301.6 Dependent Personality Disorder

Diagnostic criteria DSM-IV-TR:

A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others

(2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life

(3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. Note: do not include realistic fears of retribution.

(4) has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)

(5) goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant

(6) feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself

(7) urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends

(8) is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself

Dependent Personality Disorder: must be distinguished from dependence arising from mood disorders.

In my case, dependence stems from unresolved conflict in parental relationships, along with long-term adjustment issues, eating disorder leading to major depression, which became more complicated as time went on. My dependence is not something I accept, and it is definitely a major part of my wish to die. I also don't really want to stay in any relationship in which I am dependent, and the longer a relationship goes on, the more hopeless the idea of 'paying back' what I owe, or achieving the kind of equality I associate with love.

My pattern in long-term relationships is to tell the other that I think it best if we do not stay together, and I behave in ways such that I withdraw from the relationship, to make it easier for an eventual split. I do this consciously. However, the two people I have had long-term relationships with have experienced isolation to a degree that makes it difficult to let go, and they may also have a different kind of dependency issue. In reality, we probably stayed together until we had other options that were viable, such that the benefit to each was better than if we each lived alone.

Individuals with DPD see relationships with significant others as necessary for survival. They do not define themselves as able to function independently; they have to be in supportive relationships to be able to manage their lives. In order to establish and maintain these life-sustaining relationships, people with DPD will avoid even covert expressions of anger. They will be more than meek and docile; they will be admiring, loving, and willing to give their all. They will be loyal, unquestioning, and affectionate. They will be tender and considerate toward those upon whom they depend (Millon, 1981, p. 114). Dependent individuals play the inferior role to the superior other very well; they communicate to the dominant people in their lives that they are useful, sympathetic, strong, and competent (Millon, 1981, p. 114). With these methods, individuals with DPD are often able to get along with unpredictable, isolated, or unpleasant people (Kantor, 1992, p. 170). To further make this possible, individuals with DPD will approach both their own and others' failures and shortcomings with a saccharine attitude and indulgent tolerance (Millon, 1981, p. 113). They will engage in a mawkish minimization, denial, or distortion of both their own and others' negative, self-defeating, or destructive behaviors to sustain an idealized, and sometimes fictional, story of the relationships upon which they depend. They will deny their individuality, their differences, and ask for little other than acceptance and support (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 332).


I found the above judgmental and prejudiced, not only against those who are considered to have dependent personality disorder, but against those who would accept them as mates.

In society today, despite feminism, there is still a lot of pressure exerted by the myth of ideal love/romance. Many people are highly impressed by extreme displays of loyalty and devotion, and think of these as representative of true love. It is not just an individual thing, it is a cultural thing.

If you are going to ridicule people for their unconditional love, why not target those with unconditional love for Jesus, Buddha, L. Ron et al?

I don't think ridicule is the way to go in any circumstance. I think it is better to focus on trying to understand how a person's belief system was formed, and what forces in their experience/lives led to the coping mechanisms that have kicked in or been inherited.

There are dependent features to my 'diagnosis', but I don't think I have dependent personality disorder. I think my dependence is one of the things that contributes to low self-esteem and that it is a result of pre-existing conditions. It may be considered passive- aggressive if it is unconsciously a way of punishing my father for misunderstanding me, such that I 'force' him (and all those who followed) to support me through playing dependent. But consciously, in relationships, my insistence on not withholding important info from people, and my need to explain when I am angry are important examples of confronting relationship issues directly.

I do not have a need to idealize my relationships (including the ones I am dependent upon), and I do not deny my own individuality or our differences, and I definitely want a more complete relationship than I have had - and have been willing to speak up.

It is my carefully considered opinion that all people need more feedback. Much of the time, people go without support that could be of benefit to them if others would only take a moment to share their thoughts. I also think that I can notice individual qualities that other people may miss and fail to appreciate. There is a difference between this and just sucking up to a person because you are not a person yourself. I consider this kind of communication to be a part of what is necessary to improve the human environment as a whole. Not just support, but constructive criticism, more detailed discussion, the willingness to say what usually remains unsaid.

I am able to initiate tasks and projects on my own, and to form my own opinions, even when they are contrary to those of others I have known and respected.

My wish for another relationship does not have the focus of wanting to be dependent on someone - it is consciously about the wish to interact intimately with another human being, with the possibility of greater intimacy than I have achieved before. Each relationship I have had has contributed something to my understanding which has perhaps made it possible I might find a more complete match. If a person wished to break up with me, I would not fight the break up, but would try to help make it smoother. In a way, even in my long-term relationships, I have both feared and wished for the independence that would come if the person would break up with me. At the same time, I think of myself as moving toward this myself, and that my actions demonstrate this.















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