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Emotional dependence on a person (love addiction)

Emotional addiction is a type of psychological addiction in which strong or polar emotions are manifested when in contact with the object of passion. Emotional dependence on a person is a kind of dependence that displaces the life, interests and affairs of the person himself into the background, leaving only relationships and the object of dependence. There is a merger and loss of one’s own self, the need for vivid emotions increases (as with chemical dependence, the required dose of the substance increases).

Emotional dependence is officially recognized as a disease, and there is also established evidence that 98 percent of people tend to create dependent (in varying degrees of manifestation) relationships. In a relationship, there can be an emotional dependence on a woman, on a man, on parents, on a friend (anyone with whom there is significant emotional contact).

The causes of emotional dependence are rooted in deep childhood and are associated with the psychological trauma of neglect, rejection, or another type of connection with the parent, in which emotional contact was grossly broken or absent. From this inherent fear of rejection, two types of dependent behavior are formed – either the avoidance of excessive intimacy and openness, or the desire for maximum intimacy with the dissolution of one’s own personality to please the interests of the partner.

Today, experts and psychologists identify several of the most common causes of emotional dependence. This is loneliness, emotional immaturity, hyperresponsibility, fear, idealization, lack of faith in oneself …


Signs of addiction

Psychologists have found that emotional dependence in a relationship from a partner always develops according to one scenario and makes him codependent. This scenario is “rapist and victim”. Moreover, a couple does not necessarily have physical violence. This is often manifested by the high interest of one partner, against the background of the indifference and coldness of the other. In addictive relationships, people experience a huge range of different emotions, which prevents them from struggling with addiction.

Characteristic features of a dependent relationship:

  • obsessive feeling of jealousy, manifested by distrust and hyper control;
  • the desire to spend every minute with the object of addiction;
  • the development of apathy and depressive states during a forced separation from a partner;
  • lack of personal hobbies and interests in favor of the life priorities of another person;
  • concentration of all plans for the future, hopes and expectations on the object of dependence;
  • readiness to forgive and endure offenses, betrayal, violence and other manifestations of sacrifice;
  • lack of interest in work, friends and other areas of life.

Types of addiction and their signs

Any people from the inner circle can be the objects of dependence. Cases of love, friendship and parental addiction are common.


Addiction in romantic relationships is the most common. Both women and men can find themselves in such a connection. The determining factor in the development of such a relationship is the underestimated self-esteem of one partner, childhood trauma, and a fear of responsibility. Lack of self-interest, career can contribute to addiction, the emotional component will be reduced only to relationships. A common example of this situation is husband-dependence among housewives.

Signs of addiction between a girl and a guy:

  • love is impossible without complete dissolution in each other; lack of full surrender means lack of love;
  • it’s hard in a relationship, but it’s even worse without them;
  • partner jealousy is the norm;
  • relations are accompanied by constant threats of rupture.


Friendly addiction is characterized by the desire to spend all the time together, the appearance of negative emotions in the absence of a friend for a long time. In such relationships, jealousy of other people in a friend’s life often appears. With a lack of attention, the addict expresses dissatisfied comments and reproaches to a friend.

Signs of addiction:

  • a friend’s jealousy of his acquaintances;
  • remarks are emotional and not always controlled;
  • dependent friends spend all their free time together, sometimes they have a common home; strong feelings in the absence of a loved one, etc.


Dependence on parents in the first years of a child’s life is natural and necessary – otherwise the baby cannot exist. As they grow up, the child becomes an independent person with their own interests, outlook on life and goals that may not coincide with the position of their parents.

Consequences of maternal addiction for a child: does not know how to make decisions independently; cannot stand up for himself; unable to solve problems on his own, calls his mother for any reason; feeling danger, falls into severe panic, etc.

Emotional addiction is a kind of disease that practically does not differ from alcohol, drug, tobacco and any other addiction. If this problem is not solved for a long time, then it can cause: a heart attack; psychosis; panic attack; self-harm; suicide.


Who is addicted (attitudes)?

In general, any person under the pressure of circumstances can become dependent on another person. However, there are several common personality patterns that continually gravitate towards each other to form addiction. Variations on this theme include:

  • The type of relationship “consultant + person with problems”;
  • The type of relationship “the one who loves to keep everything under control + the one who needs direction”;
  • The type of parent-child relationship;
  • The type of relationship “teacher + student”.

Although these couples look like a tandem of strong and weak, in need of a different personality, in fact, both people here are in need. The “weak” needs help and support, and the “strong” has a deep need to be needed.


Manifestations and consequences

A person suffering from emotional dependence is often characterized by the phrase: “This is my cross”, which conceals a refusal of responsibility for what is happening, a sacrificial position, helplessness, “shifting” blame onto another person or circumstances, manipulation in the form of a veiled request for help, an attempt “ play on the feelings of others, the motive to evoke pity. Self-pity and the inability to openly seek help are characteristic features of an emotionally dependent person. Moreover, he can be quite adapted and “successful” in life – to have a family, friends, work. However, the trauma of childhood experience or the sad consequences of emotional alienation, sometimes cruel or overprotective upbringing consist in deep mental suffering, an attempt to “merge” with a partner, and ultimately loss of oneself.

Building strong and deep relationships requires the emotional maturity of both partners. The inability to be a source of emotional experiences for oneself leads to the desire to “dissolve” in a partner. At the same time, the partner himself suffers, getting involved in a relationship that is based on the “rescuer-pursuer-victim” triangle. Partners alternately play these roles, remaining constrained by the same scenario that causes pain and frustration.

Thus, an emotionally dependent person is characterized by mental suffering, and at the same time the impossibility and unwillingness to get out of the vicious circle of sad relationships.



If you began to suspect that your feelings for another person are not very healthy and bring little happiness, then the first step towards deliverance has already been taken. Many people prefer not to notice pathology in their relationships.

When you see the problem, find the cause from the list above. Decide what is stopping you – suspiciousness, low self-esteem, fear of loneliness or guilt?

The best option is to see a psychologist who can identify the deep roots and root causes of addiction. Problems are likely to be found in childhood.

You will have to work in tandem with a specialist, confidentially and openly. It is important that you really want to get rid of the excruciating attachment. They understood that this would free you and teach you to enjoy life.

If your partner is not the right fit for you, the psychologist will suggest techniques to help you deal with the stress of a breakup. You can start now.

Write on a piece of paper what benefits you take out of your current relationship, what does your partner do for you? It can be both material goods and sensual ones.

The second step is to look for their other sources – a new job, a favorite hobby, girlfriends, and so on.

The third is to imagine a picture of the future: without it, without pain and suffering, but with the same benefits presented by other people, things and deeds.

Don’t worry about being forced to instantly break the connection with your loved one. It’s not about him, it’s about you.

After getting rid of addiction, do you still feel warm feelings for him? Then you will be able to build healthy, strong relationships from scratch.

Realizing the problem of emotional dependence in a relationship, a person often finds himself in a huge psychological void, as he realizes that there is nothing in common between him and his partner, except for dependence or codependency. But if you carefully work out all the internal family and psychological problems after undergoing effective therapy with a psychologist, a person gets the opportunity to see his partner in a new light, not twisting in his own illusions and build a strong emotional connection created on a real feeling of love and care of each other.

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