What is a Dependent Personality Disorder?
Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is a condition whose symptoms revolve around anxiety. Someone who has DPD might be unable to take care of themselves; they might struggle with tasks others find simple and find it hard to make decisions. Even though many people like being taken care of once in a while, having DPD comes with a lack of self-reliance and being overly dependent on another person.
What are The Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder?
DPD is a personality disorder which means it affects a person on many different levels; someone who struggles with this disorder might not only feel the need to have others take care of them but also believe they’re unable to do so themselves. As a result, they might come across as clingy and needy to other people.
A person who suffers from DPD might need a lot of reassurance: they might pressure their partners to confirm they still like them and rely on others to tell them what to wear, what to eat, what job to apply for, etc. Since they’re overly dependent on others, they also try hard to please them because a rejection or a relationship breakup can trigger their fear of abandonment and make them feel helpless. Unfortunately, this might often mean they’re unable to leave abusive relationships and struggle to be on their own. Overall, a person with DPD tends to lack self-confidence and display passive and submissive behaviour.
The Difference Between Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder
While these two terms sound similar, they aren’t the same thing. Codependency is a type of learned behaviour coming from a belief that your partner’s needs are more important than your own.
When you’re codependent, you enjoy taking care of your partner and need to feel needed. On the other hand, when you’re dependent, you want others to take care of you.
What Causes Dependent Personality Disorder?
The exact cause isn’t known, although many researchers agree that risk factors for developing DPD are a history of abuse, a family history of personality disorders and a strict or overprotective parenting style.
If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat with one of our trained mental health professionals.