How to; Play a character with Dependent Personality Disorder
I was in an asylum role play for awhile and the character that I played had DPD, and like any other good role player you went and looked up what the disorder was. Since I’ve played him for about six months or more I decided to put together this guide.
The first thing you need to know if what the disorder is. Dependent Personality Disorder (or DPD as I’ll call it) is a chronic psychological disorder in which the person depends heavily on other people to meet their physical and emotional needs. DPD is a life-long disorder and will never be “cured” but with the right therapy and guidance the person can learn to be more independent and keep their condition under control.
There are four types of personality disorders A, B, C and not specified. DPD is in Cluster C which is considered to be anxious disorders, or disorders that have the person become uncomfortable.
In order the play a character with DPD you need to be able to surrender any need to be on control. The thing with DPD is they always need to be with someone, they don’t like to be on their own, they won’t make their own decisions, and they’re very clingy. A simple decision as: “Should I have milk or juice to drink” is a very big question for them to try and decide and will turn to someone they’re very close to to make that decision.
Outlook on themselves;
They look at themselves as inadequate, that they’re not able to measure up to the standards that society has. They always feel like they’re going to disappoint people, and that no matter what it is they’re going to fail. Usually patients with DPD have some sort of anxiety of seeing themselves alone or having to do something that requires making decisions by themselves; due to this intense fear they’re cling to one person specifically, usually a family member or a very close friend to make these decisions.
Relationships with others;
Other people are the key to happiness in people that have DPD. They’ll cling to someone that they trust; usually a family member or a childhood friend. These are the people they know will help them with their decisions. However, people with DPD do not like to see other people upset, they fear that doing the wrong thing will make the other mad and therefore leave them alone.
Relationships are important to survival for people with DPD. They will hide any anger that they have and be loving, caring, admiring, affectionate and unquestioning to their lover. Dependents will very often do tasks they would normally think of as outrageous or a task that goes against their morals because of their fear of their significant other leaving them. Along with these tasks, they will stay with someone even if they are being abused in any way shape of form because to them the fear of being alone is worse then whatever abuse they are being dealt. No matter what it is they will be giving to their significant other no matter how outrageous their wants and needs my be.
Though despite their need to be with someone, or have someone to depend on, they will not cling to just anyone. Their process for picking someone is completely at random and most of the time can vary from person to person. Just because they’re around someone who, for example; lost a family member, they will won’t cling to them just because the other person is sad. They might help them in a friendly way, but they won’t turn to them for whatever it is they need. One moment they could be looking to an abuser, the next someone with problems of their own ( i.e; cutting, depression, etc), or someone who’s an A+ student. Dependents cling to the people they feel will help them the most.
Risk Factors with Relationships;
Even though this condition isn’t able to be cured, with the right amount of therapy the condition can be controlled. Although to continue getting better life long treatment is required many people have learned to make their own decisions and hold down jobs just as anyone else has. With this in mind, if you’re character has just started therapy is has been in for only a few months the chances of them making a big decision is out of the questions. They always start off small, so begin with small decisions such as:
Starting off small with build confidence within the character and in the person as well. With the confidence, and reinforcement from others, they will be able to move further in their treatment without shying away from being alone.
There are some instants where they will tend to revert back in on themselves, it’s been reported that when a women is pregnant they fear providing for a child, because they will depend on them when they can’t depend on the baby. Depending on what it is that has happened to your character in the past can depend on how bad, or whether or not they would revert back on what they learned.
*Here are some examples from the character I played that may help you when playing yours.
Example of reverting back;
- His twin brother and his boyfriend spent a lot of time together and he knew that his brother was happy when spending time with his boyfriend, so he would sit by himself instead of bothering his brother when he needed him.
^ He chose someone else’s happiness over his own for fear that his brother would get angry and leave him by himself.
Example of trusting;
- Because he depended on his brother, he depends on his brothers judgement and therefor trusted his brother therapist more than his own. Later he had gone onto being in a relationship with the therapist.
^ He chose to depend on his brothers judgment on this person because he trusted his brother, and therefore he ended up trusting the therapist. He trusted the therapist because he didn’t want to upset him and had gone into the submissive fairy-tale romance.