What is Emotional Interdependence?


Interdependent people will do everything to make their partner depend on them. As such, their care and attention are not always altruistic and can be detrimental. In this article, let’s take a closer look at emotional interdependence.

Emotional interdependence is the relationship between emotionally dependent people that is neither healthy nor balanced. On the contrary, it can be harmful in some cases.

Therefore, it is important to identify these symptoms and correct them as soon as possible. Today we want to share how emotional interdependence affects you, the symptoms, and treatments for this problem.

How Interdependence is different from emotional dependence? 

Interdependence is different from emotional dependence. In fact, in the case of emotional dependence, we can envision individuals who depend on others to be happy because of their dysfunctional personalities.

Because these people are totally dependent on their partners, they maintain very harmful and destructive relationships. In other words, even if the relationship is not good, the partner is considered an indispensable part of life. Therefore, these individuals are not autonomous and usually have low self-esteem.

On the other hand, emotional codependency is different. These people depend on what others depend on them. In other words, these people are addicted to having others depend on them.

Interdependence is a problem in relationships where emotional dependence is both harmful.

This kind of detrimental relationship can occur in any relational context, from parent to child to friendship, but is especially common among couples.

Whether interdependent or emotionally dependent, one person is dependent on the other, but the two have different personalities.

Individuals who are dependent on others do not know how to get along without a partner. On the other hand, people who experience emotional interdependence become addicted to having others depend on them.

This can make your partner excessively caring. Although they may seem friendly, their motives are not altruistic and are manipulative. Thus, this excessive control, jealousy, and conditioning can make a relationship disproportionate and toxic.

So, in the end, both of them suffer.

Symptoms Caused by Emotional Interdependence

Low Self-esteem

Interdependent individuals have low self-esteem, as do their dependent partners. But in this case, you try to fill this void or imbalance, trying to be useful to those you believe are needed.

Control over Partners

Symptoms caused by emotional interdependence

Interdependent individuals do everything necessary to maintain a relationship, such as manipulating their partner and undermining their self-esteem.

Given that they feel secure in themselves based on others who need them, interdependent individuals tend to do whatever it takes to maintain this dependence.

Read Also: How to Determine What Your Spouse Wants Out of the Relationship

As such, they continue to control and manipulate their partners, further undermining their self-esteem. This makes your partner continue to need you and depend on you.

Desire for Approval

Interdependent individuals put a lot of time and effort into being useful to their partners. That’s why you feel very frustrated when things don’t go right or you aren’t rewarded for your efforts.

If your partner doesn’t appreciate you, your fear that they’ll stop relying on you grows as well. So you start to get suspicious and anxious, and you want to hear your partner acknowledge how cool you are and what you do.

Furthermore, failure to obtain this approval or recognition can lead to unhealthy punishments to impress your partner that you are essential.

Feel Responsible for the Feelings of others

Interdependent people tend to over-control their partner’s emotions.

Interdependent people also suffer. But the fact is that no one is responsible for the feelings of others. Nevertheless, interdependent people feel responsible for their partner’s feelings.

Therefore, they can become very frustrated when they try to control their partner’s feelings and cannot make their partner happy. Don’t forget that their goal is to become essential to your partner’s life and well-being. That’s why they see their partner’s negative feelings as a threat to this dependence.

Obsession with Partner

These people rely on their dependence on others to protect their self-esteem and fill the void. So they are constantly looking for ways to maintain these dependencies and needs. The more time you spend figuring out how to do this, the more it can lead to an obsession with your partner.

In fact, in many cases, they tend to lose themselves and ignore their own needs. Because your only goal is to prove how much you need and make your partner depend on you.

How can Emotional Interdependence be treated?

Discovering the origin of the interdependent personality and treating this problem requires couples therapy as well as individual therapy.

In such a detrimental relationship, intervention should be initiated as soon as possible. In other words, both of you have to relearn how to behave and how to relate to others. Furthermore, you need to work hard to increase your assertiveness and self-esteem and overcome your fears and insecurities.

They can achieve this goal through personalized therapy and couples therapy.

  • The first step in this process is recognizing the problem. If an individual cannot recognize the problem, treatment is impossible.
  • Then the interdependent individual must overcome the fear of being alone. In other words, you have to overcome your fear of independence and the fear that others won’t need you. In that sense, you have to give up your undue attention and give up your interest in changing, controlling, and satisfying others.

Read Also: 8 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Spouse Again

  • Moreover, interdependent people have to relearn how they can help themselves.  It should be understood that helping and caring should be based on genuine altruism and not manipulating others as a means of hiding one’s own needs. Helping others should be an act of goodwill, not a hidden attempt to make you more dependent on yourself.
  • People with usually interdependent personalities learn these kinds of behaviors and attitudes from an early age. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the lessons learned wrongly in childhood and go through the process of self-awareness and correction.
  • Not only that, but both partners need to learn how to set limits for a healthy relationship.


Interdependent people must understand that the foundation of a relationship must be a bond of freedom and personal choice. Attempts to bind the other person by making them feel they are essential will only cause problems.

At the same time, it cannot be a wholesome way to boost self-esteem.


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