The connection between relationship dependency and self esteem is so important. We live in a society that idolizes relationships. Every time we look at an ad, or watch a show on television, it emphasizes this. Most people haven’t had the joy that comes from health and comfort of being an independent whole person. Think about it.
So many times people grow up as kids, go from relationship to relationship as teenagers and young adults, eventually become married, and eventually have kids without ever having a chance to develop their own potential, without having a chance to explore other aspects of the world. Even if not married, people tend to be focused on getting into romantic relationships, which prevents them from appreciating their own wholeness as an individual.
When you go to another person with the goal of fulfilling a void inside yourself, the relationship, no matter how shallow, quickly becomes the center of your life. It offers a comfort that is reassuring and predictable, so you keep returning to the relationship for a fix. The more often this happens, the more dependency grows and becomes addictive. Overtime, the idea of separating from that person or (people) makes you very scared, anxious, or tense.
A person who doesn’t have their own self-worth or esteem tries to fill it with someone else’s worth. Sometimes people try to get all their needs met from one partner and sometimes they go from partner to partner (or are sexually promiscuous or “loose”) to try to do the IMPOSSIBLE. Which is getting self-esteem from someone else. Self-worth can only come from self.
Dependency isn’t only in “love relationships” but can also be in friendships. Any two people who are seeking self-worth outside themselves can create a dependent relationship. The more self-worth they can take from that friend, the more dependent they will become on that friend.
The lower the self-worth of a person, the more friends they need in order to fulfill their own self-worth. However don’t confuse this with the great exchange that happens between two friends who both have high self-worth. Sharing and dependency are two different things.
Only through development as an individual, can you ever build the self-esteem that helps you choose to be in a relationship with someone who also has high self-esteem. Then you can share your worth, rather than use each other or allow yourself to be used. Personal high self-worth is absolutely necessary for any healthy relationship.
Here are more resources on relationship dependency and self esteem.