How to Overcome Emotional Dependency: 11 Keys

Emotional Dependency

You suffer from emotional codependency when your happiness rests on another person or couple, or if you are in a relationship that you need to feel good, but in reality only hurts your well-being. You may begin to see that this situation can be the cause of many problems and that is something that you have to solve in your life.

Because of the importance you have, I will explain how to overcome emotional dependence  and let go of emotional need,  develop your initiative and exploit your potential.

Overcome Emotional Dependence

Believe me, if you do and you take it as a real treatment, you will begin to live a much better, healthier and happier life.

The greatest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.- Michel de Montaigne.

Independence is happiness.-Susan B. Anthony.

Types of emotional codependency

There may be two types of effective dependency, each with different antecedents and consequences:

  • Dependent instrumental: present when you are looking for help to achieve goals. For example, ask for money to buy a car.

In this type, the sub-goal is the money and the final goal the car.

  • Emotional (psychological) Dependent: The ultimate goal is the response of others, not the way you reach them.

In the latter type there is a need for affection and an emotional-affective codependency that is satisfied by the affective responses of other people.

The two types are given in a way in the dependent person. That is, if you are instrumental dependent, you will also be emotional.

Rather, this differentiation I have explained to you so that you better understand your behaviors and how to begin to solve them.

11 Keys to Overcoming Emotional Dependence

When there is a rupture or separation of the dependent person from the other, there is a withdrawal syndrome.

This is characterized by anxiety, guilt, and obsessive thoughts about the situation or even depression.

If you are dependent, your problem is in yourself, not in someone or something external.

Understanding this is very important so that you can overcome the problem.

Your habits, customs and needs of affection is what has created that tendency to need someone.

In my opinion, the problem with emotional dependence is that it is believed that needing others is human and healthy.

However it is not healthy. In fact it is an insane love; In true love one does not need the other person to be happy.

The main cause of emotional dependence is the need. That is, human beings are social beings and we need to relate, but not have an extreme need to have a relationship, even if it is insane.

A good comparison is with the food. You need food, but do not eat 5 pounds of meat every day.

The same thing happens with personal relationships: you need them, but do not drag yourself or disrespect yourself for having them.

1-Change your limiting beliefs by more correct ones

If you are dependent, you are likely to have to a greater or lesser extent a set of limiting beliefs .

The most frequent are:

  • Perceive yourself as uncontrolled, ineffective, impotent and unable to achieve your goals
  • Believing that you need a partner or person to have a valuable life
  • Believing that you are not capable of dispensing with a relationship
  • Believe that if you end the relationship you will get worse in life

There is a belief that may be conscious or unconscious and that leads to bad decisions and possibly major mistakes in life. It is this:

“I need to be with a partner to be someone of value.”

What happens then? Well, you may choose quickly and without reflection.

You may be lucky and someone in your life falls in your life, although because you are not selective, it is likely that someone in your life who does not suit you or who does not contribute anything.

These limiting beliefs reinforce the idea that you need to lean on others to guide you and be happy in life.

2-Look for the ideal situation for your well-being

In my opinion, the ideal situation is that you get to be independent and happy for yourself.

Once you get it, you will be able to choose a suitable couple and really bring positive things into your life.

Let’s say that couple would increase your quality of life with what you bring.

And with this you can make another comparison:

I can be happy in my city, with what I have and how I am.

However, achieving achievements that I propose, such as getting a better job, traveling or improving personally will increase my quality of life.

Would a person who has a good job accept an underpaid job and exploit it? Of course not.

If you have a good life created by yourself without depending on anyone, you can choose the best relationships.

3-Establish relationships with the right people

Avoid relationships with toxic people and form relationships with people who:

  • They respect you
  • They value you
  • Treat you well
  • Bring something positive into your life

If the relationship with your partner, family or friend only harms you, it is advisable to end it .

4-Build a life that has value                       

It is uncertain that you have to have a person by your side to have a valuable life. Your life depends on what you do, not on whether or not you are with someone.

The problems of your life, such as not having a good job or a good relationship with your family, do not manage to be with someone, you have to fix it yourself.

Build a valuable life that depends only on yourself, not something that can come down if a relationship ends.

The more resources you have in life you will build, the harder it will be to come down. Imagine a castle: the more blocks you have and the bigger they are, the harder it will be to fall.

Example of resources for a valuable life:

  • Have your own friends
  • Have healthy family relationships
  • Have a good job
  • Be financially independent
  • Have your own hobbies.

5-Build Your Self-Esteem

From now on, you will give it to yourself, not others. If you are alone, you will give yourself courage and if you are with someone as well.

And the same with everything else in your life; If you do not have work you will value yourself, if you do not get something too…

Some basic tips are:

  • Avoid seeking approval
  • Be aware of your “negative critical thinking”
  • Do things that make you afraid
  • Do sport
  • Socialize

6-Plant face affective need

With plantar face I mean a subject of attitude.

When you feel the need to get closer to the person you were dependent on, struggle not to fall into temptation.

Emotional Dependency

I propose that you do it already.

That is, do not fall into the typical of “I will do next month” or “when I feel better”. Cut off the dependency; In fact, I believe a lot in this kind of change.

When people are at the edge of the precipice is when real changes and stronger.

They have fallen so much that they can not fall anymore and it is when they react.

I am aware that if you are dependent you can feel without strength, although remember the limiting beliefs I mentioned earlier, because it is the key to change now.

Think that you do have the ability to get things for yourself, that you have value and that you can be happy for yourself.

Start believing that you have that strength to get ahead for yourself.

7-Do not obey the needs

If you fall into the temptation to be dependent again, for example by taking calls or initiating insane relationships, you have obeyed the affective need.

Here often people say “I cannot” avoid it.

However if they can. What happens is that it takes less effort to do so than to avoid it.

If you want to overcome dependency you have to be willing to feel that effort.

Therefore, it is much more correct to say “I have not tried hard enough” or “I did not want to avoid it”.

What’s more, I’ll show you that if you can avoid it:

What if a close person’s life depended on your falling into dependent behavior? Would you do them?

Surely not. Surely you would avoid things like accepting disrespect, having insane relationships or reestablishing relationships that have hurt you.

The main goal is that your mental well-being and happiness be constant.

That is, if you break the relationship does not get discouraged in excess, get depressed, have anxiety or your life will come down.

That way, if you break a relationship, you will not try to fix it by looking for a new partner.

On the contrary, you will continue with the life you have built, enjoying it for yourself.

8-Know the signs of emotional dependence

I have already told you that you will have to fight the need and for this you will have to know the specific signs of the need for affection.

If you are dependent you will hear some of these signs and behaviors:

  • High sensitivity to rejections
  • Exaggerated reactions after ruptures or problems of couple
  • You have to do everything with someone
  • Tendency to establish relationships with couples that malinfluence and do not agree, with the aim of not being alone
  • Need to please others
  • You apologize to your partner for recriminating things he has done wrong (insult, be unfaithful …)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Be constantly aware of the couple even if they treat you poorly
  • Having constant relationships even if the other does not attract anything

9-Booking time for you

Time alone

One of the characteristics of dependent people is that they find it difficult to be alone.

However, this is bread for today and hungry for tomorrow, because you will inevitably be alone at certain times in your life.

Also, being constantly with someone is a fusion of a life. You have no life of your own.

To start building your life and overcome this need, reserve time for yourself: doing activities, reading, studying, walking…

Anything that is building your life and that makes you independent, without needing anyone to do it.

10-Change your perception of personal relationships

Almost unconsciously many people tend to see people as contributing resources and happiness.

And if you start to see your partner, family and friends as people that complement your happiness?

That is, you are happy, whether or not you have the other person, and being the other person you have a complement to your happiness.

In addition, as someone to whom you supplement your life, not as if you were all your life.

I believe that this approach will help you a lot and can change many behaviors and decisions.

11-Travel alone

Personally I recommend traveling solo. You do not have to do it always, but it will do you good to do it sometime.

When traveling you only has to solve problems on your own, meet other people, be sociable, without help from partners, family or friends. It definitely helps you to be independent.

Maybe by just thinking about it you are afraid, but you will overcome it over time. From the first trip you will develop your leadership skills and when you travel with other people you will have much more initiative.

The Importance of Socialization


The socialization has had an important influence on your dependency needs.

Specifically, the socialization of the sexual role:

  • Men are discouraged to express feelings, thoughts and behaviors
  • Women are encouraged to express their needs.

An investigation by Lytton and Rommey (1991) found that dependent behavior is encouraged more in girls than boys, with this pattern being consistent across cultures, subcultures, ethnic groups, and social classes.

This role is not only made up of parents, but also involves teachers, peers and role models (TV, film, sports).

On the other hand, observational learning plays a fundamental role in the development of this type of behavior.

However, even though men are discouraged to express their emotional needs, they do not disappear.

Rather, they can be expressed indirectly or not expressed at all.

Symptoms of being in an emotionally dependent relationship

Any relationship that is based on emotional dependence has a high probability of causing conflict and restraining each partner.

Think about the relationship you might have with a boss:

You need the job and your boss can fire you, so you are in a dependent relationship.

As you perceive that you are in a relationship with a high degree of risk, you tend to modify the behavior in the relationship.

For example, if you perceive yourself as subordinate to your boss, you will rarely express criticism or what you really think.

You will worry about saying anything that is too critical or negative, that is, you will want to be kind to your boss to lessen the chance of being fired.

The same is true of relationships dependent on partners or with other people close to them.

It is believed that the other person is needed to live, so every effort is made to maintain that relationship.

Your role in a relationship is not that the other person feels good about themselves. Only he / she can do it.

At best, you can provide positive attributes to the relationship such as loyalty, listening, support …

Arun Mansukhani, current deputy director of the Andalusian Institute of Sexology and Fishology explains that some of the symptoms that show that one is dependent emotionally are:

  • Have a persistent pattern of conflicting interpersonal relationships, adopting positions of submission, dominance or avoidance (real or emotional) in its various forms. For example: the typical couples that get bad or that one is very involved and the other nothing, etc. It can be considered that there is a pattern if the person has had at least 3 conflicting relationships of this type.
  • Give up having meaningful interpersonal relationships through distancing-real or emotional isolation. Each day there are more people who, after a series of conflicting relationships, decide not to have a partner.
  • Feeling that your needs are not being met in relationships with others. Feeling that such relationships do not gratify you.


The most important thing is that you build your own life: that you are able to achieve your goals and happiness for yourself.

For this, you will have to avoid your limiting beliefs and believe in your possibilities.

Avoid falling into the behaviors of necessity you will ha