Emotional Dependency


September 29, 2012

As this will be my last article, I would like to talk about emotional dependency as I find it to be one of the reasons we end up getting many troubled children and adults in our appointments as psychotherapists.

The way children are brought up is fundamental to the development of safe, confident and independent adults emotionally. The way we are educated and prepared by our parents, teachers, grandparents and other kin continues to influence us throughout our lives.

Many adults were usually emotionally dependent as children and did not feel loved, cherished and important. They feel the need to depend on someone else's love, since they did not get it in their own early life.

There are parents who blame their children for various things, put them down constantly and do not respect their feelings. Children who are treated in this way feel they are not worthy of being cherished and loved. They eventually stop thinking about their own feelings because they are made to feel unimportant.

The fact is not that such parents do not love their children, but they tend to over-estimate what their children have done wrong and dismiss their victories and achievements as inconsequential. This makes the child feel like a failure.

Other parents are overprotective of their children. They protect children too much out of fear that the child might leave them and they will end up losing him. Thus they induce children to believe that they will be safe only under their wing.

Yet other parents become permissive. They satisfy all their child's needs as a way of compensating for their own frequent absence. They give the child everything he asks for and hand over material possessions without any limits.

When the child grows up, these parents do not even encourage him to work for his livelihood. In other words, they provide their offspring a world of fantasy that in reality does not exist.

Children who do not need to make much of an effort to do or get things done by themselves face difficulties being independent in adulthood. This is because all their needs were satisfied by their parents to start with.

How parents can help

Parents need to encourage their child to acquire autonomy and self-confidence. This can be achieved by showing love and trust in their actions. This way, we can help them grow into adults with adequate self-esteem and self-assurance.

Both a lack of demonstrated love and affection, and overprotection may make a child develop into a dependent adult. A child who doesn't feel loved can become insecure about other people's love.

He will grow with the belief that he cannot be loved by anyone in a future relationship that he may have. We should not over-protect our children so that they can be independent and secure by themselves.

Every child needs to feel valued and loved. This goes a long way in helping him believe in himself and in his ability to be emotionally strong. Emotionally independent people are complete and do not have to wait for others to complete them.

Everyone needs some form of emotional support and protection even after becoming an adult. Many people rely on this support as something that can save them in extreme situations. This is a kind of addiction that causes many to remain in destructive relationships and undergo a lot of suffering.