Are You Emotionally Dependent Or Emotionally Independent?
One leaves you feeling powerful, one leaves you powerless. One creates your dream life, one creates a life of pain and trying to control everything.
If you find that you have some or all of the behaviors/beliefs listed under emotionally dependent, know that you can change anything once you’re aware.
How To Know If You Have Some Dependent Behaviors/Beliefs:
The following list is adapted from Psychology Today.
1. Dependent people have difficulty making everyday decisions without advice and reassurance.
A dependent personality faces everyday decisions (not bigger life-altering decision) from a position of hesitation and fear. The difficulty is the terror of being wrong. Even the smallest decision feels big and needs reassurance.
2. They need others to assume responsibility for many major areas of life.
Asking for help from another person in a major area of life is one thing. Expecting that other person to take over responsibility for you is another. People with dependent personalities give up control of major areas of life to another person out of fear. Life challenges can take on the dimensions of insurmountable difficulties and are, therefore, seemingly impossible to deal with alone.
3. They have difficulty disagreeing with others out of fear.
Have you ever seen that tongue-in-cheek sign that says, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as long as it agrees with mine?” A dependent person has a variation on that sign: “I am entitled to my own opinion, as long as it agrees with yours.” A dependent person does not feel worthy to express or have an opinion that differs from someone else they feel they need.
4. They struggle to start projects or do things on their own.
Dependent people fear exposure because it may cause others to realize how “worthless” they really are. They fear having failures and weaknesses on public display. One way dependent people avoid failure is to avoid taking the initiative. They don’t put themselves out in front of others by taking the initiative or promising results. If they believe they are doomed to fail at a task, they are not motivated to engage in that task; they are motivated to avoid it.
5. They feel anxious or distressed when alone, or when thinking about being alone.
Dependent people often expect the worst. They do not feel competent to live their own lives without others. Being alone means being unprotected and vulnerable. The thought of being alone to cope with whatever “worst” life throws at them is simply overwhelming. Dependent people wholeheartedly believe in Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
6. They make themselves responsible when bad things happen.
Life happens; things happen. Sometimes those things are bad. Dependent people, who do not sufficiently love or trust themselves, are quick to assign themselves blame for those bad things, even if that judgment is unreasonable. They will commandeer the blame from events, circumstances, and even other people.
7. They feel responsible for fulfilling the expectations of others.
In dependency, the dependent person adopts the expectations of the other person as their own. So when the dependent person fails, they fail to meet not only the expectations of the other person but also their own. Each failure strengthens the dependent person’s damaging judgment of self.
8. They have a high need for validation and approval from others.
Dependent people can crave validation and approval as desperately as an alcoholic craves a drink or a gambler craves a jackpot. When validation and approval happen, the planets align and all is right with the person’s universe, at least until insecurity kicks in again. So any “win,” though desperately craved, is suspect as a mistake, at worst, or momentary, at best.
9. They are unable to create or defend personal boundaries.
The only real boundary a dependent person has is to be within the boundary of a desired relationship. Apart from that, all other personal boundaries are fluid and negotiable in order to maintain the desired relationship. A willingness to negotiate personal boundaries for a relationship creates vulnerability. Some personality types look to exploit this type of vulnerability. They are all-too-willing to find out how much a dependent person is willing to give. And that pool of needs is never filled; the dependent person cannot seem to give enough to fill it.
How To Know If You Engage In Emotionally Independent Behaviors And Beliefs…And How To Shift Your Thinking Into Becoming Independent.
The following list was adapted from the blog “Feel The Sunlight” with changes in the descriptions:
1. They set boundaries.
Setting boundaries is often what separates dependent people from independent people. For example, one of the boundaries I have set is that when I need alone time it is okay for me to tell people no and I can remove myself if need be. If people have a problem with this I know that if they’re not going to respect this boundary they are probably not going to respect me in many other areas of my life. Your energy can be your own with boundaries, PLUS you’ll be happier and feel more bad-ass, you’ll no longer be walked all over.
2. They have a positive attitude.
The thing that independent people have that dependent people don’t is a sense of confidence. They may not know for a fact that they’re making all the right decisions, but they know that they’re going to get to where they need to go by making them. Fake it until you make it if you have to, and at first you probably will. Start having faith in yourself, in the people around you, and in the future. Stop worrying so much and focus on being positive and following your intuition. You have purpose on this Earth and the only way you’re going to fulfill it is by following your intuition and putting your faith in it.
3. They have strong relationships.
And why do they have strong relationships? Because they set boundaries, but moving on, it’s important that this is talked about. Independent people are not lonely people. Let me repeat. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE ARE NOT LONELY PEOPLE. Having a support system behind them is what allows them to thrive and make good decisions and build their confidence. If you’re in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, and they are not helping you in this way, as an independent person it’s time to cut the chord. Independent people may not have a ton of relationships, but the ones they do have are positive and worth the energy they’re putting into them.
4. They do not covet.
One of the most important traits that independent people hold is not competing with others, but rather, with themselves. Something I always say is the only person I want to be “better than” is yesterday’s version of myself. They are genuinely happy for other people’s successes, knowing your win does not equal my loss. There is enough of everything for everyone.
5. They are their own sun
Think about it like this, you can have a lot of people in your life who bring you warmth, but you are your own sun. So if a person leaves your life, there is still warmth that you create without the need for their heat. Independent people know they can enjoy them, and love them, and want them in their life, but if they leave it, they are not forced into the tundra. Make sure you’re in charge of your own joy and other people can simply amplify it.
6. They practice self-awareness.
And notice I said “practice”. They do not have themselves COMPLETELY figured out, nobody does, and nobody can because we are constantly growing. However, it is super important to keep in mind that knowing yourself is absolutely critical to being independent. If you know who you are then it makes it almost impossible for someone else to come into your life and tell you who are. This is very important because the way I see myself is what I make decisions off of, and how I see my self worth and self confidence. Knowing who I am means it’s my job to tell others who I am, and not the other way around. You should always take a moment to formulate your own opinions about books, music, movies, etc, before you allow others to offer theirs. And you can start paying attention right now to your intuition and your emotions. When do you feel happy? When do you feel sad? What makes you cry or laugh? These are good first steps.
7. They don’t make excuses.
If you’re late, you’re late. Nothing else made you late, you did not do everything you could to be on time and it’s your fault. It’s nothing to shame yourself about, but it isn’t anyone else’s fault. Independent people take responsibility for their actions.
8. They don’t blame others for their problems.
This goes along with my last point, but it needs to be said. If you are experiencing problems then you need to realize that there is a thought pattern that you are stuck on. If you are going through the same thing over and over again, it’s not them, it’s YOU. When independent people are constantly getting fired they take a step back and look at the bigger picture, they question what emotional vibration and thought pattern they have going on that keeps bringing this into their experience. It is not them. If it is a pattern or it is still active, it is you. You create your life, not them.
9. They know happiness is not a destination.
Happiness is not the end goal. Viewing happiness as an end goal is exhausting and disheartening because you’re never going to reach it. Happiness is a byproduct of fulfilling your life’s purpose. You fulfill your life’s purpose by doing what makes you happy and by being your true self. You know and understand what makes you happy through self awareness. These are all connected. Independent people aren’t distracted by trying to be happy, they know happiness will be there so long as joy is in their life, and they chase joy.
10. They adapt.
Stop thinking that where you are right now is where you always need to be. You can move on and adapt to your situations because learning to adapt is where we grow as humans and as cognitive beings. I’m not saying suppress your emotions, in fact I’m suggesting the opposite. You need to feel those emotions so they can guide you into learning more about yourself from the experience, but continue to look forward and view your future with hope. Be a problem solver and not a whiner. You ultimately have three options when faced with something you do not like or want: 1)Make peace with it 2)Change the situation, meaning change direction 3)Move on. That. Is. It.
Enjoy embracing more independent thinking. You’ll find immense joy here.