Need for Care
Individuals with dependent personality disorder do not think they can take care of themselves. They use submissiveness to try to get other people to take care of them.
Individuals with this disorder typically require much reassurance and advice when making ordinary decisions.
They often let others, often one person, take responsibility for many aspects of their life. For example, they may depend on their spouse to tell them what to wear, what kind of job to look for, and with whom to associate.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder tend to interact socially with only the few people they depend on.
When a close relationship ends, individuals with this disorder immediately try to find a replacement. Because of their desperate need to be taken care of, they may not be discriminating in choosing a replacement.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder have an excessive fear of abandonment by those they depend on, even when there is no reason to.
Because individuals with dependent personality disorder fear losing support or approval, they have difficulty expressing disagreement with others.
They may agree to something they know is wrong rather than risk losing the help of others. Even when anger is appropriate, they do not get angry at friends and co-workers for fear of losing their support.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder go to great lengths to obtain care and support. For example, they may do unpleasant tasks, submit to unreasonable demands, and even tolerate physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
Being alone makes them feel extremely uncomfortable or afraid because they fear they cannot take care of themselves.
Lack of Confidence
Individuals with dependent personality disorder consider themselves inferior and tend to belittle their abilities.
They interpret any criticism or disapproval as proof of their incompetence, further undermining their confidence.
Lack of Independence
Because individuals with dependent personality disorder are sure that they cannot do anything on their own, they have difficulty starting a new task and working independently.
They avoid tasks that require taking responsibility.
They present themselves as incompetent and needing constant help and reassurance.
When reassured that a competent person is supervising and approving of them, individuals with dependent personality disorder tend to function adequately.
However, they do not want to appear too competent lest they be abandoned. As a result, their career may be harmed.
They perpetuate their dependency because they tend not to learn skills of independent living.