Dependent Personality Disorder: Difficulties in Relationships

Apart from the pain and anxiety that a sufferer of Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) suffers on a daily basis, there are also considerable interpersonal problems that accompany this disorder.

For family and friends, there is a constant need for reassurance and approval required that can lead to frustration and even rejection of the sufferer. Rejection by others is greatly feared by sufferers; ironically it is their need for support and constant reassurance that either causes arguments or actually drives people away. Both are fearful results for the sufferer.

The constant changing of the mind and continual requests for advice are also not conducive to good interpersonal relationships. Husbands may become frustrated because their wives are unable to successfully make even minor decisions about household purchases or children's activities. Wives may be driven to distraction because their husbands fail to advance in their careers or even lose their jobs due to their inability to cope with the demands of the working world.

Children of sufferers of this disorder also do not experience a consistent, competent template for dealing with life. They also can feel unloved and emotionally abandoned by the parent because the parent is too afraid to stand up for their child when the need arises. Nobody wins.

Trouble in therapy can also arise because the client becomes overly dependent on the therapist to make decisions in their lives. The goals of therapy are to make the person more independent and to take personal responsibility for their lives. Often childhood trauma or separation from significant carers in early life interferes with the normal bonding that occurs in infancy, thus resulting in excessive and unrealistic fears of abandonment.

Dealing with early belief experiences, coupled with therapy focused on developing self esteem and positive self-beliefs are the principle tools for changing the way the sufferer deals with the world around them.

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