YOBcast Episode 014: Emotional Dependency, Part 2

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How do we endure the weightiness of emotional dependency, and how do we move beyond our emotional dependency?

The conversation continues in the second part of this two-part episode on emotional dependency, featuring Tom, Elliott, Marshall, Corey, and Bradley. In this episode, Tom, Elliott, and Marshall share their personal stories of emotional dependency, and we discuss the difficult steps beyond emodep.

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Finally, don’t forget to comment on this episode below: what happened in the aftermath of your emotional dependency? Did the friendship survive, thrive, or die?

We hope you enjoy our latest episode:

Show notes:

Tom’s posts: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/tom/

Tom’s story of emotional dependency: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2016/06/30/friend-anymore/

Elliott’s posts: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/elliott/

Elliott’s friendship story: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2016/05/05/best-friends-brotherhood/

Marshall’s posts: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/marshall/

Marshall’s story of emotional dependency: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2017/03/06/male-friendship-dies/

Marshall’s story of relational restoration: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2017/03/23/rebirth-male-friendship/

Bradley’s posts: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/bradley/

Corey’s posts: http://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/corey/

The “Fish Love” video by Rabbi Abraham Twerski:

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  • Brian

    Because of this SSA affliction, many relationships to other guys has been fractured and eventually died. Why? Because of this emotional dependency that I had, latching myself onto them and losing my identity in the process. I’ve always been uncomfortable with talking to and making possible friendships with other guys because I feel that I will eventually go “emodep” on them which will cause everything to end. And then I beat myself up emotionally, blaming myself and believing that I can and never will make a friend to another guy. It’s like it’s impossible for me to do so. There seems to be this inability to relate to and have a solid and healthy friendship with another guy. And because of this, I have kept myself at a distance from other guys, not wanting to make the same mistakes that I made in the past. I stay away from friendships with other guys because I don’t want another round of “emodep” heading my way. The last time I became dependent and clingy to another guy was back in college and I think around 2008 or 2009 it all ended because I became jealous and angry and allowed that to get the better of me which resulted in him ignoring me and not wanting anything to do with me. I’m sure if I see him today the same anger and bitterness would still be there. Due to all the hurt and pain because of this emotional dependency, I believe I can’t make friends with a guy. I can’t seem to relate to them. I feel that I would ask for too much out of the relationship. I feel that I would never be the “best friend” in his eye but the inferior sideline friend which he would use for his own convenience.

    • Jeff Brady

      Is it possible you’re expecting too much? I think much of the emodep thing happens when we do not cast a broad net, making more than one friend. Focusing too much on one friend is never good. We have to remember that we are not looking for a husband or a partner.

      And what is it with this best friend thing anyway? It’s kind of junenile when you stop and think about it and the older we get, the more homoerotic it becomes. We do not live in a ‘buddy movie’. Real life changes at some point for most people and our partners or husbands or wives become our best friends. If we never take a life partner, we have to take our friendships where we can get them, and also try very hard not to become a burden to those friends.

      I know there are some of us that cannot stand to be alone. I kind of like being alone. I guess that makes me different than you, Brian, and the others on the podcast. I think this is why I am not as likely to suffer emodep as often as others of our ilk. If anything, I suppose I need to be more involved with other people than I am. I do have friends, but I can’t imagine having them around all the time and I’m sure they feel the same about me. I have been rejected by people, but I always thought it was their loss as much as mine. And when I’m missing someone or I just want to talk, there are people that I can go to.

      Perhaps my strategy is not healthy either, but I seem to avoid a lot of pain. I know some people think it’s worth the pain and anguish. I’m not there yet.

      • Brian

        Why is it considered “homoerotic” to think of having a best friend? This is what happens when we live in a society where not only sex but homosexuality is pushed everywhere. We live in a society where two guys who are best friends and really close are considered gay. People stare, whisper and wonder “is there something going on between those two? Are they gay?” In a society such as this guys can’t have in-depth conversations but rather shallow ones talking mainly about sports or about liking this girl and whether they want to have sex with this one or the other. Sorry, but I like in-depth conversations, I like dialogue that has substance. There comes a point in a friendship where feelings should be discussed, whether it be one person in the friendship is going through trials or if there’s a rift in the relationship.

        I understand that life changes for most and they get married but what about the singles? Are they to be tossed to the side like chopped liver? The church doesn’t even know what to do with singles because their attention is mainly focused on married people. And why is it that a single person has to become a burden to their friends who are married? Sorry but married people need friends too apart from being around each other all the time. Yes, their husband or wife may be their BEST friend but they need other friends to because their significant other can’t be everything to each other.

        I like being alone but I’m a human being made in the image of God and there are times I would like to have company, to have conversations and be around others. Many times I like to be by myself but sometimes I want someone else around me. That’s normal. No, I’m not this starving puppy asking for people to be around me or else I can’t function by myself.

        But I’ve been hurt, mistreated, and used by others so much, I rather be by myself and not be around anyone. The pain and anguish isn’t worth it at all, so now I avoid the pain by being around no one. People cause more heartache than joy and I rather be miserable all by myself.

        • mike

          Brian, this concept of a “best friend” is I think a worldly construct. Jesus calls us to follow Him. His example, as I read it, is to develop community surrounding ourselves with many brothers and sisters not one so that we might benefit from all the gifts given by the Spirit not just one!
          For us SSA’D ones there are many pitfalls and pains in following a “best friend” lifestyle. Though some might say it’s worth the trouble I agree with you that it may not be and was not what Jesus did. So why search for that?

  • Brian

    I think everyone experiences types of over attachment of one kind or another. In our case it happens with our best guy friends because we all feel that deficit of a brother or father figure in our lives. As mentioned in the podcast, the most common is people in heterosexual relationships. Society puts so much emphasis that marriage is the ultimate relationship that married couples put way too much pressure on each other to fulfill each other’s needs. I can’t help but wonder if this is the common reason why divorce rates are so high these days. Emodep can also happen between parents and children. I watched this documentary about this 800 pound 19 year old who became that way because his mother had lost a child and kept babying him because she was so afraid of losing him. In the show she admitted that she was pretty much addicted to her son to the point where it was abusive.

    • Brian

      I believe emodep is most definitely the reason behind many divorce rates. You hear phrases from those saying “you’re my everything” or “you complete me” but the thing is no one can complete you, no one can be you’re everything. When someone is your everything then you look to that person to supply all you’re needs and only God is the one who can supply all our needs, especially emotionally. So when I hear couples say to their significant other “you’re my best friend”, it doesn’t mean that each of them can’t have friends. I don’t believe a married couple should be in their own world, just the two of them, shutting out everything and everyone else. I believe that the church should do a better job with handling singles and not have them in despair because they’re not married or have them rush to marriage for the sake of getting married to fulfill the pressure.