Dependent Personality Disorder

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Dependent Personality Disorder is a form of co-dependent, narcissistic behavior centering around a fear of abandonment and a need to have direct control over others. Many who suffer from the condition appear capable of expressing empathy for other people’s time, needs, and basic human rights to things like privacy, but they seem functionally incapable of respecting preferred scapegoats and abuse targets.

According to, “Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing need for the person to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned or separated from important individuals in his or her life. This leads the person to engage in dependent and submissive behaviors that are designed to elicit care-giving behaviors in others. The dependent behavior may be seen as being “clingy” or “clinging on” to others, because the person fears they can’t live their lives without the help of others.”

The psychology website shares, “Individuals with Dependent Personality Disorder are often characterized by pessimism and self-doubt, tend to belittle their abilities and assets, and may constantly refer to themselves as “stupid.”

What’s more, “They take criticism and disapproval as proof of their worthlessness and lose faith in themselves. They may seek overprotection and dominance from others. Occupational functioning may be impaired if an independent initiative is required. They may avoid positions of responsibility and become anxious when faced with decisions. Social relations tend to be limited to those few people on whom the individual is dependent.”

The source notes, “Chronic physical illness or Separation Anxiety Disorder in childhood or adolescence may predispose an individual to the development of dependent personality disorder.” However, because they fail to discuss from a compassionate stance there is a difference between a person who willfully behaves in ways that are controlling and disrespectful to other people and a person needing legitimate medical care or companionship services, they miss the mark almost entirely, connecting the Narcissistic Abuse recovery dots for adult children of those with DPD, worn-out spouses, and family members of people who are living with things like chronic pain or a physical health care crisis.

For that reason, please refer to the term CO-DEPENDENT when doing online research about how to deal with controlling, narcissistic, co-dependent individuals. Whether you seek to end co-dependent behaviors in yourself or are striving to more gracefully manage the challenging task of being a caregiver for another,  it’s prudent to avoid leaping to make an armchair diagnosis about Dependency issues. It’s advised to narrow initial search term focus to reading literature more apt to assist a person with figuring out whether or not controlling behaviors are rooted in narcissistic thinking first before leaping to a position likely to encourage victim and/or patient shaming.

Dependent Personality Disorder is an extreme form of co-dependency. It is related to the needful control of other people in an attempt to avoid abandonment. It has nothing to do with a person who requests companion or medical care services that are related to actual need, rather than a need to control, dominate, and undermine life goals (or the everyday lifestyle needs) of other people.

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DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is in no way offering professional advice or psychiatric counseling services. Please contact your local authorities IMMEDIATELY if you feel you are in danger. If you suspect your partner, a loved one, co-worker, or family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, contact your local victim's advocate or domestic violence shelter for more information about how to protect your rights legally and to discuss the potential benefits or dangers of electing to go "no contact" with your abuser(s). Due to the nature of this website's content, we prefer to keep our writer's names ANONYMOUS. Please contact directly to discuss content posted on this website, make special requests, or share your confidential story about Narcissistic Abuse with our staff writers. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

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