Too Close for Comfort

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The goal of this article is to help you recognize unhealthy relationships by:

  • Exposing the problem of Relational Dependency.
  • Examining the unhealthy attachment style of a controlling person.
  • The Obsessive Love Wheel as part of Obsessive Relational Progression.
  • Summary: Working towards change.

Recognizing an Unhealthy Attachment to the Relationship

Dan has a problem. “I just got dumped again”, he admits with a hint of embarrassment in his voice. “She accused me of smothering her to death and claimed that I had become too controlling. I’m not sure what happened to be honest with you, because I treated her so well. It seems like all of my relationships end up this way and frankly, I’m getting sick of it.”

Gayle reports a slightly different problem. “I’ve been dating this guy for about three months and I am about ready to pull the plug on the relationship. I hate doing it, but what else can I do? He makes me account for every moment of my time and I’m starting to feel trapped,” he explains. “The phone rings half a dozen times each day and it’s always him, calling to harass me about my daily activities and then laying on a guilt trip for not showing her enough attention. I feel like I don’t have a life anymore because she monopolizes all of my time.”

Can you relate? If so, you are not alone. Dan and Gayle’s problem points to the hidden frustration of countless people who have discovered that being in a relationship means living in hell. At some point, all of us experience a certain amount of anxiety with the person we are romantically involved with and it’s only natural to expect accountability.

But if she’s telling you that “you are a control freak” or if you have been made to feel as if though a chain has been placed around your neck, then there might be a more serious problem at hand called Relational Dependency (RD). Simply put, relational dependency is part of an overall process by which an individual develops an unhealthy attachment to his or her relationship. This means that for some people, there is a misguided need to be romantically involved with another in order to experience self-validation. What’s more, RD people subconsciously believe that by using controlling, manipulative behaviors, they can somehow trap love.

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Down to earth and folksy, Dr. John Moore infuses current eventsand pop-culture into his posts as a way of communicating larger points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsession and founder of Chicago based 2nd Story Counseling.

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