Today I read from the DSM 5 while in counseling with my IC. She had me read the section on Dependent Personality Disorder. All I could think the entire time was that I was reading about me. My IC is not a clinical psychologist, and I have not completed any diagnostic testing etc. However, I have reached out to a clinical psychologist that I would like to start seeing. She should have an opening soon to begin working with me. In the meantime, my IC said that she doesn’t believe that I actually have a PD, but that I fall within the spectrum of DPD. And it’s absolutely true. If you read my original “why” post you cannot miss it. I have lived most of my life in fear of losing the support of the people who love me. And, with the exception of my BH all of them have abandoned me in one way or another. BH is trying to hang on, but still unsure if he wants or even can R. Even if he can’t, I will always know that he did not abandon me. I did.
Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive fear that leads to “clinging behavior” and usually manifests itself by early adulthood. It includes a majority of the following symptoms:
1 Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
(I almost never know what I want for dinner, and often change 2 or 3 times in the morning)
2 Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
(BH ensures all of our bills are paid etc)
3 Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval
(completely conflict avoidant, except professionally but the conflicts I have in my job are not about me)
4 Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
(so many projects I would love to do, but feel as though I need permission to do them- saying it out loud feels SO stupid)
5 Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
(Ahem, affairs, anyone? Not meant flippantly. At least one of mine was in a situation where I felt that saying no was not an option. Intellectually I know better, but...)
6 Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
(This one is less straight-forward. I actually enjoy time by myself, but do prefer social interaction throughout the day. I don’t know that I would have the courage to end this M if things didn’t improve for fear of being on my own. Over the past couple of years I have given my BH full credit for my surviving abusive and terrible treatment from my NPD/HPD mother while she divorced my father. He also “held me together” for the loss of my father.)
7 Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
(My relationship with my mom was going through major turmoil, and was in the ending process throughout the two years I had As. It’s sick that I replaced my mother with affairs, and destroyed my marriage and BH in the process. In some ways I also replaced my father through my affairs. It’s really sick.)
8 Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself
(When I reach out to my IC on “off” hours it is always when I feel hopeless about my M. I ask her what I’m supposed to do. I ask my brother for regular reassurance that “everything will be ok.”)
I get a very deep blah feeling when reading this list over again. It’s not who I wanted to be. I always thought that I would grow up to be a fiercely independent person who had a very happy life. Instead, I’m this flailing broken person.
I am medicated for depression, and have previously been medicated for anxiety. Turns out that both are commonly experienced by people with DPD. Ok, realistically lots of people are treated for both without a PD. This opens up a whole new avenue of research, and work. I can’t help but feel sorry for my BH. I’m a freaking mess.
So, as my signature says: I’m learning to love myself. Somehow I have to learn independence, without becoming someone who does not consider the BS. BUT, balance considering him with what I really want. And, most importantly learning how to communicate it.