Toxic Independence

Our Voice from Italy dives into some deep thoughts—the meaning of life and the boundaries needed in healthy relationships. 



Del på TwitterDel på FacebookDel på TwitterDel på Twitter
Marcello Sanzi
Photo by: Jurien Huggins

I sometimes wonder what the meaning of life is. Here’s the answer I would give myself today: The meaning of life is to find: something, someone, someplace.

Plato told it in his Symposium as well—the famous myth of the apple. We were born separated from what made us whole, our true nature is All with another one. “The will of this All and its quest is what we call Love.”

We have been born broken. To find what we love fixes us, it allows us to operate, it gives us back the integrity whose deprivation is intrinsic in the concept of life itself.

My friend Giorgia, Copacabana beach, Istanbul Gran Bazar, feta cheese, flamenco music. Here they are, some of the things that—in the moment that interacted with me—didn’t simply please me. Indeed, they gave me back a piece of me. They gave sense to my life.

Sense: what sounds more fair than that?

Misconceptions about emotional dependence

Still, I’ve got the feeling that our society has misconceptions about cherishing someone or something. Love or affection are not always perceived as something healthy—they are quite often convoluted and considered compared to a disease. There’s a name for this negative affection: emotional dependence. To care, can sometimes become indisputably wrong.

What could be considered correct, is to be enough for oneself—to be happy in one’s independent life. This could perhaps be related to the spread of several kinds of philosophies, teaching that if we learn to be sufficient to ourselves, we will be happier and achieve more goals.

The object or person we cherish is just an illusion, something outside of our control that could be there today, but could leave tomorrow—followed by sorrow, sadness, or loss. Perhaps it’s better to learn to stay alone? Independence becomes a new Religion, and, as it sometimes goes with religions, it can divide, convict, and judge.

Several psychologists worldwide were perplexed by how easily some of their colleagues diagnosed emotional dependence. It is in fact normal to be attached to what or who we care about. If we are afraid to lose someone, the most normal reaction could be to feel some negative emotions in those moments—a truly human reaction.

Not a one-size fits all

The subject is of course knotty. Setting boundaries when discussing feelings is not easy.
On the one hand — it seems like independence could free us from fear and help us lead a happier life. At least that’s the message that we’re currently led to believe. If we assume we have an abundance of self-worth, it makes sense indeed.

Personally—I believe that we are not enough at all. A part of us is kept by someone else, something else; a part of us is carried by those outside of our home, it very well may be out of our country. •