“You are a part of my soul and without it, I’m left only with agony.”
Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD). This is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders. In a way, it’s like having low resilience. It’s a gateway disorder that leads to more disorders, from depression to other personality disorders.
As the name suggests, ‘dependent personality disorder’ is when a person comes off as being needy and clingy. It’s when she can’t decide matters on her own. She cannot bear the thought of being alone. Any kind of criticism or disapproval from an individual means a kind of worthlessness on her part. Her need for attention A. K. A, love is so intense she is ready to sacrifice and become as submissive as a slave. The fear of abandonment and rejection drowns her in anxiety every day, she is inflicted with self-doubt and pessimism. DPD sufferers go to extreme lengths to please others, even accepting verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Always feeling inadequate, being passive, and self-defeating personality.
DPD should be distinguished from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In borderline personality disorder, the person responds to fears of abandonment with feelings of rage and emptiness. With DPD, the person responds to the fear with submissiveness and seeks another relationship to maintain his or her dependency. BPD is more aggressive and impulsive in nature.
There are many risk factors that play a role in a person acquiring DPD. As follows:
• Severe neglect or abuse during childhood.
• Being in an abusive relationship for a long time.
• Having overbearing and overprotective parents.
• Having a history of any kind of anxiety disorder. Self or family.
• Children with chronic illness.
• Separation anxiety.
The main causes are not known as to why this disorder manifests but some psychologist believe it’s a learned disorder or more like the lack of not learning to be independent. When parents use the authoritarian style of parenting a bit too much. They limit the child’s autonomic skills. Parents might also teach them that ‘if you don’t comply with the rules you will be left all alone.’
There is a higher frequency of the disorder seen in women than men, hence expectations relating to gender role may contribute to some extent.
Medical treatment isn’t advised for this disorder as it doesn’t treat the roots like other therapies do. There is also a danger as the chances of substance abuse is high in DPD. The most common types of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, used to treat DPD are psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Both focus on exploring fears associated with independence and difficulty being assertive, as well as learning how to build self-confidence and healthy relationships.
The psychologist will help you identify the past experiences that strengthened DPD. They will help you disintegrate your maladaptive behaviours, including unrealistic judgment and low self-confidence. They can also help with the constant internal monologues in your head and helplessness with your insecurities. They can also help you take care of yourself better.
People rarely come to a psychotherapist to have their characters transformed; they mostly want solutions to specific problems in their lives. Being dependent is normal. We are all born totally dependent on others, and human interdependence continues throughout life. The closer we are to people the more secure we feel. But when this need becomes excessive in a neurotic way it ruins lives.