Being alone is can be incredibly scary for a lot of people. No one enjoys feeling lonely, but for some, that fear overtakes their lives. That fear can be a controlling force in their lives that causes them to become codependent on others. These people may be exhibiting symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder.
Fear. Alone time is important, but many people fear the idea of ending up alone. For some, that fear consumes their lives and begins to affect their daily activities. It’s something that can cause them to become codependent on others.
DPD. People who become overly dependent on others may be exhibiting symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD). Anyone can experience this disorder, but it frequently shows up among young adults. It also affects both men and women equally.
Signs. Psychologist from ParentingPod.com Lauren Keegan explained to Bustle, “Do you know someone who jumps headfirst into a relationship after another ends? Or hates to be alone? They can’t make decisions without their partner’s input or is always putting themselves down? These are some of the signs of [DPD].”
Behavior. She continued, “In adults, DPD is a condition where someone has a long-lasting and excessive need to be taken care of by someone else–usually by a romantic partner, but it could also be a parent. It typically leads to submissive and clingy behavior and an intense fear of separation.”So what are some of the more noticeable signs of DPD? Let’s take a look.
Struggle Making Decisions. People with DPD have a difficult time making decisions. They will oftentimes need a lot of reassurance and input from others when trying to make any kind of decision. They will also often put their needs below those of others.
Struggle Standing Up for Themselves. People with DPD tend to struggle standing up for themselves. Dr Raichbach explained to Romper, “Dependent personality disorder usually stems from unhealthy relationships that developed early in life, most notably with parental figures.” He continued, “Childhood neglect, abuse, and overprotective parenting have a big impact on an individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence. A lack of faith in oneself, including their abilities and their decision-making, can cause that person to feel reliant on others.”
Opening up to people can be difficult, but for those with DPD it’s nearly impossible. They’re terrified that opening up and being honest could cost them their relationship.
Keegan told Bustle, “They have difficulties expressing their true feelings for fear of disapproval or a breakdown in the relationship. For example, agreeing to do things that feel wrong to keep another person satisfied.”
Can’t Be Alone. This one may be pretty obvious but the feelings someone with DPD experiences when they’re alone is pretty unbearable. They tend to be overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness and are incredibly vulnerable. When a relationship ends they will often move on quickly because their fears are too much for them.
Can’t Be Alone. Crystal I Lee PsyD, a clinical psychologist, told Bustle, “A person with DPD jumps from relationship to relationship. They feel incredibly anxious and upset when they’re not in a relationship. Not only do they feel unloved and abandoned, but they also feel lost because they don’t have confidence in supporting themselves or making decisions for themselves.”
Needy. People with DPD tend to come across as very needy. They require a lot of attention and are always worried when they’re not getting enough, because they worry they’ve done something wrong. They require a lot of reassurance from those around them as well.
Obsessed with Unrealistic Fears. Many people with DPD tend to become obsessed with unrealistic fears. They become preoccupied with worry over being alone and in some cases it will begin to interfere with their everyday lives and how they function.
Now that you know what dependent personality disorder is, what can you do?
Self-Care. With a bit of time, patience and help from others people can overcome this disorder. In an email to Romper, Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD, LCSW, of Ambrosia Treatment Center, wrote, “Self-care is an excellent tool for those with DPD because it not only helps with the anxiety component of DPD, but it’s a way for the individual to gain a sense of independence and self-confidence.”
Overcome. He continued, “Meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness are all self-care techniques that can help individuals overcome their anxiety and build a sense of self-realization.”