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Title: Emotional Dependency or Emotional Responsibility Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 794 Category: Emotional Healing, Personal Growth
Emotional Dependency or Emotional Responsibility By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Emotional dependency means getting one’s good feelings from outside oneself. It means needing to get filled from outside rather than from within. Who or what do you believe is responsible for your emotional wellbeing?
There are numerous forms of emotional dependency:
* Dependence on substances, such as food, drugs, or alcohol, to fill emptiness and take away pain.
* Dependency on processes such as spending, gambling, or TV, also to fill emptiness and take away pain.
* Dependence on money to define one’s worth and adequacy.
* Dependence on getting someone’s love, approval, or attention to feel worthy, adequate, lovable, and safe.
* Dependence on sex to fill emptiness and feel adequate.
When you do not take responsibility for defining your own adequacy and worth or for creating your own inner sense of safety, you will seek to feel adequate, worthy and safe externally. Whatever you do not give to yourself, you may seek from others or from substances or processes. Emotional dependency is opposite of taking personal responsibility for one’s emotional wellbeing. Yet many people have no idea that this is their responsibility, nor do they have any idea how to take this responsibility.
What does it mean to take emotional responsibility rather than be emotionally dependent?
Primarily, it means recognizing that our feelings come from our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior, rather than from others or from circumstances. Once you understand and accept that you create your own feelings, rather than your feelings coming from outside yourself, then you can begin to take emotional responsibility.
For example, let’s say someone you care about gets angry at you.
If you are emotionally dependent, you may feel rejected and believe that your feelings of rejection are coming from other’s anger. You might also feel hurt, scared, anxious, inadequate, shamed, angry, blaming, or many other difficult feeling in response to other’s anger. You might try many ways of getting other person to not be angry in an effort to feel better.