Mankind’s greatest problem is anxiety.
Our greatest anxiety is helplessness.
And the helplessness?
It’s all about about dependency – depending on others for emotional survival.
All that depending scares the shit out of us.
It can make us feel small to need others.
This fear creates millions of microscopic fractures through the very core our beings.
One more cold shoulder or stinging rejection and our delicate public facade crumbles to the ground in a pile of dust.
We cringe, coil + duck swiftly in the face of potential loss or separation.
As children we feared being separated from our parents.
As adults we fear losing at work, love, money.
Being separated from something or someone we rely on sends us spiraling into a self-questioning panic.
Why wasn’t I good enough to stay with?
Why didn’t they love me enough to try?
Why wasn’t I worthy of the promotion? the recognition? the thank you?
What we want more than anything is to be loved, valued and seen.
It crushes us to be ignored or looked over. Human beings are at our best when we’re in supportive relationships with each other. We crave connection, affection + validation.
It is written into our DNA.
And it is because we need connection so intensely that we fear the loss of it so severely.
The fear of loss is so monumental that we often pretend
we don’t need connection to survive.
The ultimate lie we tell ourselves is that we will never need anyone else.
We think we can do it on our own.
A fundamental flaw of human beings is thinking we can cure our fear of “smallness” (generated by the anxiety of dependency) by taking someone else’s “biggness”.
How can this play out in our romantic relationships?
Control: We attempt to get control of a person by encouraging them to become overly reliant on us. If we can gain control in this way we then diminish the possibility of them leaving us. Hence, decreasing the anxiety of being dependent on a lover for a sense of happiness.
Contempt: We devalue the person and make them seem worthless. This way if they leave we can tell ourselves, “they weren’t so spectacular anyway–I can easily replace them.”
Triumph: We deny feeling of caring since pleasure is in the defeat of the person. We regard the other person as conquerable. Examples: defeating your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or even a coworker, “the system,” “the odds.”
All stellar ways to keep real love + affection at bay and superficiality alive + thriving.
YOU NEED TO DEPEND ON OTHER PEOPLE.
IT IS NECESSARY FOR BALANCED EMOTIONAL WELL BEING.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LEANING ON OTHERS.
DOING SO DOES NOT MAKE YOU WEAK.
IT MAKES YOU EXQUISITELY HUMAN.
You can try to pretend you don’t need others—or attempt to control or devalue them
so the sting of their potential absence won’t cut as deep BUT you will be FOOLING yourself.
It is a form of self-sabotage.
And you will be short-changed of divinely deep,
The truth is that everything wonderful that happens between men and women happens because someone was vulnerable.
Sometimes you will be vulnerable, open up, depend on others
and then they may go away. And, yes, it will burn.
Because a lifetime of shallow relationships will hurt more and eventually fill
you with regret, bitterness + ache-worthy loneliness.
Agree to a sense of “ok-ness” around healthy dependency of others.
Instead of running from it, denying it, “mastering-it” –turn towards it.
So go ahead + depend on someone who wants to be there for you.
+ open up to being truly satisfied.
Do you have a pesky question burning a hole in your pocket? Email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a letter for my Smart Advice column.
Identities strictly confidential-of course.
© 2012 Danielle Dowling