn’t do, or what he says or doesn’t say. For the last few weeks, I have been feeling very unhappy thinking all kinds of things he doesn’t do for me or family. While I still think that he should be more attentive and take responsibilities of some of things, I started thinking that I might have an issue and also need to improve myself. I just didn’t know how to think of it. English is not my native language so I did not even know the word “emotional dependent”, but now I know that is exactly how I am. I feel very lucky to have discovered this very insightful thorough article. This is exactly what I needed now. I bookmarked it, will share with my friends and read over and over again until I really get it. Thank you so much for giving me a light!!

  73. Great article. I’m glad that I realized the need to read it. I was becoming so much dependent on my wife for small pleasures and happiness. This article made me realize that I can grow out of it.

  74. This article is a life saver. Thank you so much for putting this online! I feel so much better after having read this (a couple of times).

  75. Was anybody SCARED reading this? Overwhelmed? Confused about how to keep a healthy balance betweening wanting/ loving and needy/selfish?

    Very insightful. I think I’ll be reading this daily to help myself and make sense of everything thT seems so wrong and how desperately I want or pretend I’m not needy and all my happiness doesn’t depend on the one person I’m married to!

  76. I echo everything people have said…reading this a couple of times was way more useful than 6 months with a counsellor at £65 an hour….I’m sure the book will be a bestseller

  77. I read this article at a time when I was an emotional mess regarding my marriage. Then I read this and everything just fell into place. While reading it I transitioned from an insecure, needy and hurting person to an emotionally calm confident individual. One of the best articles I have ever read.

  78. Thank you for this life changing article. My husband told me I was manipulative and I could not understand what he meant until reading this article. I can now see clearly how my actions can come across as controlling when I make him responsible for my happiness, and how impossible that situation is for him. I am ashamed and embarrassed for what I expected of him during certain moments when he was unable to support me exactly how I wanted. I feel optimistic about the future since I found this great tool. I hope this can save our marriage. Thank you

  79. This site was very thoughtfully conceived. I fall into misanthropy, disappointment, and pessimism about others on a regular basis. I automatically hold myself to an extremely high standard in an attempt to not be as flawed as I view my human counterparts, and then hypocritically feel a desperate need to be appreciated for being ‘better’. I depend on everyone and everything falling into an impossible setting to feel content. However I’m aware that dramatic self perfectionism and brutally harsh critiques of others is not making me happy; I’ve turned into an antisocial loner who gets anxiety from all encounters, and I’m depressed each time I find myself make a behavioral mistake. On the few days that all goes well, I dread future failures and then avoid fun things I’d rather be doing just to entertain these negative ideas. Even receiving the compliments I strive for burdens me since as soon as I hear them, I feel like I must uphold whatever warranted the comment, regardless if it’s appropriate or feasible. Though everything you wrote is helpful for reworking one’s mental framework, I like that you highlighted the key points of each section in enlightening phrases so I can go back and read those as quick, regular reminders. I’ll be using them for my meditation and efforts to settle my mind. Thank you for writing and sharing. Best of luck in your future.

  80. What an inspiration …knowledge of life, reality checks… I really got revelation about my life, getting to know the behavior of individuals… I’m so happy… and I will never in my life rely on people to make me happy… or for them to be perfect

  81. Thank you for sharing such a well-written, honest, and intelligent article. It has showed me a lot of things I didn’t know about myself, and has encouraged me to seek help. It has also helped me to confront what I have been ignoring for so long because I thought there was no other way. Thanks so much, and never stop writing! You are amazing!

  82. THE BEST ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ. I JUST LOVE IT WHEN YOU STATE “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.” I HAVE BEEN AN EMOTIONALLY DEPENDENT WOMAN MOST OF MY LIFE. NOW I WILL START TO “FAKE EMOTIONAL INDEPENDENCE UNTIL I HAVE IT”. I AM HALF THE WAY THERE. THANKS FOR THIS PRICELESS ARTICLE.

  83. I was crying while reading the article. I am going through hard time as being rejected by whom I love, and your article gives me a sense that I still have hope to live a better life with a stronger and independent personality.

    Thank you so much

  84. I bookmarked this article about a year ago and still continue to come back and read it whenever I need a reality check. This is an amazing article that has helped me through some rough times with practical advice. You have a real gift for simply putting into words that which is thought but is difficult to express, and making sense of the irrationalities of the mind. It certainly has resonated with a lot of people, too. Thank you so much for providing a light in the darkness.

  85. Thank you for this! It really made me feel better and opened my eyes in many senses, like things look much easier after you read and think about it. You really gave me hope and I felt so reflected.

    I’d like to say that it’s a great help and hope for so many people like me, in a positive and simple way which is what I really need right now. I promised to myself to take care of me some months ago, after a hectic life, things are changing slowly but in a steady way….and I get back to this positive messages from time to time to remember that life is not that complicated. Somehow things make sense when you read this.

    I wish you all the best and I’d like to tell you that everything can change if we want and have hope.

    Love,

    Gina

  86. What got me here was this crushing feeling that hit me (for the umpteenth time) when I stuffed up and started acting too needy.
    First link that Google directed me to, and wow did you hit all the aspects. I’m acutely aware of this codependency. And this help put so many aspects of that relationship into perspective.
    Really, such an eye opener. Struggling with anxiety, depression and this is madness enough – with this info I can help myself get to a better place.
    Thank you.

  87. A wonderful read. No person can give you happiness except yourself. Be happy as a single, and you’ll be happy when you’re married too. Thanks for this article!

  88. Thank you for the article. This helps to detach from obsessive ideas that made me act irrational and obsessive. My obsession with falling in love and being rich made me miserable and lonely. I’m a loner but I am happy knowing that I don’t need anything or anyone to love me to be happy. I’m happy accepting that I am a follower I just choose who I follow.

  89. All true, but for the person in the middle of the journey this writing would just overwhelm. The momentum created in years of habitually looking to others for well being is just too great. It would be nice if one could just immediately stop and do all of these things, but realistically it’s just not possible. All a person has to do is begin thinking a new thought, begin a new story and then right away momentum will take hold on the new thought. So, the next time a “needy” thought comes into your mind, or the next time you begin thinking only of him/her wondering where they are or why they did or said what they said replace that thought with a self sustaining thought. Something like: “I look forward to being self sufficient” or “I’m so glad I really don’t need another person to be happy” or come up with a thought of your own. We create change first in our mind, one thought to the next. And a little hint: when you’ve done the work and when you’ve taken responsibility for your own happiness and it’s become such a regular practice that’s its now who you are? You’ll have to beat people away, complaining that all of sudden you don’t have enough “me time.” Just remember keep the focus on what you want, not what you don’t want and to always K.I.S.S. (Keep it sim ple stupid). Enjoy!

  90. John – all I can say is Thank You – this article is EVERYTHING – it hits sooo many target points with me and makes so much sense on so many levels – I cannot believe that you are not a therapist or counselor – the insight that you have is amazing! You have a new follower – I am coming to terms with some recent issues due to present and past emotional trauma/abuse and searching out information for self-help and I am finding the information out here to be plentiful and very helpful; however, this article is so on-point and I truly appreciate the time, thought and energy invested in writing it because it is helping me tremendously.

  91. I recently have come to terms that I was obsessed with my relationship and that my emotions or mood was based solely on if he wanted me or showed that he wanted me. It started causing tension and stress so naturally I turned to the Internet to try and fix it. This post has kick started my walk back to independence. It took me out of my head, gave me examples, and explained outcomes and how other relationships are. It all makes so much sense.
    Genius!
    Thank you so much!

  92. I’ve been feeling anxious and cranky lately, a little like a brat. But coming across this article has made me want to start journaling a way to a better self-calm. Thanks for the inspiration!

  93. This helped me so much 2 years ago I got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder so getting attached to people is normal to me but it hurts me everyday cause at any given moment they can leave and never talk to me again and the thought of that kills me and terrifies me. Reading this helped me so much! Thank you so much for this

  94. thank you so much !! i feel much better now ! i can stop overthinking now i have everything in front of my eyes ! thanks a lot

  95. Like someone said above, I have borderline personality disorder and not getting attached to your couple who literally feels like your whole world is difficult, but this article is really eye opening and I vow to practice this things and change this ugly needy feeling once and for all.Thank you for this!

    • Bianca I hope you don´t mind.. I have a question.
      I´m wondering if this article could be something I can send my boyfriend, who I´m afraid is also struggling with borderline personality disorder..
      I find it really dificult to know how I can support him and let him know I care for him and want the best for him, when he pushes me away in his episodes (kind of like described in this article, as you recognised yourself).. I love him deeply though. I don´t want to upset him but I truly wish him the emotional independency or balance he (and I) deserve(s). Could it help to tell him this article helped me personally?
      Would you please tell me what you think?

  96. Wow, what a great article. So many useful tips and suggestions. I know for myself, I tend to swing between extremes: not allowing myself to depend on anyone ever, not letting anyone in, not asking for help, being so rigid in my independence that I can be cold and callous… OR asking for help for everything, not trusting myself, always relying on someone else’s opinions, seeking approval and validation from others and being too clingy.

    I find both states incredibly lonely, painful, difficult to sustain and generally unhealthy. But being too independent and not “interdependent” is actually more acceptable than being needy or clingy. I have read through almost all the comments on this article and it breaks my heart to hear so many of us feeling ashamed and embarrassed of needing others. Yes, the degree of which has harmed us…but isn’t it okay to sometimes just want to be held when we cry, or want to be told it’s going to be okay by someone else? Isn’t it okay to sometimes want that support? Where’s the line between healthy desire for intimacy and unhealthy need for support?

    And if “love” especially romantic love is not about needing the other person, I guess I’m confused. What is there then? How do you know you are truly “in love” with someone? Or is there no such thing now? Perhaps being “in love” is misunderstood for being emotionally dependent. God…I feel like I’m starting from scratch when I can’t even answer, what is love?

  97. Thank you for putting this up here for us all to read. While reading I couldn´t even believe how well it is written, for me to understand how these things apply to myself but not be scared away by this truth. So so so positive. So so so motivating and calming.
    I know I´m not there yet and this article made me realise even more how much work I have left to do, but it helps. I´m sure it helps and I hope it helps my dearest loved one too.

  98. This was so healing for me. Cornered my core issue, surrounded it, and fired at from every angle at once lol! Just what I needed 🙂 Thank you thank you thank you

  99. This is such a tasteful, enlightened and eloquent article. I am very surprised to find such content so easily.
    I thank you for this moment of introspection.

  100. Hi! I’m 24 and I realized that I’m emotionally dependent on my friend when she went for an international exchange program and started changing. She never used to be an outgoing person and suddenly she found a boyfriend there and a bunch of new friends. Somehow I couldn’t stop thinking that I didn’t want to accept the changes in her, although I was happy for her at the same time. I felt jealous (gross and terrible)! When the amount of messages she sent me decreased, I started pressing on her thinking that she is forgetting me there with her new company. I forced her to perceive me as a close friend, to take responsibility for me, to give me promises we will be friends back again. And when she told me she was under my pressure I thought that she is a bad friend. My emotional condition fully depended on what was happening in her life and what she was telling me. I was exhausted and wore out. I couldn’t control my feelings anymore.
    But then my eyes opened and I realized that I got lost in some kind of a fog where all the ideas of “true friendship” were just products of my selfishness and emotional dependence. And it was your article that helped me to face the truth!!! Long before, I had started thinking that there had been something wrong with our friendship, but I could finally formulate what was the problem only when I read your article. I told my friend the truth, and she was kind enough to understand me. Unfortunately, we now do not keep in touch, and that was my decision that she accepted. She got tired of this kind of relationships, too. But I really have to change for the best. Maybe later we will be able to start a new healthy chapter in our relationships. Now I have to focus on growing up as an independent and whole person. It’s not that I’m dumping her but it’s a really good pause for both of us.
    Now, it’s been four days since I started working hard on myself, and I read your article every day. I feel so much better each morning. I’m still not stable, though it gets better, anyway. I don’t blame myself for making mistakes, I accept who I was but I don’t want to continue hurting myself or anyone anymore. I try to see other people, to be more communicative and open-minded. And I see a beautiful long-life way in front of me as the fog dissipates. I know that there is nothing better for me now than being myself, thinking about myself and not letting other people emotions and life changes influence my mood. It’s so good to anticipate the freedom and independence that grow in me.
    Thank you for giving us a helping hand!

    PS For those emotionally dependent people: If you read this comment, I hope it’ll give you strength. You are not alone who got trapped into emotional dependency loop. And you have got enough stamina and strength to get out of there if you figure out what was wrong with you. Everyone can be happy if she or he wants to. Keep going on! I’m with you!

  101. As a professional therapist who is working on a daily basis with patients who are overly dependant I cannot praise this wonderful article enough.

    It is packed with information on not only how to recognise the signs of being co-dependant (and it is amazing how many people are not immediately aware that they are developing this tendency) but also offers positive and achievable methods to help encourage self parenting, self development and self actualisation.

    It is an unnatural and an unhappy state of being for someone to be controlled as a result of their own neediness by some other person. Nobody can parent us, love us, understand us, nurture us and fulfill our needs as effectively as we can do this for ourselves. To look without for this almost certainly always leads to disaster and disappointment. This article can go a long way towards freeing people from the unhappy cycle of unending emotional frailty which comes in the wake of being overly dependent on others.

  102. Never have I read and understand this complex matter so well. Thank you so so much! It’s a great guide to know where and to start changing.

  103. Wow! This article is an eye-opener and very helpful, insightful to a lot of people especially to someone like me, who doesn’t know what’s wrong with my self. I cannot just read it without even saying THANK YOU to the author of this great article.

    This is not only well written, this surely captures the mind and heart of the reader. A really great read! Full of insights and encouragement to better one’s self each day. Battling or struggling with deep seated emotions such as depression, frustrations, disappointments, anxiety and other negative emotions that weigh a person down really sucks the life out of him/her. Reading this article makes you realize a lot of things and gives you that inspiration and fresh perspective to carry on and live a life again – a life that is not dependent on another person, things or ideas. You become a person who regains control of your self and of your life.

    This article is a “eureka” moment for me. I have been battling with depression with several suicide attempts and sleep disorder for almost 2 years now. I have this lingering question in my mind, “what is wrong with me?” – to the point of thinking that I may be snapping out of sanity. I have convinced my husband that once we had the means, we will consult a specialist/psychiatrist to diagnose me and be treated. I know something is wrong with me. I know that I am not “my self” but I just couldn’t let my self get out of that situation. It’s as if I stepped on a quicksand that the more I struggle, the more I sink deeper. We have already consulted a therapist/psychologist to talk me out of what I’m going through but I wasn’t able to proceed with the therapy because it’s too expensive for us and continuing with it makes me more depressed and frustrated about myself and our situation. Until one day, my husband and I decided not to talk about my condition and simply focus my attention to other things. He thinks that I am just overthinking a lot of things especially our unfortunate situation, my being unemployed for the longest time and a lot of misfortunes popping in and out since we got together. But because of this bothering thought inside of me that “something is really wrong with me”, I just couldn’t stop finding for the answer.

    My husband is very patient and understanding of me. He never wanted me to think bad of my self and he even told me that he may be the jinx in my life that’s why I’m experiencing this catastrophe. I have read a lot of articles about stress, depression, sleep disorders and even mental disorders such as bipolar syndrome and schizophrenia (having relatives with this condition) and have let myself believe that this is what I have and needed medical attention. I experience mood swings, sleepless nights, suicidal attempts and other things that fits the criteria of having bipolar or other disorders that I researched. The more I think of it, the more I become depressed and the more I become “needy”. I become emotionally dependent on the idea that I needed something that I do not have right now in my life and I wanted it now. And I am becoming clingy and dependent on my husband for almost everything including my happiness and sanity.

    I used to enjoy a lot of things before I came to know my husband. I enjoy attending church and church related activities and very happy and contented serving the Lord. I used to enjoy going out with my friends and making new friends. I used to do a lot of activities and doing them simply makes me happy and alive. I used to be independent and in control of my thoughts and emotions. And I am happy with myself being that. And according to husband these are some of the qualities that attracted him to me but when we got married, it all changed. I became depressed, melancholy and I have lost confidence in myself. I neglected my duties in my church ministry and my attendance in church and church activities declined simply because my husband cannot and sometimes will not go with me. I do not enjoy the things I used to enjoy simply because my husband couldn’t be with me. I am so lonely whenever he goes to work and became jealous of his colleagues because they spend more time with him than I do. I do and say things, crazy and nasty craps, just to get his attention. Just for him to choose to stay with me. I am so afraid to be away from him. I do not want him to go out if I’m not with him. I will choose to stay at home than to go out without him. If I am away from him, I start to get moody and crazy. I have this feeling inside of me that I need to be connected to him in any way, whether through chat or call or any other means. There are days that the “need” to be with him is so strong that I do things that will make him come to me. My world literally revolved around him.

    Indeed, thank God for this article and thank you to the author for this article. I have realized a lot of things and has given me steps I can follow to enjoy and live my life to the fullest with my husband beside me. Not confusing my need of him for my love for him. I love him so much that I need to free him and myself of the neediness. I know my neediness will suck the life and the love out of both of us and our marriage. And for sometime, it has taken my sanity.

    Ultimately, this quote from CS Lewis has left a mark on me and imparted a lot things on me and what I’m going through:

    “Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose” – CS Lewis

    P.S.
    So sorry for the long comment. This article just inspired me to write again. I am really grateful for this. I used to enjoy reading and writing…and thank God I enjoyed it again. I know that I am on my road of overcoming emotional dependency!

  104. fantastic article. I have been struggling with a lot of things lately and this really has put everything into perspective, I can’t wait to use this advice to grow as an individual and push forward to become a better version of myself. Thank you so much

  105. This article is fantastic. Just what I need right now. I’m emotionally needy and found an internet friend who makes me feel “on top of the world”, then when she doesn’t reply for a day or longer, I start thinking of all the reasons she wasn’t writing, and I start feeling depressed. I know very well that I am emotionally dependent on her for my happiness, but it’s hard to just turn off the feeling. Immediately in the fifth paragraph when I read “why can’t they just reply” I said, “That’s it! That’s exactly what I’m going through!” I think it’s so important that we don’t feel that we are pathetic for feeling this way. Obviously, there are very many people who feel that way. And being down on ourselves is not helpful. What’s encouraging is the message that this is not my (our) destiny. There’s a way out– a way to deal with it. I feel there’s a reason beyond myself that I found myself on this website. Thank you so much for giving me hope for the future.

  106. Wow!!!! This blog is filled with great idea’s and has given me the kick in the backside that I needed to stop being so dependent on my boyfriend. I was only chatting with him this morning about how lost I feel and bored with life and what was I going to do when he was away for the day this weekend. After reading this and realising how pathetic I must of sounded has certainly changed a few things immediately. I’ve booked myself a movie ticket, because I would like to watch the new Star Wars movie, and he is not a fan, so I’m going to see it on the big screen, because that is what I want and it will make me happy. I’m so not sitting around anymore waiting on him to make me happy, I have a life to live and he does make me happy but he can’t 24/7 so the rule is 80% my own happiness sourced from various area’s and 20% for us to share together. Can not believe this blog just felt so real, honest and yet so simple and logical. Thank You.

  107. I will read this article over and over until I get better and build myself to what I desired to be and not what I wanted to be seen to be.This is truly inspiring and eye opening.

  108. I have been struggling with and ashamed of my emotional dependency and obsession issues since forever. I still feel my life is worthless unless I have a man to love me!! And every few years I go through the same cycle of obsession over a new emotionally unavailable man.Though this write-up gave me the other person’s perspective, the feeling is too deep seated to change. I have saved it on my desktop to read it over and over and reinforce what’s written. I hope to change!!

    • Vandana,
      You can change. It takes a lot of work and you have to go through a lot of pain in the process. Read everything you can about codependency and learn how to love yourself. I have been codependent for 30yrs and I am just now starting to see the light of independence. It is a wonderful feeling but it is a scary path. My last wife I would describe as a Narcissistic Borderline and it was a nightmare of a ride. I was finally the one to file for divorce after 10yrs of living hell. She almost destroyed me. I feel sorry for her as she would not go get help. You can only save yourself.

  109. This article has been the single most important piece of information that I have ever read. Your writing has given me insight that I would never be able to achieve on my own. I am truly grateful. Thank you : )

  110. This is an excellent and well-written article that has some very useful advice. I just want to point out that being emotionally attached doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It means you’re a human being who is willing to be vulnerable and open yourself to other people and to deep experiences in order to live fully and authentically. Too often we can find that our emotions sweep us away. That doesn’t mean that our emotions are bad and that we need to find ways to shut them down and become less “dependent” on people and things. On the contrary, feeling uncomfortable or dependent means that we have found our growing edges and can move into deeper ways of relating to the world. Depending on people and having them depend on us means that we have responsibilities to one another and to each others’ happiness. This is one of the most beautiful and rewarding things about being alive.
    Be careful when you start trying to “overcome emotional dependency” that you aren’t actually shutting down and closing off possibilities for love, life and your own humanity.

    • This article does come across as being too black and white. If I told my husband I don’t need him and I’m entirely independent he’d be hurt. Likewise if I wasn’t dependent on my career or hobbies for some of my happiness I’d feel incredibly unfulfilled. Obviously this article is directed at those who truly struggle with defining the limits of dependency but I fear that some may read too literally into it. It is ok to expect a degree of emotional support from your close friends, it is unreasonable to expect it often or from complete strangers. Being able to distinguish between what is socially acceptable dependency and what is not is key.

  111. I used to be with this girl for some years. We were far but we promised to make it happen. Day by day we came closer and i started becoming so much dependant on her. It reached to the level that i couldn’t imagine life without her. I was scheduling everything based on her. I couldn’t tell her no and whatever she did i could forget. I don’t say she was bad but I simply didn’t see her flaws and maybe that we might not be fitting each other. 2 days ago she told me she doesn’t have hope and that she can’t wait anymore. I saw the hell in my life. I haven’t slept for two days and i barely eat. I’m still struggling with myself trying to get over her but it’s seems to be impossible. I feel better after reading this. I try to come back to my life but it’s too difficult cause I’ve put all my life into this relationship.

  112. After feeling there was something more wrong than just anxiety and depression , I looked up emotional dependency and found this . I am needy to my friends but one.in particular and reading this article has hit the nail on the head . I will be reading it regularly and hope that given time I will be able to cope with out being so dependant on friends as it pushes them.away .

  113. Incredible detailed and informative article! I’ve never seen an article containing so many ideas on how to overcome emotional dependency and not just writong about it. Thank you so much! I’m going to print this so I can reread it as often as needed. Who is the author? I could not find it.

  114. This was a good article. I liked that some of the things you wrote was good advice and loved that it was good advice to my many situations in dependency issues. It can seem overwhelming sometimes. And lonely path. But in the end on the other side of those thoughts. It will be okay. This was very helpful thank you.

  115. I came across with this article in a such tremendously crucial period… Most of the time we are in the middle or too close to the situation that we are unable to estimate it objectively, it was that very similar moment where I could “read my situation” as if my duplicate was telling me my realities by pointing out the precise recommendations that I am badly in need of.
    Thanks.

  116. Thank you, I believe it is just what I needed. I just wished I had read it two weeks ago. Good luck for your book.

  117. I’ve just gotten out of a very dependent relationship and I battle so much trying not to become dependent on my friends, therapist and my distractions. This has helped so much. I’m going to come back and read this again to remind myself about how to deal with avoiding my neediness

  118. God bless u abundantly for these useful pieces of advice.u don’t know how much u have impacted in my life with these. May the good Lord grant u more knowledge, Amen!!! Thanks a lot!

  119. This article is incredible. As I read it I saw myself in so much of what was written. I’ve printed it and saved it and will consult it when I am feeling emotionally dependent, which for me is pretty much all the time. This gives me a roadmap of a healthier place for me to be. Thank you!

  120. Just going through a divorce from a foreign lady that I sponsored 5 yrs prior, I have learned your message in one of the harder manners. TY

  121. I never knew i was emotionally dependent until I read it this piece. It helped me come to terms with my own internal struggles and relationships with others. PLEASE publish your book ASAP! 🙂

  122. Thank you
    This is a perfect picture of me…
    Being feeling so useless and miserable because bf started acting up and has refused to tell me what I did wrong
    This came just at the right time
    I refuse to be emotionally dependent
    Not anymore…. Thank you… This is so helpful

  123. Wow. Just wow. Amazing article. Read this in the morning. Made my day and it’s changed my outlook. Thanks a lot!

  124. Thanks. This article really help me at least feel better. I’m working on changing my life to be a happiness owner not a happiness consumer.

  125. The energy behind this article resonated with me in many ways. Reading this gave me so much clarity, thank you!

  126. This article has meant so much to me as I cope with the anxiety, stress, and fear of waiting for the results of my wife’s PET scan three days from now. She just finished 18 weekly chemo sessions for her second recurrence of Ovarian cancer. The first recurrence had been 25 years earlier. Her CAT scan last week was inconclusive, hence the need for this imminent PET scan and, maybe, more tests. We met during our Senior year in college more than 45 years ago…and have had an enjoyable, loving, and interesting life together (without children). This may sound funny, but at age 67 I feel that I should be handling these diificult times much better than I am. Oh, well life is what it is. Aloha from Kaaawa, Hawaii

  127. This article changed my life last year, as well as reading The Power of Now and ending a relationship where I was doing everything wrong…so I could change my outlook on life. Thank you.

  128. Damn, this hit the spot.
    It’s like you looked in my head, and wrote an article to fix all the mess.

    Well f*cking done.

  129. Great, great, great information! This info really deserves to be in a book. I’m thinking best seller. I keep coming back to reread the article to get more insight.

  130. On point.This is a very well written article, realistic and helpful. At 36 I’m still on the process of learning how to be emotionally independent. My past relationships has not been so great because I’m too needy or pretend that I don’t care at all. It’s hard for me to keep it balance and it is depressing at times. This really helps me, I have it saved on my screen. Thank you!

  131. This was incredible to read. Very empowering to say the least. I’m at a point in life where i’ve realised my marriage of 10 years and 5 children is over but i just dont know how to walk away on my own. The fear of being alone with 5 young children overwhelms me. I need to accept that i have no control over my childrens fate and therefore free myself of this internal torture over the years.

  132. Thank you so much for this article! I’m dealing with huge issues with co dependency and fear of abandonment since my childhood which I realized only recently, but your article gave me hope with your many tips how to overcome the fear and grow 🙂

  133. Thank you so much for the great article!! I realise that I have this unrealistic illusion of what friendships should be. And when my friends act in an opposite or different way, I get disappointed and upset. Now, I finally understand that everyone is good and bad at different things; and I should be appreciative of what are offered by them. Excited to start growing up and rebuild my understanding of what is friendship! Once again, thank you!! 😉

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