Posted by Dinah on March 17, 2005, at 22:14:56
In reply to Book I absolutely should not read but surely will, posted by Dinah on January 23, 2005, at 19:48:05
Well, my copy of "The Dependent Patient: A Practitioner's Guide" came in. And it didn't scare me silly in the way I thought it would. You know, I thought it would be one of those books that would tell therapists how to set firm boundaries with the clients from h*ll that they all hate to see. But so far it's not that at all.
Now it's scaring me in a completely different way. I am having this intense ah-hah moment of enlightenment.
It talks about how dependent personalities don't always present in the stereotypical passive and helpless way, and that the DSM-IV makes it difficult for practitioners to correctly assess dependency by insisting on linking dependency with passivity and helplessness.
"Persons who are highly motivated to seek guidance and support will use a variety of relationship-facilitating self-presentation strategies to strengthen ties to potential caregivers and maximize the probability that they will obtain the protection and support that they desire."
It explains so very many things about my life. I have been absolutely relentless and singleminded about maintaining dependency. It's just that the way to do that in my family of origin had nothing to do with appearing passive or helpless. So it would appear on the surface that I'm overly detached and care little about attaching to others (with the startling exception of my therapist). I'm not at all compliant with the people I'm dependent on. But when thinking about the reality of life with my parents, and teachers, etc. it's clear that my behaviors have always been designed to bring the approval of and attachment to authority figures.
My attachment to my therapist is not an anomaly at all. It's just that different behaviors elicit the desired outcome with him than with other authority figures, so I modify my behavior accordingly. And he has allowed me to get my way in this. He's completely caved in to my dependency needs. And it's not that they haven't been met in my life. They've been met with astonishing regularity. Every ounce of my not inconsiderable intellect has revolved around getting those needs met, and I've managed to achieve my goals as often as not.
D*mned if I'm going to share this insight with my therapist though. It might cause him to yank away the dependency rug, and I just can't bear that. Especially since I've lost the other main person I was dependent on - my father. Ok, that was a weird mutually beneficial, mutually dependent, symbiotic relationship. But still...