If I was honest, I have been emotionally dependent most of my life which created an unhealthy reliance on people I was close to. I always needed someone to nurture, acknowledge, sooth my inner discomfort. I didn’t feel like I had the ability to handle my emotions so instead, I opted to subtly give away my power to another with the hope they could fix me or find the solution for me.
But what was really happening under the surface was my inability to hold overwhelming emotions. Emotions like anger, sadness, grief, even joy, were too much for me. I had never learned how to let emotions flow through me without holding onto them. Instead, I was shown how to suppress, avoid or blame, which meant I didn’t have to take responsibility for my inner landscape of emotion.
Not taking responsibility for each emotion that arises means I loose energy and power. It also means I had to rely on someone outside of myself to hold the weight of my unprocessed emotions. At times, it was important to have people guide me through my confusing and confronting inner landscape, but not when I relied on them to rescue me out of my emotional discomfort.
If I needed a rescuer to take away my problems, I always got one. If I wanted someone to empower me to handle my emotions- I got one. The former holds very different energy and intention than the later. The former one comes at a great cost where two people come together to soothe each other’s unprocessed hurts without taking full responsibility for their own inner world.
When we feel the need to rescue or be rescued it comes from a place of lack. This creates an entanglement that requires you to stay stuck. Each time you go through an unsettling emotion, you will rely on those outside of you to hold your emotional upheaval. I like to term myself the damsel-in-distress when I fall back into this pattern. The person rescuing also relies on you to need them, so they feel like they have a purpose. If they don’t have this purpose, their underlying low sense of self comes to the forefront. From experience, most people aren’t really ready to take full ownership of their low worth that relies on you to make them feel better. This creates a heavy burden, not to mention an energy sucker!
So what is emotional sovereignty?
Emotional is an arousing, intense feeling and Sovereignty is utmost power to sooth and regulate yourself.
Emotional Sovereignty is a gift that you give yourself when you have developed enough inner support that you don’t require anyone outside of yourself to love, soothe, care, nurture the parts of you that feel uneasy. You have been able to hold each emerging emotion or reaction with tender care, that you become your own soothing carer.
This frees you from dependency.
You don’t need to search for someone to acknowledge your feelings and you don’t need recognition for your experience. Instead, you start to embody radical self-acceptance of all the rising experiences, where you become skilled at validating your own feelings. You have enough intrinsic worth that you don’t depend on someone outside of you to approve or disapprove your sense of self. You have the ability to let go of emotions (rather than carrying them around with you for days, weeks or years).
But what happens when you haven’t cultivated enough inner skills to soothe and regulate your inner emotion?
This is where emotional dependency kicks in.
Emotion can be overwhelming when we have never really been taught how to sooth these uncomfortable sensations. When we don’t have these skills, we seek something or someone outside of ourselves to validate and regulate our discomfort.
The essence of the word dependency is to seek someone or something for support. So when you feel an intense emotion you don’t have the skills within to soothe, so you seek someone who possess the soothing ability.
Emotional Dependency relies heavily on another person to acknowledge our inner experiencing. I frequently use to seek different people to help soothe and regulate my inner world. But I have realised how much this is keeping me stuck in a dependency pattern. I noticed I would look for the people who would agree with my view to ensure I felt like I was righteous in my emotional overwhelm. It would soften my chaotic inner world but it was always guaranteed that it would flair back up (it was only a matter of time).
If people didn’t agree with my view I noticed several reactions. One was to withdraw from them, one was to internalise deep shame for how I was feeling and the other was to attack by blaming and judging them for my problems. I know it can feel easier to blame others, rather than take full responsibility for how I feel. But in the long run, it doesn’t serve my deeper desires of freedom, love, connection and evolution.
So how did I learn to embody emotional sovereignty?
Instead of drowning in my own overwhelm, I consciously sought external guidance by some very skilled healers, teachers, guides, and mentors. I learned that having access to the right tools gifted me with the power to settle any arising sensation with tender, loving care. With enough determination and perseverance, I now know that anyone can attain emotional sovereignty…
Emotional Sovereignty is a personal freedom. It is a powerful inner state that one can reach once they develop the skills to lovingly hold whatever emotion arises. You conserve more energy and cultivate greater vitality. You don’t hold on to emotions that leave you stuck in the past, but allow them to flow effortlessly through you. You have cleaner, healthier, co-empowering interactions with ALL people you connect with. You attune more to your body wisdom and make choices with beautiful clarity. It gifts you with the ability to see and feel unhealthy ways of relating, offering you the freedom to choose self-love over self-sacrifice. Ultimately giving you permission to move through the world as you please (Naomi Cameron).