This is one of our basic problems, since our society demands conformity. Separation anxiety, as Wikipedia correctly points out, is a normal part of childhood. But dysfunction families make it clear (unconsciously) that the child cannot exist separate from its parents. In my opinion, the inability to be affects many of us, and can even result in death.
I speak as an expert because of my personal experience. The last time I saw my mother, she was dying from cancer, but she was a domineering as ever. I was almost forty, but as helpless as a small child when I was around her. This was summer in Illinois, when the heat and humidity are awesome. But I was freezing. She made it clear that as far as she was concerned, I did not exist.
My ex-wife had even more severe emotional problems, because she came from an even more dysfunctional family. She had a severe psychotic episode, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. To me, it was simply a matter of not being able to be a common-sense diagnosis that made perfect sense. To make a long story short, she left me and a few years later killed herself.
Even more recently I had a man friend here in Orosi. I could tell he was having a serious emotional conflict with his wife, and he seemed to be on the losing side. I tried to support him emotionally, but could not. He developed strange, serious health problems that could not be solved.I told some of the other Americans here, that also knew the family well, that he was dying – and boy did they tear into me! I was not allowed to say that, and they practically killed me as well. When he did die, a few days later, not a world was said about it, and he was buried before I even knew he was gone.
What do all these stories have in common? Serious conflicts of various kinds, which probably include separation anxiety – both from parents and from society itself – and the two overlap. It is very common to find spouses where one dominates the other. And often this results in the serious health problems, or death, for the weaker one.
It seems like the weaker one actually wants to be destroyed. Why? Because he is bad for trying to be himself, and be independent of the other – where the other can be the mass to which he belongs. This is the normal situation in most companies, or other organizations. Any individuality is destroyed.
Good psychotherapists should be aware of this and help their clients with this problem. Instead, they ignore it and take care of their need to be respectable instead. I speak from experience here too.
One final point – when anyone or any group feels it must behave a certain way, that it has no choice in the matter – it is as good as dead. And this is the way most feel – they are in the grips of something bigger than them – progress, perhaps – that they cannot oppose.
They cannot separate themselves from it.