Emotionally dependent people are an example of the extent to which some individuals are able to unite their lives with that of others. Although we all seem to be free, chaining ourselves to the decisions of others can be commonplace; in some cases, to clearly harmful extremes.

In this article we will review the characteristics that define emotionally dependent people , and the habits and signs that indicate the presence of this pattern of thought and behaviour.

Emotionally dependent people: what are they like?

In theory, all human beings are unique, unrepeatable and with a constant personality; however, this does not mean that our way of thinking, feeling and acting is not influenced to a great extent by our interaction with others.

In most cases, the influence that an individual has over another person is limited, sometimes going somewhat deeper due to persuasion. However, some people are more likely to develop emotional ties of dependence towards others. In this case, their actions are totally mixed up with the acts of that other person.

How do we recognize these signs that we are dealing with an emotionally dependent person ? The main ones are the ones you can read below.

1. Feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem

This is a constant in emotionally dependent people. They are cruel to themselves, they have a very bad self-image and their style of attributing causes to what happens to them leads them to blame themselves when something bad happens and to attribute everything to luck or to others when something good happens to them.

Thus, this low self-esteem makes it natural to seek the protection and guidance of some authority figure, someone who can watch over you and lead your life to a good end.

2. Doubtful attitude

Emotionally dependent people are constantly hesitant, and their actions are marked by indecision. The reason is not simply a lack of assertiveness (one can be assertive if one is clear about what one wants) but simply a lack of belief in one’s own criteria for setting goals.

In the context of partner or friendship relationships, for example, this means that you adopt a passive role and act only when the other person has clearly indicated the lines to be followed.

3. Feeling of guilt

This characteristic is also explained by the two previous ones, and consists of the ease with which emotionally dependent people assume that the bad thing that happens around them is their fault. For example, if your partner feels frustrated because he has not achieved one of his work objectives for the day, he feels that he has not been given enough support.

This characteristic makes them easily assume as normal situations of abuse directed against them, since they blame themselves for the anger that gives way to violence .

4. Belief in Romantic Love

In Western societies, emotionally dependent people believe strongly in romantic love, as it expresses the ultimate bond of dependence between two people. In practice, this means that the other person has a clear power over them, since the challenge of staying with them even if they break their commitments is in itself an incentive.

5. Altruism without limits

This type of person is also characterized by investing whatever is necessary in the emotional bonds he or she has already created. Therefore, they tend to sacrifice themselves over and over again for other people , even if it is not reciprocal (which is common). This is not done freely, as a result of reflection, but systematically, and as a reaction to the fear of breaking contact with that person.

Somehow, the emotional dependent’s personal relationships mortgage her, making her less free in the future.

6. Fear of loneliness

Loneliness is a scary thing for emotionally dependent people, and that’s why they bet everything on being close to someone. They do this by making great sacrifices in order to be accepted and, in general, to be relevant to someone. The result is harmful, because they have a reason for constantly denying their autonomy and abiding by the demands of others.

7. Submission

Another of the fundamental characteristics of this psychological profile is submission and complacency. They fear the idea of exhausting the patience of the one to whom they are emotionally attached, and try to satisfy all demands ; sometimes, even needs that have not been expressed.

8. Difficulty perceiving manipulation

Emotionally dependent people often fall into manipulation because of the characteristics mentioned above. In these situations, they do not recognize that they are being manipulated, as this would cause them to fall into cognitive dissonance: the idea of the other person taking advantage of the situation clashes with the belief that maintaining this relationship is beneficial.