Goodbye emotional dependence; hi affective autonomy
In his book The art of Loving, Erich Fromm reflects on the difficulties we find in relationships, among other reasons because we do not consider loving as an action (an art, according to him) that requires prior learning).
We become entangled in tortuous and toxic relationships that end up producing more pain than wellbeing because nobody ever taught us how to behave within the couple. How to handle the whirlwind of emotions that our body generates when we fall in love , how to give space to the other person when what we most want is to be at his side 24 hours a day, how to handle the fear of breaking or cheating ... in short, how to get to love healthily, and not madly as it teaches us that we must do society.
You only need to take a couple of songs at random to realize that the messages we receive regarding love are tremendously harmful, and make apology for dependent, symbiotic and sickly love. If we take for example the song of The Police "Every Step You Take" and we read it instead of singing it, it is probable that we are diagnosed with obsessive affective disorder or we are accused of being stalkers:
Every day, every word you say
Every game you play
Every night that you stay
I will be watching you
Can not you see that you belong to me?
How does my poor heart hurt with every step you take?
Emotional dependence and pathological loves
Keeping in mind that Hollywood movies, books or television series also encourage this pathological love, It is normal that we are involved in unhealthy behaviors of attachment and dependence that take away all the sense of being a couple. We must aspire to free love, for our psychological health and that of our partner, and because the only way to be happy is to let go of fear.
Relationships move in the field of uncertainty, and not accept or not want to see this reality inevitably leads to fear, suffering and frustration, trying to control the uncontrollable. If we want to enjoy our loved one healthily we have to be willing to lose it, however much this thought hurts us.
Affective dependence is not "excess of love" but an excess of fear . It is an addiction in which the individual feels literally unable to live without the other (which is also well seen in our society, we have all heard phrases like "you are everything to me", "I do not know what I would do without you", "Without you I am nothing ...") and has all the components of any other addiction to substances: urgency to "consume" our drug linked to love, withdrawal syndrome when we are without it, irritability, compulsivity, feeling of incomprehension around us , stop doing the things that we previously enjoyed to be alone with our "drug".
According Walter Riso , the central scheme of all attachment is emotional immaturity, understood as a "naive and intolerant perspective to certain situations in life, generally uncomfortable or aversive". The most important manifestations of emotional immaturity related to affective attachment would be low thresholds of suffering, low tolerance to frustration and the illusion of permanence, that is, disability and imagining the end of the relationship. The immature person emotionally (who can be mature in other areas of his life) requires the care of his beloved as a child of his mother. Without her protection figure she feels lost, scared and unprotected .
How to learn to love healthy?
The first step is to be aware of loving as a verb and not as a noun , as an action and not as a feeling or thought. Loving is a behavior that we carry out when we perform actions that affect the well-being of the other, when we rejoice for their achievements, when we respect their motivations, when we give them room to grow.
As we tend to be more focused on being loved than on loving, we live pending the demonstrations of love of our couple or the absence of them. This is totally unproductive, since we can not get into each other's shoes and behave in a way that meets our expectations. It is advisable to leave the receptive orientation and start having proactive behaviors.
Instead of complaining because our partner is not loving, we are the ones who start the approach, instead of complaining because it is not retailer, we have some detail with it. In the background the best way to start receiving is to start giving .
To begin to cleanse our relationship we must get rid of the old patterns of pseudo-love that many of us have incorporated and that prevent us from enjoying relationships in their fullness. Moving from emotional dependence to affective autonomy.
Achieving affective autonomy
What is sought with affective autonomy is not indifference or coldness, but a healthy way of relating independently, not possessive and not addictive .
Autonomy promotes anti-addiction schemes and produces healthier ways of relating, as well as greater individual well-being. Autonomous people gain more self-confidence when they see that they do not need anyone to resolve their issues, which increases their feeling of self-efficacy and therefore their self-esteem. They become more emotionally mature and handle loneliness better, losing their fear of it.
It is worth learning to enjoy the times we spent alone as well as the times we spent with the couple , and not stay in a mummified state every time we separate from it until we see it again. Maintain the life that exists beyond the couple: the space itself, the friends themselves, the hobbies, the moments of solitude. In a relationship it is much healthier to miss that "throwing more".
You do not need to be weak to be loved. If the couple loves us in a healthy way, they will be willing to help us develop an independent personality, which does not mean that we love them less, but that we love them better. People who have found their vocation and their own way of living life become immune to emotional dependence. The most positive thing is to focus on cultivating and caring for other areas of our lives. The key is always in balance .