Emotional Dependence during Adolescence

Emotional dependence during adolescence is very important. On the one hand, due to the nature of this dependence and, on the other, due to the stage of development it occurs in.
Emotional Dependence during Adolescence

Last update: 26 June, 2020

Psychology needs time to properly deal with different types of emotional difficulties, such as jealousy or emotional dependence during adolescence. The latter has some very characteristic features. We’ll be studying them in this article.

Our day to day human interactions can often be very complex. The society we live in, the new forms of communication available to us, and certain personality peculiarities can tend to predispose people to develop emotional dependence. Most of us have to come face to face with this reality at different stages of our lives, but the ideal time to deal with it is during adolescence.

Emotional dependence during adolescence can cause a lot of discomfort, both for those who suffer from it and also for those around them. We’ll examine it in detail in this article.

Adolescence: A Stage of Transition and Change

If there’s one word that predominates in this vital stage of our lives, it’s change. These changes during adolescence are both biological and social. Many of them have an impact on our teens’ emotions, thoughts, and behavior. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that our personality develops a lot during this stage.

However, the important thing about this stage isn’t the changes, but rather how these changes occur. The fact is that many of these changes, whether physical, social, emotional, or sexual, all come very quickly. So quickly, that teens often lack the resources or the maturity to face them.

If we focus on emotional changes, then we should note that these occur in a certain context. What we’re trying to say here is that adolescence is very much a social concept. This is because social influences have a big say in how teenagers live and develop during these years of growth and change.

Emotionally, teens often have to endure extreme pressure. Most teens seek acceptance in their social groups in order to adapt to the environment they’re growing up in. They mold their behavior to try to fit in and to integrate themselves into the group they most want to belong to. There can also be all sorts of pressures in relationships, and these can generate a lot of discomfort for them too.

In these relationships, they have to learn to bond emotionally. Not everyone has the necessary self-confidence or social skills to know how to set limits or to communicate their feelings in the best possible way.

Emotional Dependence in Adolescence

Although we have mentioned emotional dependence in relationships, there are other emotional dependencies as well. These include maternal or paternal relationships and also non-romantic friendships.

However, we’re going to focus on love relationships, and look at many different types of emotional dependence. They all have the following characteristics in common:

  • Needs. When someone has an emotional dependence, that creates a need or set of needs. These needs revolve around the desire or need to spend time with their partner or to be accepted by them and gain their approval.
  • Fear. At a very deep level, the foundation of emotional dependence (and also of jealousy) is usually fear, such as fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, or fear of loneliness.
  • Loss of freedom. Every form of emotional dependence will affect our freedom in one way or another. Emotional dependencies often mean that we have to stop doing things that we like or stop being with people we were comfortable with.
  • Impact on behavior, thoughts, and emotions. The needs that teens experience affect them on a behavioral, cognitive, and emotional level. In fact, a person’s perception of reality often changes so much that the person doesn’t even realize that they’re emotionally dependent on others. Of course, those around them often do notice what’s happening.
  • Social isolation. By paying more attention to their partner, the teen will inevitably stop spending as much time with other people. Those who have emotional dependence will want to spend more and more time with their partner. Inevitably, this means that they’ll spend less and less time with the rest of their social circle.

Mutual Emotional Dependence

In addition to this, we also need to consider mutual emotional dependence or emotional codependence. This occurs in both partners and tends to accentuate the negative behavioral patterns that define this dependency.

When a teenager has an emotional dependence on their partner, then you shouldn’t immediately advise them to leave that person. It’s far better to speak openly with them, and, above all, to listen.

Support and empathy are key to dealing with people with emotional dependence. Even though from the outside you can clearly see this situation, those who are living in it don’t perceive it in the same way, and we must respect the fact that they’ll need time to assimilate the advice that you give them.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.