Origins of Emotional Dependency
Emotional dependency is a result of being raised in an emotional environment lacking an adequate amount of the emotional support that you, as an infant, required. All infants require a minimum amount of emotional support in order to avert very serious psychological consequences. Beyond that, infants vary in the amount of emotional support they require: some need less, others more. While X amount of emotional support may be adequate for one infant, it may not be enough for another. This disparity in need is no more anyone’s fault than is having brown eyes instead of blue.
For our purposes, emotional support can be measured by: 1) how frequently and how consistently the infant is comforted when frightened or in distress; 2) if the infant is handled or spoken to harshly or gently; 3) if the caretaker is frustrated, stressed or angry in interactions with the infant, or calm, loving and tender; 4) if the infant is consistently fed or cleaned without undue delay.
Definition of the False Self
The sum total of the strategies, tactics and outlook that the infant mind formulates in order to rescue itself from intolerable exposure to terror forms the False Self: that which you become following the implementation of the survival strategies. As the command center for enacting these strategies, it is the False Self that becomes who you think you really are. The False Self is powerful; it has created options and strategies for dealing with life and people, and as such, is highly valued and defended. By comparison, the True Self is viewed as little more than a costly liability, and is consequently ignored and largely marginalized.
Uncovering the Stumbling Block of Guilt
While most people who struggle with emotional dependency correctly identify themselves as feeling lonely, desperate, anxious, victimized and unfairly taken advantage of, this represents only one side of the coin. It is because they focus only on that one aspect of their misery that they are unable to find a way out of the morass that their lives have become. In order to begin to unravel, comprehend and resolve the full nature of their dilemma, they will have to begin poking around in their dark underside. The material contained there, while unflattering and daunting to confront, will help unlock the puzzle and provide the key to the healing that needs to occur in order to develop a new, happier, more rewarding life. This is the consideration that most people and the majority of emotional dependency theories overlook.