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What is Cluster C – Dependent Personality Disorder?

Cluster C disorders include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. And it is said that people with these disorders can appear to be nervous and fearful.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II a decade ago which is chronic hypo mania and recently thought I had co-dependency issues but now, after picking up and reading parts of DSM-5, maybe I also fall into the dependent personality disorder category.

When I was little I definitely had separation anxiety. It was hard for me to leave my mom to attend kindergarten so that’s a form of dependency. Plus a form of being nervous and fearful.  Then as an adult I found myself in poor relationships that I should be out of yet, somehow find excuses to continue so thought ok I’m co-dependent.  So what’s the difference between being co-dependent versus having a dependent personality disorder?

Dependent Personality Disorder is defined as:

  • Dependent personality disorder, formerly known as asthenic personality disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people. This personality disorder is a long-term condition in which people depend on others to meet their emotional and physical needs, with only a minority achieving normal levels of independence.

Ok, that’s not me BUT some of me. When I get in a relationship I latch on pretty tight, (borderline obsess) but I’m fiercely independent when I’m single. So does that make me a partial dependent personality disorder? I guess so.  So what about co-dependency disorder?

Co-Dependency Disorder is defined as:

  • Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.

Ok, I don’t support drug addiction or alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, or immaturity BUT I’ve been in relationships with people that suffer from one or more of those attributes so some of me must also fall into that category. It’s a fine line because I want people to feel free to be themselves and we’re all flawed so it becomes dicey. I have mental health issues so how can I be a hypocrite and judge someone that also has mental health issues.

So now I am left wondering if I should continue reading the DSM-5 and hope I don’t run into anymore disorders that sound like me, or put it down.

I think there is a time and place for any disorders you may exhibit, and not all of them will be ongoing or completely fit a definition but I’m intrigued, and education always helps so, I’m going to look into another Cluster C Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Personality.


What is Cluster C – Dependent Personality Disorder?

Erica Loberg

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2017). What is Cluster C – Dependent Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/manic-depression/2017/03/21/what-is-cluster-c-dependent-personality-disorder/


Last updated: 27 Mar 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Mar 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.