You’re rocking your independence game, taking charge of your life and feeling on top of the world. But then, you meet someone who sparks a fire within you. Suddenly, you're faced with this delicious dilemma – do you maintain your independence and keep your guard up, or do you allow yourself to be vulnerable and let them into your world?
The more you think you want to be independent and do everything on our own, the more you realize that having someone you can rely on actually helps you become more self-sufficient. It's a "dependency paradox."
What is dependency paradox?
Imagine you have this incredible idea that you're passionate about. You're excited, but also a bit nervous because it's a big leap. You want to make it on your own. But then, you have this amazing partner who believes in you wholeheartedly. It’s you who is doing the work; they just offer their unwavering support, whenever you need it.
They become your sounding board, your confidant, and your rock. With their support, you find the courage to take risks and face the challenges that come your way. Their
belief in you gives you that extra push to push through any obstacles and makes your dream a reality. And even though you're the one running the show, knowing they're there by your side makes all the difference. --
This is the dependency paradox- You're striving for independence, but you are also seeking emotional connection from your partner.
This emotional support from your partner empowers you to go further and achieve greater success. It's the perfect blend of independence and support, fueling your growth and giving you the confidence to take on the world.
"I call this the dependency paradox: the counterintuitive finding that the more effectively dependent people are on one another, the more independent and daring they become." - Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment.
Why are we scared of dependency?
See, we live in a society that praises independence and self-sufficiency. We're encouraged to be strong, resilient individuals who can handle anything that comes our way.
Independence is awesome! It gives you a sense of freedom and empowers you to pursue your goals without relying on anyone else. But, as humans, we also have this undeniable need for emotional connection.
That’s why even when you keep telling yourself that you’re self-sufficient and you don’t need anyone. A part of you refuse to accept it. A nagging feeling constantly holds you back, make you feel discontent with what you have. It's like walking a tightrope, trying to balance the desire to be your own person with the longing for emotional connection.
And let me tell you, it's not always an easy feat! You want to stand tall and be self-reliant, but at the same time, you crave that intimate connection that makes you feel alive. There is nothing wrong in seeking emotional connection. That’s how are we designed.
Emotional connection and attachment is an innate need:
As human, you have this undeniable need for emotional connection. You long for that deep, soulful bond with another person that makes you feel seen, heard, and supported. It's like we're wired to seek out those connections, even if it means depending on someone else from time to time.
Studies have shown that strong emotional bonds even with friends can lead to increased happiness and lower stress levels. Having someone you can lean on, confide in, and share your innermost thoughts and feelings with can be incredibly beneficial.
"Researchers have found that emotional connection between partners is a crucial factor for relationship satisfaction and longevity. When couples feel emotionally connected, they experience greater intimacy, trust, and overall relationship satisfaction
. It can reduce stress, boost resilience, and even improve immune function." That's the power of emotional connection at play!
Secure attachments and interdependency:
Here is the beautiful part: it's not about choosing one over the other. It's about finding that sweet spot in between – a place called interdependence.
It's about embracing both your independence and your need for emotional connection. It's realizing that it's okay to lean on someone when you need support and being there for them in return. And this comes when you have a secure attachment in your relationship.
Secure attachment allows you to feel comfortable with intimacy, sharing your needs, feelings and understanding that of others, making you warm and loving.
When you have a secure attachment with someone, be it a parent, a friend, or a romantic partner, it creates a sense of safety and security in your life. You know de
ep down that you can rely on them, and they can rely on you. It's like having an emotional safety net that boosts your well-being in so many ways.
Having a comforting presence, listening ears, and a shoulder to lean on, give you the emotional support that help to reduce anxiety and promotes resilience in the face of adversity.
Imagine you’re faced with a tough decision at work, and you're feeling a bit overwhelmed. You reach out to that special person. They lend an empathetic ear, offer insights, and help you weigh the pros and cons.
By seeking their support and valuing their perspective, you tap into the power of interdependence. You're not alone in this decision-making process, and their input helps you make a more informed choice while strengthening your bond.
When dependency turns ugly:
However, there should be healthy dependency. If you take you’re dependency to extreme or unhealthy levels that will lead to negative consequences. When dependency turns ugly, it can manifest in various ways:
When you’re excessively reliant or codependent on other for your
emotional well-being, to the point of losing your own identity, happiness, self-worth and life. You solely make the other person in charge of your life, and you don’t what to do without them.
Enmeshment: When boundaries get blurred, and each other’s lif
e become excessively intertwined. This can lead to a loss of individuality autonomy, frustrations, and conflicts.
Inability to handle separations: Unhealthy dependency can lead to an inability to handle separations or periods of time apart. You end up experience intense anxiety or distress when they are away, which can strain the relationship and your life.
How to develop healthy dependency:
Strategies to develop to develop healthy dependency:
We have our needs, fears, desire but we find it hard to tell what we need, what we want make us miserable. Assuming that other person would know without us telling them is like shooting blind folded. Having an open, honest conversation about your needs, boundaries, and fears saves you from a lot of trouble.
Boundaries are like the guardrails on a rollercoaster ride – they keep you safe while still allowing for a thrilling experience. By setting healthy boundaries, you create a space where both independence and emotional connection can thrive.
Embrace vulnerabilities: Sharing your fears, dreams, and insecurities with your close one allows them to truly know and understand you. When you let your guard down, it opens the door to a whole new level of closeness and intimacy.
Navigating the dependency paradox is all about finding that magical balance. Communicate openly, set healthy boundaries, embrace vulnerability, work as a team, and nurture your own sense of self. By doing so, you'll create a relationship where both independence and emotional connection can coexist harmoniously. You've got this!