This personality disorder is characterized by a person who is generally passive (receiving or subjected to an action without acting in return) in most relationships, allows others to assume responsibility, lacks self-confidence, feels helpless, and tends to tolerate abusiveness from others.
Difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of their life.
Difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval.
Difficulty initiating projects or doing things on their own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy).
Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant.
Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves.
Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends.
Unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of themselves.
We are born with a genetically determined temperament that will continually influence our behaviors throughout life. Understanding of personality disorders and how it affects your life is important -- increased awareness does not lead to radical change but rather to a smoothing of the rough edges and a greater ease of going with their natural flow. To either change or learn how to work with and around personality disorders will require large doses of honesty, hard work, humility, and courage.
Realize that you have a strong need to be cared for and a tendency to be submissive.
Less ambitious approach is to improve your skill in choosing the right caretakers and in accepting help in a way that gratifies rather than annoys them.
The more ambitious approach is to take gradual steps toward independence -- and the first step is usually the most difficult, start small.
Treatment goals should focus on goal development, developing appropriate affect and expression of emotions, improving communication, improving self-esteem, increasing independent behavior, improving decision-making skill, improving stress management, cognitive restructuring, and decreasing sensitivity.
Information and or Criteria summarized from:
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Added Oct 03, 2001.