What makes someone weak

THE STRENGTHS OF THE WEAK

How a dependent personality disorder develops

In contrast to other personality disorders such as borderline syndrome, little research has been done into the causes of dependent personality disorder. There are two theories about the origin of morbidly attached behavior.

The first reads: "Overpowering parents who have little confidence in their child and who do not allow independence contribute to the development of dependent traits," explains Heidelberg psychology professor Sven Barnow. A study by his colleague Jeffrey Baker from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond confirms that both an authoritarian and a very protective style of upbringing contribute to people perceiving themselves as weak and not very competent. "Those affected do not learn to distance themselves from their parents - and are therefore later heavily dependent on other people emotionally," presumes Barnow.

The second theory: Children who are treated with little love or even rejected by their parents develop a strong and persistent desire for closeness and care. "Even as adults, these children seem to have the constant feeling that they are not safe on their own," explains Sven Barnow. "Only the presence of a close reference person gives them this security."

However, personality traits usually arise from an interaction between environmental influences and genetically determined factors such as a child's temperament. The Heidelberg psychologist is convinced: "Under the circumstances described, a naturally fearful child will probably develop more dependent personality traits than a child who has a lively temperament."

COMPACT

· People with an addictive personality disorder fear that they will not be able to cope with life on their own.

· They often develop clever strategies to bind other people to themselves.

· Therapy can help you to replace unhealthy addiction with more flexible relationship patterns.

February 21, 2012

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