People are only as needy as their unmet needs.
When their emotional needs are met, and the earlier the better, they usually turn their attention outward. The more effectively dependent people are on one another, the more independent and daring they become.** The Paradox of Dependency
Our culture seems to scorn basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency, while exulting independence.
We tend to accept this attitude as truth.
The erroneous belief that all people should be emotionally self-sufficient is not new.*
Bowlby’s contribution was - infants who had all of their nutritional needs taken care of, but lacked an attachment figure failed to develop normally. They showed stunted, physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. The connection between infant and caretaker was as essential for the child’s survival as food and water.***
Attachment is an integral part of human behavior throughout the entire lifespan.
Is it possible that we as couples are looking at dependency from a bad perspective?
Our partner regulates:
our blood pressure,
our heart rate,
and the levels of hormones in our blood.
The emphasis on differentiation that is held by most of today’s popular psychology approaches to adult relationships does not hold water from a biological perspective. Dependency is a fact; not a choice or preference.**
Dr. James Coan from the affective neuroscience laboratory at the University of Virginia-“When two people form an intimate relationship, they regulate each other’s psychological and emotional well-being. Their physical proximity and availability influence the stress response. How can we be expected to maintain a higher level of differentiation between ourselves and our partners, if our basic biology is influenced by them to such an extent? If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right person to depend upon, and travel down it with that person.”*
That is the essence of attachment theory.
If we are unsure whether the person closest to us, a romantic partner, truly believes in us and supports us and will be there for us in times of need, we will find it much harder to maintain focus and engage in life.*
*When our partners are thoroughly dependable and make us feel safe, and especially if they know how to reassure us during the hard times, we can turn our attention to all the other aspects of life that make our existence meaningful.*
Or partners powerfully affect our ability to thrive in the world.
There’s no way around that. They influence:
how we feel about ourselves,
the degree to which we believe in ourselves, whether we will attempt to achieve our hopes and dreams.
Having a partner who fulfills our intrinsic attachment needs and feels comfortable acting as a secure base and safe haven can help us remain emotionally and physically healthier and live longer. *
Having a partner who is inconsistently available or supportive, can be a truly demoralizing and debilitating experience that can literally stunt our growth and stymie our health.