Dependent Personality: characteristics

The forerunner of Codependence
Dependent Personality

A Dependent personality is one with a persistent psychological/emotional dependence on other people.
  • It is characterized by helplessness, submissiveness, a need to be taken care of and for constant
    reassurance, and an inability to make decisions. And in return for that will do almost anything to acquire
      and keep it - which turns them into co-dependents.
  • It occurs equally in men and women, and usually appears in early to middle adulthood, but frequently
      manifests earlier.
  • It is directly or indirectly related to Codependent behaviour: it lays the foundation for codependence.

People with Dependent Personalities see others as:
  • More capable of handling and dealing with life’s responsibilities than they are.
  • More competent to operate and navigate in a complex world.
  • Better able to deal with the competitions of life.
  • More powerful.
  • More competent.
  • More capable of providing security and a sense of security.

Dependent people:
  • Avoid situations which require them to accept responsibility for themselves.
  • See others as they wish they are, rather than as they are.
  • Are fixated on the past.
  • Maintain youthful impressions.
  • Retain unsophisticated ideas and childlike views of the people they are totally submissive to.
  • View strong care-givers in an idealized manner - that they are strong.
  • See themselves as helpless and inadequate.
  • Have an inability to make decisions, even everyday decisions, without the advice and reassurance           
      of others
  • Radiate pessimism and lack of self-confidence, including a belief that they are unable to care               
      for themselves
  • Believe they can’t cope on their own in a cold and dangerous world.
  • See themselves as inept.
  • Are unable to start projects
  • Avoid personal responsibility; avoidance of jobs that require independent functioning and positions of

  • Are over-sensitivity to criticism
  • Believe they lack abilities, virtues and attractiveness.
  • Look to others to nurture and support them.
  • Become self-effacing, agreeable, docile and ingratiating.

  • Deny their own individuality.
  • Place the needs of their caregivers above their own
  • Subordinate their needs and desires to those of significant others.

  • Have difficulty in,  and a great fear of being alone
  • Intense fear of abandonment and a sense of devastation or helplessness when relationships end;
      often move right into another relationship when one ends - known as "Rebound".
  • In spite of the intensity of their need for others, do not necessarily attach strongly to specific
      individuals, i.e., they will become quickly and indiscriminately attached to others when they have lost
      a significant relationship.
  • It is the strength of the dependency needs that is being addressed; attachment figures are basically

  • Avoidance of disagreeing with others for fear of losing support or approval
  • Willingness to tolerate mistreatment and abuse from others
  • They will meet unreasonable demands;
  • Submit to abuse and intimidation to avoid isolation and abandonment.
  • They so fear being unable to function alone, that they will agree with things they believe are wrong,
      rather than risk losing the help of people upon whom they depend.
  • They will volunteer for unpleasant tasks if that will bring them the care and support they need.
  • They will make extraordinary self-sacrifices to maintain important bonds.

  • They internalize the beliefs and values of significant others.
  • See relationships with significant others as necessary for survival.
  • Will avoid anger in order to not jeopardize the relationship.
  • Are admiring, loving, and willing to give their all to their significant other.
  • Will be loyal, unquestioning, and affectionate.
  • Will be tender and considerate toward those upon whom they depend.
  • Tend to be naïve and to live in fantasy
  • They do all of this to reduce or eliminate the anxiety that goes with helplessness and impotence.

To make it all work for them, they:
  • Limit their awareness of themselves and others.
  • This limited perception results in them remaining naïve and uncritical.

  • In most cases an authoritarian or overprotective parenting style, or clinging parental  behaviour: poor
(dysfunctional) parenting in either case.
  • It’s major effect is the insecure form of attachment to others described above.

(Some of this info was gathered from the net)

Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, NS 2010-20
If you found this page helpful and know someone else who could benefit from it, please tell them.

If you are ready to make the change / transition to begin your spiritual or healing journey (or have      
already begun) and want to do so in the company of others going in the same direction, why not
write or email me? I may be able to exchange or share experience for mutual benefit and growth.

I sincerely hope that you take the
Less Travelled Road
and that it brings awakening  and healing to you.
Klaas Tuinman M.A.
Life Self-Empowerment Facilitation
at Dawn Cove Abbey
Comments and Questions are welcomed