What Are The Complications Of Dependent Personality Disorder?

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

What Are The Complications Of Dependent Personality Disorder?

Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is a disorder in which a person has an extreme fear of abandonment. This fear causes a person to go to great lengths to prevent abandonment or rejection. People with DPD face many issues with regard to the way they see themselves and the people around them. A person with DPD will see himself or herself as helpless, hopeless and worthless. He or she will have low self-esteem and a poor self-image. Because of this core belief the person with DPD will believe that others will leave them. In fact, many with DPD do not understand why their loved ones stick by them for as long as they do. They constantly live in a state of fear for the day those people leave. This causes extreme efforts to prevent them from leaving, like acting ill, needy or submissive.

Suffering from DPD causes many different complications in a person’s life. Like any personality disorder, the way a person with DPD sees himself or herself in relation to the world is dysfunctional. This causes many complications, including:

Relationship issues

The number one complaint from those with DPD is relationship issues. People with DPD rely heavily on the emotional and physical support they receive from loved ones. They are so desperate to prevent people from slipping away that they become overbearing. The stress that a person with DPD puts on himself or herself and the people involved is overwhelming. This often creates tension, resentments, and other issues in a relationship.

Self-image issues

People with DPD have a poor self-image and low self-esteem. DPD occurs as a result of a person not believing that he or she is worth the affections of others. They feel that they are not worthy of happy, healthy lives and are overly critical about their issues. They also have a hard time accepting criticism or responsibility for their actions. People with DPD do not feel empowered or able to take control of their lives. This results in the heavy dependence on the people around them.

Dependence issues

People with DPD are heavily dependent on anyone who is willing to engage with the dependent behavior. Due to the poor self-image and the enabling from others, a person with DPD rarely takes responsibility for himself or herself. People with DPD depend on others to keep them well and help them complete the things they need to do. Because of this dependence a person with DPD will often experience anxiety and depression. This is due to a number of reasons, including:

  • The lack of confidence in oneself
  • The avoidance of voicing one’s opinion or expressing a complaint or reason for upset
  • Living with the constant fear of being abandoned
  • Feeling he or she is a victim in many of the issues that occur with his or her life and relationships.

Living with DPD is a difficult thing to cope with on a daily basis. DPD causes anxiety for different reasons that reach beyond the need to feel accepted by others. People with DPD crave the validation and security felt from their relationships with people. This crave is insatiable and the behavior will continue to grow as the need for validation grows. It is important for a person with DPD to seek treatment. Mental health services will help the person suffering from DPD break the cycle and work toward a healthy lifestyle.


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