By Susan A. Resheq
When Emotional Dependency Becomes A Choice:
“If You Leave Me, I’ll Be Miserable”
For your own sake, and before it’s too late, please keep this fact in mind: Being emotionally dependent and needy is the worst approach to happiness. Here is why:
A: Because true happiness only comes from within and not from being emotionally dependent on others.
B: Through this approach, you will never know who you really are.
C: Being an emotionally needy person is annoying and can drive people away from you. Literally.
Let me share this story with you: Ahlam is a lovely woman in her fifties. She got married at a young age and was determined to completely dedicate her life to make others feel happy. She sacrificed her own goals after graduation for the sake of her husband and children. It was her choice to commit her life to her family, relatives and friends because she kept on convincing herself that her true happiness was at its finest when she was surrounded by her beloved ones. She has always put them first as she spared no chance to make them happy by meeting their expectations and fulfilling their needs. In the process, and throughout the years, Ahlam has realized that she has ignored the ambitious woman within. She said, “I have lost myself by allowing others to dictate my emotions, happiness and the definition of my life. I just feel so empty and emotionally dependent on others.”
Familiar story, isn’t it? Emotional dependency is when someone allows others to control their emotions and feelings, and count on them for happiness. It is about giving complete control to others over ones’ own feelings. This is also different from having a balanced relationship with others where interdependence exists, but slightly affects emotional state and does not control it.
Researches show that millions of women are depressed because they are dependent on relationships to feel happy. Of course, what you should be looking for is interdependence in relationships, where not only are you dependent on people, but you are also reliable and you can be there for them. Nevertheless, you don’t want to be there for other people at the expense of your own needs!
Unfortunately, when we depend on others for our sense of self, we never know who we really are. That’s why in the journey of self-discovery, being emotionally independent and resilient is a crucial part of being happy. Fortunately, by accepting ourselves, changing our thinking, and taking active actions to be true to who we really are, we can find inner strength to be emotionally independent.
From experts and from my own personal observations, there are effective ways to regain emotional independence. Perhaps your first step is to facilitate your own power to recognize your self-worth, improve your self-esteem by being positive, and realize what you really want and what makes YOU happy. It is wonderful to help others, but set limitations to choose to do what is best for you in any given situation. You must learn how to accept your OWN decisions and be responsible for them.
Sometimes we go through uncontrollable events in life. You may feel like falling apart, miserable, or so lonely. I truly advise you to believe in your willpower to control your emotions and reactions. This is the key to facing emotional challenges in life. Never let anyone determine your decisions, feelings, or your life path. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?
Don’t schedule your life around everyone else, or be emotionally dependent on one person or one group. Instead, have a variety of relationships to spread out your emotional needs and to identify what you really want. It is okay to compromise and recognize other people’s desires and wishes, but you must remember that your needs are important and must be taken care of to break free.
In Awaken The Giant Within, one of my favorite books, Tony Robbins believes that mastering your life is dependent on mastering your own emotions. You can change and control your feelings through paying attention to three important factors: your physiology, what you focus on, and your language. Robbins and other psychologists call it the “Emotional Triad.” I will summarize some thoughts on these three factors, but I highly recommend that you read the book for further inspiration.
Your physiology: Emotion is created by motion
Every emotion you feel is first felt through your body. For example, if you want to feel more confident, speak loudly, stand tall, breath fully, and be grounded. In the same way, if you want to feel depressed, look at the ground, breath slowly, frown, slump over, and speak quietly. The idea here is to use your body to biochemically enhance positive feelings.
What you focus on: Whatever you focus on, you feel
Simply, to feel happy, think of things that make you happy and ask yourself questions like, “What am I happy about in my life right now?” You can also recall happy moments in your life and smile! On the other hand, to feel depressed, think of everything that bothers you in your life! Or, remember a time when you felt extremely depressed.
I am sure you would be able to find a lot of things to sulk over and end up grumpy!
When you want to focus about something, please remember that what’s wrong is always available, and so is what’s right.
Your language: your messages are your choice
Through your language and words, you have the power to pattern how you feel. When you send yourself messages like, “I feel tired,” or “ I am not happy,” you will literally feel tired or unhappy. I guarantee you that such messages don’t put you in an empowering state.
Be positive through your language because your words have different emotional states associated to them. I strongly advise you to monitor your vocabulary, statements (to yourself and others), and metaphors to control your state.
The truth is, you can DECIDE on whatever emotion you want to feel! The way you handle and interpret each situation in your life and the meaning you link to it, dictates whether you feel happy, angry, or sad. Therefore, next time you find yourself emotionally dependent on someone, remind yourself that happiness is a choice. And so is anger, frustration, depression, or any other emotion.
About The Author:
Susan A. Resheq is a freelance writer with 15 years of experience in media. She has written for elite newspapers, such as Jordan Times and Saudi Gazette, on children’s rights, education, youth empowerment, and general social features. Susan currently works as a media and public relations consultant at ALWATAN Center— a non-profit organization that seeks to empower Palestinian people through conducting personal development programs, facilitating the development of social responsibility and building a civil society to create a democratic Palestinian state.
Susan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org