So Happy Together? – The Practical Side

Dependent. Co-dependent. Afraid to be alone. Passive. These are just some of the ways society describes individuals struggling with the issue of dependency. Most people trying to overcome dependency do not have Dependent Personality Disorder; however, they may have some symptoms thereof. 

The DSM-IV lists symptomatology of individuals dealing with dependence. Some of these symptoms include:

1)      Difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others

2)      Difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval

3)      Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself/herself

4)      Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends

5)      Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant

I believe that human beings are designed for love, relationships, support and nurturance. However, going to extreme measures to obtain and/or keep these things in one’s life may point towards dependency. People with dependency issues often jump from one relationship to the next because they do not know how to be alone. They may even feel unable to care for themselves without the help of another. People battling dependency may also lack assertiveness skills or the ability to make decisions without another person’s help. In more extreme cases, a person with dependency issues or Dependent Personality Disorder may become the enabler in a relationship with a person with substance abuse issues. The “dependent person” may enable the partner to keep abusing substances out of fear of losing him/her since the “dependent partner” is so scared of being alone. This is a dangerous union. The partners reinforce and perpetuate one another’s problems.

While it takes time to break free of dependency, doing so births genuine feelings of self-confidence, empowerment and contentment. Whether you simply want to be more assertive or find yourself in a very unhealthy relationship due to dependency, a licensed mental health counselor can help you.  Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment. 


Yolanda Brailey