Therapy for Dependent Personality Disorder in Beverly Hills, MI—Counselors
See if you can recognize this story: A little girl’s mother passes away, and in his grief, her father remarries a woman with two daughters. Before long, the father also passes away, and the stepmother forces the little girl to live in poverty and become the family’s servant. The little girl complies willingly with the outlandish demands of her step sisters—without fail and without thanks. Over time, the little girl grows up, but she does not advocate for herself. Instead, others step in to rescue her. Her animal friends and fairy-Godmother scheme to deliver her safely to her prince. Of course, this story is the famous story of Cinderella, but what is less well-known is that the story is an illustration of Dependent Personality Disorder or “The Cinderella Complex.” When people fear independence, are overly obedient toward authority figures, and desire to be rescued (or cared for) by someone else, they may have developed Dependent Personality Disorder.
When people have this disorder, mutual relationships are difficult because they often escalate into caretaking relationships. Individuals often have low self-esteem and an intense desire to please authorities in their lives. They also often have the expectation that those authority figure will in turn provide for them. Dependent Personality Disorder introduces many difficulties into a person’s life, but there are treatments available. Many people work with a mental health professional and learn how to live their own, independent life.
The therapists at Thriveworks Beverly Hills have worked with many clients who have Dependent Personality Disorder, and we provide therapy for the disorder. We love helping our clients learn how competent they are of providing for their own emotional, physical, and financial needs.
Dependent Personality Disorder: How It Develops
It can be easy to mistake Dependent Personality Disorder for developmentally appropriate behavior or cultural practices. Often, the disorder is not diagnosed until adulthood for that very reason. When teens or children rely upon their parents or go through a clingy stage of development, that is not a disorder. Some cultures display deferential treatment toward their elders and toward authority. This behavior is not a disorder.
In contrast, Dependent Personality Disorder (301.6[F70.7]) often keeps people from entering into adulthood. Its full symptoms are outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and these symptoms often keep people trapped in dependency. Instead of living a self-sufficient life as a fully-functional adult, people often stay adolescents. The disorder also comes with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other personality/adjustment disorders.
Dependent Personality Disorder: Symptoms
Dependent Personality Disorder twists people’s thinking in two distinct ways. First, it teaches them that other people need to provide for them. Second, it teaches them that they cannot provide for themselves. Thus, people with the disorder look to others, usually authority figures, to meet their emotional, financial, material, and psychological needs. They are often clingy and needy, and thus, they may have difficulty developing mutually beneficial relationships. Their social circles are often limited to family members. They may also underestimate their own skills and abilities while being their own worst detractor.
Diagnostics outlined in the DSM-5 emphasize three primary symptoms that will be present in the disorder:
- Anxiety when separated from care givers.
- Behavior that is overly deferential.
- A core need for someone to care for them.
Five of the following symptoms will also be present:
- Refusing to make any choices without first consulting with an authority figure for advice and reassurance.
- If a caregiving relationship ends, quickly replacing it with a new relationship.
- Adapting what one feels or values or thinks to what others want in order to ensure their approval.
- Releasing significant portions of one’s life to another person. For example, a parent who runs errands for a child or pays a child’s bills.
- An extreme fear of having to care for oneself.
- Feeling discomfort when alone and going to extremes to be around other people.
- An extreme fear of being abandoned.
Even a passing glance at the symptoms shows that the disorder can cause severe challenges in an individual’s life. Personally, individuals with the disorder struggle with meaningful relationships. Professionally, they often struggle to obtain and maintain gainful employment.
Scheduling Therapy at Thriveworks Beverly Hills for Dependent Personality Disorder
“You are constantly invited to be what you are.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dependent Personality Disorder is a serious illness, but it has treatments. When people seek treatment, they are often able to learn how to rely upon themselves and live a fulfilling, independent life. That is why Thriveworks Beverly Hills offers therapy for it. Our mental health professionals understand how the illness develops and functions. We also understand the treatments that may be helpful. Some clients need Cognitive Behavior Therapy; others need psychodynamic therapy; many benefit from medication. Everyone needs personalized care, and that is what Thriveworks Beverly Hills offers.
If you are ready to seek treatment for your dependency, we are ready for you. When you call our office, a real person (not a voicemail) will answer and help you make an appointment. New clients often meet with their counselor the following day. We accept many different forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend sessions. We do not keep a waitlist, so you will never be put on one. Instead, our desire is to give our clients the help they need when they need it. Call today.