Breaking the Chains: Understanding Dependent Personality Disorder

By Darine Ammache, Clinical Psychologist


Dependent characters in literature are individuals that strongly rely on others for guidance, emotional support, and a sense of direction. They frequently lack autonomy and may suffer with issues including low self-esteem, stable relationships, and hopelessness.

The psychological disorder known as Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) is characterized by a person’s intense need for care and dread of separation or abandonment. Making decisions, starting initiatives, and carrying out duties alone may be challenging for them. Additionally, they could be unduly reliant on others for emotional support and decision-making, be passive, clinging, and indecisive.

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined by persistent and recurrent thoughts, pictures, or impulses (obsessions) that compel a person to engage in repetitive behavioral or mental acts (compulsions).

These compulsions are frequently carried out in an effort to lessen the tension brought on by the obsessions, but they are unpleasant, frequently time-consuming, and can interfere with daily tasks. Compulsions include obsessive housekeeping, checking, counting, organizing, or silently repeating sentences. The obsessions and compulsions are excessive or illogical, but people with OCD are unable to control them.

A mental health disease known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by problems controlling one’s emotions, impulsivity, and unstable relationships. The phrase “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined desertion” is one of the diagnostic criteria for BPD.

This may show up in a variety of ways, such as dependent behavior.

A fear of abandonment and an excessive reliance on others for emotional support and validation are common in people with BPD. They could develop unhealthy boundaries and become overly needy and clinging in their relationships. Additionally, they could struggle with being alone and act impulsively or destructively in an effort to maintain the company of others.

It’s crucial to remember that dependent behavior is only one facet of BPD and that not all people with the disease will display it. Furthermore, not all dependent behavior is a BPD symptom. For an accurate diagnosis, it is crucial to speak with a mental health expert.

With the correct care, persons with BPD can learn to control their emotions, strengthen their bonds with others, and develop a feeling of value that is independent of praise from others.

Although dependent characters and dependent personality disorder have some characteristics, they are distinct from one another. While dependent personality disorder and OCD are established mental health problems that necessitate expert treatment and assistance, dependent characters are a fictional representation of human behavior.

Cinderella, who depends on her fairy godmother to assist her attend the royal ball, and Bella from the Twilight series, who looks to Edward for emotional support and guidance, are two examples of dependent characters in literature.

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