People with Dependent Personality Disorder feel the need to be taken care of. They are fearful of separation or abandonment which can lead to clingy behaviour. This behaviour in turn can lead to others taking advantage of them. As people with Dependent Personality Disorder require constant reassurance, they may find it difficult to make decisions and to complete tasks or projects on their own. They have a tendency to belittle themselves and to agree with people, even when they know the person is wrong.
In order for Dependent Personality Disorder to be diagnosed, the client must meet at least five of the following criteria:
- Requires excessive reassurance from others in order to make decisions
- Needs others to assume responsibility for major areas of life
- Finds it difficult to express disagreement for fearing loss of approval or support
- Finds it difficult to carry out projects on own
- Will go to excessive lengths to gain nurture and support, even by volunteering for unpleasant tasks
- When alone feels discomfort or helplessness
- Urgently seeks another relationship after a close one is lost
- Is preoccupied to an unrealistic extent with fears of being abandoned and left to take care of themselves.