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Quick Facts

Dependent Personality Disorder


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

A personality disorder isn't just an unusual personality. It's when your personality traits cause significant problems in your life or keep you from relating normally to others.

What is dependent personality disorder?

Dependent personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of feeling extremely dependent on other people to take care of them

People with dependent personality disorder often:

  • Fear they can't take care of themselves and worry about being abandoned

  • Appear submissive and needy so others will want to take care of them

  • Lack confidence and need a lot of reassurance

  • Ask for advice, even for simple decisions

  • Let others make decisions for them, for example, having their spouse tell them what to wear, what job to take, and who their friends are

  • Let others take advantage of them, such as by agreeing to do unpleasant tasks for them

  • Tolerate physical, emotional, or sexual abuse for fear of losing the abuser's support

  • Have a hard time disagreeing with others even when they're in the right

  • Have a hard time starting projects on their own or working independently, but when they feel reassured that someone is supporting them, they usually function all right

Most people seek help or advice from others at times and try to be agreeable. However, this kind of behavior can become a disorder if people let others rule their lives or even abuse them, or if people can't function in the workplace.

What causes dependent personality disorder?

Dependent personality disorder is probably caused by a combination of:

  • Traits that run in families

  • Bad experiences in childhood

  • Anxiety

How do doctors treat dependent personality disorder?

Doctors treat dependent personality disorder with:

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