Emotional Oversharing – Codependency and Love Addiction
Relationship Coach and Psychotherapist, Alan Robarge, talks about emotional oversharing and how it can actually serve to push others away. Borrowing a phrase by Pia Mellody from her book Facing Love Addiction, Alan breaks down the phrase, “Share your reality in moderation.”
The dynamics of emotional oversharing and overcompensating come from having lived in a family where emotional engagement was lacking. We learn from childhood to cover up our insecurity of vulnerability and underlying anxiety that results when parents or family members are not fully present and emotionally attuned. Overcompensating emotionally becomes an adaptive response that we take into our adult relationships.
This means we lack the skill to notice or wait for emotional invitations from others and mostly take the lead in the exchange. We become the initiators and will feel uncomfortable when others fail to reciprocate. The paradox or dual purpose of the oversharing is that it actually pushes people away. It actually protects us and puts us in control of emotional vulnerability.
We do this by setting the bar high early on so that to even begin to emotionally connect, another person will have to join us at an already high level of disclosure and openness. This can be off putting for some and/or feel too much too soon. We protect ourselves in this way but in the end undermine our more over-arching need for connection. We end up recreating scenarios where our emotional needs will not be met just as they were ignored in our families.
A practical solution to begin to work with this dynamic is to learn to pause and wait for emotional invitations from others. When we pause, we can practice not always taking the lead or initiating the disclosure. Another practical skill and approach to apply here is to work with underlying anxiety that surfaces when we notice gaps or moments of non-emotional exchange. We must learn to self-soothe and comfort ourselves in those moments when non-emotional exchange is anxiety-provoking.
Finally, we also need to look at the people in our lives and assess if they have the skills necessary to practice emotional disclosure. If they do not, then we need to put forth some effort into connecting with others who do have this skill and who value mutual emotional exchange and connection.
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I offer Attachment-Focused Relationship Coaching and Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples. I work with adult clients dealing with relationship challenges or failures, lack of purpose, emotional-developmental trauma, and loneliness. I help clients solve problems, feel feelings, and get unstuck. I work with clients both in the US and Canada via telephone and video-conferencing.
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Attachment-Focused Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach