A sure-fire formula for unhappiness
The signs
The choices
The spectrum
Where are you on the scale above?
What do you choose to do?
Suggested follow-up reading


After childhood, being dependent makes no sense and is a sure-fire formula for unhappiness (and suffering).  If one is dependent one "depends on" others and circumstances to make one happy (usually instead of creating it themselves!).  Since  one cannot control others nor all circumstances, this strategy/viewpoint is unworkable. 

Someone operating at this level has a life that is out of control, in the hands of others, with lots of disappointments, lots of attempts at control and manipulation, and lots of effort with not much reward.   And lots of anxiety waiting to see if someone else will come through.

But many people refuse to give it up, holding onto it in hopes that it will provide some payoff somehow.

But it won't, other than a few random happenings.


People who are dependent need:

     Approval (validation, love) from others in order to be happy
     Somebody to meet their "needs" (vs. Give to self what is needed)

They are "hurt" if others don't do what is "right".  If others are "insensitive" to their needs or their vulnerabilities, they are "hurt".  If others don't express approval of something they did, they feel "hurt"


God, it's terrible to be dependent!  It's like being held up  in the air by several people who just might choose to leave and let you fall to the ground with a big crash. 

Being independent is like building a platform to be on, where no one need support you and you do not have to be careful of falling in that way. 

Being interdependent is like standing side by side with people building something together.

And when one is truly independent and not into needing approval or being dependent, then one can choose the most effective way of living life by being independently inter-dependent.  This person would be strong  and responsible on his/her own.  He/she would access his/her wisdom where one knows that one can productively engage in “inter-dependence".   (There is a nice discussion on this in Stephen Covey’s "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People".)


The spectrum looks like this:

   Childhood                                 Adult                                 Wise Adult

   Dependent                           Independent                          Interdependent

   Vulnerable                          Not vulnerable                       Not vulnerable

An infant is totally dependent and powerless.  A child begins to develop knowledge and ability to care for oneself, but is still largely dependent on another for survival, attaching being loved as a necessary part of survival.  The latter does make some sense as a child, but not as a capable adult. 

An adult has learned that he is capable, powerful, and independent.  But that independence is not like that of an immature teenager who is dependent but trying to fight that dependence and prove that he is independent.  An adult who holds onto "being hurt" is holding on to the dependency of a child.  Indeed, being hurt places one in the lower parts of the spectrum, holding onto the childhood beliefs and viewpoints.  One cannot progress until one has looked at each of those rationally and replace them with true viewpoints.

I, repeat, one cannot progress until  one has looked at each of those childhood beliefs rationally and replaced them with true viewpoints.  There is no way around it.   It is an absolute necessity along the road to being effective in life.  One cannot jump over it or skip it if one wants to be effective in life, period!!!!

The wise adult has engaged in consistent learning (not waiting for life to teach him/her in some hoped for way) and arrived at the point where he/she chooses freely without resistance.  Thus there is no resistance to the idea of interdependence.  There is no belief that one is weakened by it, no teenage rebellion left against it. 


If you're vulnerable and subject to hurt feelings, you would have to put yourself on the spectrum somewhere below the adult.  If you are not smartly interdependent, then you are just an adult, doing fairly well in life but not fully prospering.  Of course, your life and your happiness will reflect the part of the scale you're on, regardless of your intelligence or looks: 

A suffering life with lots of ups and downs:  the thinking of a child of some age.  

A life where you have fewer and lesser ups and downs and some happiness, but don't quite have a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment in life: somewhere around the average adult. 

A life where you are effective, prosper, feel fulfilled and are almost always happy:  in the wise adult range.

A note here:  Inter-dependent Dependence is actually closer to just plain dependence, though it could vary somewhat in that the individual might “give” with strings attached and make the other wrong if they didn’t do as expected, a bit like a “powerless” child with a touch of cleverness. 

The point here is, of course, that if you are not at the wise adult, non-vulnerable, independently interdependent level you would definitely benefit from doing what it takes to identify all of your dependency and no-power beliefs hanging over from childhood, see which are true, and then replace them with what is actually true as in The Belief Changing ProcessThere is no way around this if one wants to lead a strong, peace of mind, effective, fulfilled, happy life.


What do you choose to do going forward from now?

___ Just move on and do nothing.

___ Improve this a bit.

___ Commit to doing it diligently until I get to that higher point, so I can live my
       best life.


Read these in this order, going to relevant, related articles as needed to be sure you are knowledgeable in all the basics behind these.

Live through the tools and decisions of a child? 
    The Child Persona      The Adult Persona 
Primitive Brain Thinking 
Approval    Rejection 
I am powerless     I am not good enough 
Loving Oneself
     Give to self what is needed 
The Belief Changing Process   
Primary Attributes Of The Happy And The Unhappy 


Dependency - "Giving Away Your Power

In Stephen Covey's superbestselling book, The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, in his key diagram he notes that we are moving from dependency on through indepence to the objective, which is to be (wisely) interdependent, as needed and appropriate.

Avoid Co-Dependence: Do I Have Some Patterns Of Codependency?


See the recommended follow up reading at the end of this article.