When you aren’t able to regulate your own feelings, you can cause damage to your closest relationships without even realising. In this post we take a look at how to keep your emotional independence in a relationship.
We all turn to our nearest and dearest when we’re in need of some emotional support, mental clarity and a bit of affirmation. This is completely normal.
But sometimes, we can become overly dependent on those around us to make us feel better about ourselves.
If approval is the main thing you’re looking for in your relationships, and validation from others is something you crave, it might be time to explore why this is.
Support and guidance are a healthy benefit in any serious, committed relationship – but emotional dependency is not.
Past friendships, sexual relationships and early familial dynamics can all shape the way we form attachments with others.
These experiences can also influence whether we are likely to become unstable, insecure or overly dependent in close relationships.
When you rely on your partner to fulfil all of your emotional needs, you may have veered towards an unhealthy balance. One which may not be beneficial, or sustainable, in the long run.
So what can we do to change the dynamic, while still maintaining healthy, close relationships with others?
Here, we offer a few pointers on how to keep your emotional independence in a relationship…
Knowing when there’s a problem
You can’t act on something until you’ve seen it, called it out and understood it. So what does emotional dependancy look like?
A clear sign that you’re relying too heavily on your partner for your emotional wellbeing is when you feel like you can’t live without their support and input into your life.
A constant need for reassurance from them is another red flag. Or, possibly, you feel anxious if you are separated from them or you aren’t their main focus all the time.
Jealousy and possessiveness may also raise their head, and you may have difficulty trusting their feelings for you.
These are all clear signs that you are struggling to meet your own emotional needs.
Getting to know your emotions better
If you think you are overly dependent on others to feel better about yourself, and some of the scenarios above sound familiar to you, it might be time to face your feelings.
Stop for a moment. How are you feeling right now? What underlying sensations are you experiencing? Sit with them. Feel them. Recognise them and know where they live in your body. Which emotions feel like they’re in your stomach, or chest, or heart? And which sensations are strongest in your head?
Getting to know yourself in this way and accepting all the feels – both good and bad – will bring you a step closer to emotional independence.
Learning to regulate your emotions
Are you able to manage your emotions internally, or are you a simmering pot of feelings and confusion?
A good way to deal with emotions as they arise is to incorporate some daily practices into your routine.
Consider meditation, yoga or spending time outdoors. Carve out some alone time, so you can take a private moment to check in with your feelings and really notice them.
Notice when you reach for emotional backup from your closest friends, family or partner. Ask yourself why? What is it you are looking for in that moment?
Taking responsibility for your emotions
Gain some understanding of your long-term goals and innermost desires. Where are you in your life right now and where do you want to be? Is your current situation helping to get you there?
Take some time to think about your underlying emotions and daily feelings in respect to where you find yourself right now.
Chances are, if you are off-path in some way, you will be less able to recognise and regulate your emotions.
Take some responsibility for your wellbeing by considering what improvements you can make in your life to make yourself feel better.
Learning to support yourself emotionally is hard at first, especially if you are used to seeking validation from the outside.
But once you start to consider how you feel and why, you suddenly find a deep inner strength. You know you are safe in your own hands.
Talking it through
Sometimes, our need for external validation and our inability to self-regulate can be hard nuts to crack. Especially if we’ve been surrounded by unhealthy relationships in our lives, either through our upbringing or with dysfunctional partners.
If you’re struggling with the issues above, and can’t seem to find your inner compass, you may want to reach out to a professional.
The relationship with your therapist isn’t one of emotional dependency and external validation – it’s a safe space to unpack what you need to, before you can move on.
Here at LoaWellness we successfully help women to recognise their self-worth and emotional independence. Together, we work through past pain and find ways to overcome unhealthy relationship habits.
We combine elements of psychology, yogic practices and transformational coaching to provide three tailored programmes.
These programmes help ensure access to healthier, more authentic relationships is within reach regardless of your past experiences, present responsibilities, time constraints or financial situation.
Interested? We’re hosting a free 5-day deep dive adventure into relationships, starting on 22 February. Come and take stock, unblock barriers and move your love life to the blissful state you deserve.