Dependency vs Love

(adapted from Karen Horney)

Applies particularly for marital and parental relationships, i. e. the basic human relationships.

Dependency            continuum                 Love    (neurotic)                                           (healthy)                             

Each person's personality is situated somewhere between the two extremes : each personality is a mix of dependency and love, more or less of each trend depending on

1- the quality of relationships the person experienced during childhood, and

2- on the efficiency of individual therapy if any done when adult.

The dependent person's trends :

Interplay :
others, one's children and partners only needed to satisfy one's own needs : no interest in others per se, others just used for the satisfactions they will bring for oneself.

Personal growth :
does not allow others to develop qualities that might enlarge their life, prefers to keep them for oneself.

Time away :
does not bear when one's children and partner are away because of acute feeling of being insecure : is unable to stay alone.

Jealousy :
highly jealous : no sharing one's children and partner with others. This leads to tendency to control and prevent them from contact with other people, thus restricting their social life.

Care and respect :
is unable to genuinely care and respect others because mostly uses them. If care and affection given, it is only in the hope of getting a return for oneself.

Feelings in life :
feelings of anxiety and compulsiveness not within self-control, unhappiness, fear of loosing one's children and partner, defensive against feelings and emotions, distant.

Notes :

1- we are usually not aware of what our position is  on the continuum : we feel more or less happy in our relationships with our children and our partner but we are not aware of the difference between love and dependency, we commonly confuse them : when we need someone badly we say we "love" that person.

2- one of the results of a successful therapy is that the person becomes less dependent and more truly loving.

3- participants in a project designed to help suffering children should strive to be more on the side of love than on dependency with the children,
i. e. be aware to avoid possessiveness and jealousy with them : to not compete emotionally with the parents and to not try to retain the children more than necessary.

The loving person's trends :

Interplay :
open interest in others, one's children and partner as different persons, no focus on advantages to get from them for oneself.

Personal growth :
allows others to develop all of their abilities even if that might drive them away from oneself.

Time away :
appreciates time spent with one's children and partner but when they are away does not feel any distress, just missing them and being able to continue one's own life in the meantime.

Jealousy :
no jealousy : lets one's children and partner have pleasure with other people, openness, no limits to social contacts.

Care and respect :
disinterested care and respect to others : aims only at making them happy. Care and affection provided out of love with no calculation for getting a return.

Feelings in life :
feelings of blooming, elation : sense of freedom and thankfulness for feeling so well, human fulfillment, openness to all feelings in oneself and in others, closeness.