Immediately after their father was arrested, none of the other Bluth siblings were willing to take over the family’s real estate development business so Buster stepped up to the plate. His first day in the office was literally his first day on the job. For 30+ years, Buster Bluth had never worked a day in his life, but he depended entirely upon his mother. In turn, he zipped up her dresses and catered to her needs. Buster is not equipped to run his own life, much less a business. After his first meeting with employees, he cowers under the conference room table and whispers, “you guys are so smart.” Buster provided many laughs for fans of the TV show Arrested Development, but he was more than a character. He was also a caricature. Buster showed, in an extreme way, what Dependent Personality Disorder looks like.
Many aspects of Buster Bluth’s life overlap with symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder. Like Buster, many with the disorder suffer from low self-esteem. They often are afraid of having to take care of themselves so they please an authority figure who is also a caregiver. People with the disorder often have limited social circles and difficulty forming mutual relationships. The disorder often introduces extreme difficulties into a person’s life. Specifically, people often do not make the leap into an independent adulthood. The disorder can erase an individual’s uniqueness, their likes and dislikes, thoughts and emotions, skills and abilities. It is a severe illness, but it also is an illness that has treatment.
Thriveworks Peachtree City provides treatment for Dependent Personality Disorder because healing and independence are possible. We have worked with many clients who were empowered to live their own lives.
Dependent Personality Disorder: What Is It?
Dependent Personality Disorder is undergirded by two disordered thoughts. First, people with the disorder think that they are incapable of fulfilling their own needs. Second, people with the disorder think that others need to fulfill their needs. These false thinking patterns are two sides of the same coin, and they fuel clinginess and separation anxiety. They are two big reasons why people with Dependent Personality Disorder experience many emotional, financial, material, and psychological difficulties. They are also the reason people with the disorder are often their own worst critic.
It is important to note that many of the symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder, when displayed in teens or children, may not be the disorder but an appropriate developmental stage. Often, the disorder is not diagnosed until adulthood for this reason. It is difficult to distinguish between development and disorder before an individual is an adult.
The symptoms for Dependent Personality Disorder (301.6[F70.7]) are outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The diagnostics begin with three main criteria:
- Separation anxiety.
- Submissive behavior.
- A need to be taken care of.
If an individual who had the disorder will also display at least five of the following:
- Discomfort with their own, unique individuality—feelings, opinions, thoughts, choices, skills, et cetera.
- Difficulty making everyday choices without consulting an authority figure for reassurance and advice.
- Fear of being alone.
- Fear of having to provide for oneself.
- Abdicating responsibility in major areas of one’s life. For example, allowing a parent to pay one’s bills.
- Going to great lengths to appease caregivers and ensure their support and nurture.
- Being overly compliant—hiding one’s actual feelings and thoughts.
- Quickly replacing a caregiving relationship if it ends.
These symptoms give a picture of just how much destruction Dependent Personality Disorder can cause in an individual’s life. The disorder often introduces many personal and professional difficulties. Personally, people with the disorder have a hard time forming mutual relationships that do not becoming clingy or dependent. This can lead to very limited social circles. People with the disorder often do not have relationships outside of their family. Professionally, people with the disorder look for others to take care of them so they rarely take initiation—something that is essential in the professional world. They have difficulty securing and maintaining a job. In addition, the disorder raises people’s risk of other mental illnesses, including other anxiety, depression, adjustment, and personality disorders.
Setting Up an Appointment at Thriveworks Peachtree City for Dependent Personality Disorder
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
—Michel de Montaigne
Like many other serious illnesses, Dependent Personality Disorder often requires intervention for healing to occur, and many treatment options are available. Skilled therapists can oversee a diagnosis and formulate a personalized treatment plan. A mental health professional can work with you to determine which options may help you the most. A few examples of the different therapies that may help include…
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – examines the disordered thought patterns that an individual holds and seeks to challenge them. Positive and true thoughts can then replace the untrue, negative thinking.
- Psychodynamic therapy – delves into how the disorder developed, the psychological wounds that may have caused it, and why the dependency continued. It seeks to apply deep, holistic, and long-term healing.
If you recognized some of the symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder, reaching out for help may be the right next step. When you contact Thriveworks Peachtree City, you may be meeting with your therapist the next day. Weekend and evening sessions are offered. Many different forms of insurance are accepted. Let’s work together. Call today.