Dependent Personality vs. Avoidant Personality

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

sad woman sitting by a wall

Many people prefer not to be alone at times, and will call on friends for support. Likewise, most people find being criticized or judged and ridiculed to be an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience they’d rather avoid. For people with dependent personality disorder, however, they grow extreme in their need to be around someone all the time, while someone with avoidant personality disorder will withdraw from society entirely as their fear of being seen as inadequate takes over.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts overtime. Two of these types of personality disorders are classified as dependent and avoidant. Each of these disorders has their own unique causes, characteristics, and treatment methods.

Dependent Personality Disorder Characteristics

Causes & Symptoms

Individuals who suffer from dependent personality disorder often suffer from a lot of pessimism and self-doubt. They may see themselves as being “stupid” and may seek someone who is more dominant to take care of them. People with this disorder may avoid responsibility and making any decisions. There are currently no scientific findings as to the cause of development of dependent personality disorder. More characteristics of dependent personality disorder:

  • The person has trouble with making daily decisions without asking for reassurance and advice from others
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most areas of that person’s life
  • Has trouble expressing disagreements with others in fear of upsetting them or losing their support/approval
  • Struggles with initiating projects on their own
  • Goes through long lengths to receive reassurance and support from others
  • Feels helpless and uncomfortable when solely by themselves
  • Quickly seeks out another relationship shortly after one has ended for care and support
  • Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of oneself

Avoidant Personality Disorder Characteristics

Causes & Symptoms

Avoidant personality disorder is often diagnosed in adulthood, because the characteristics are longstanding and a child has not been fully developed yet. Those who have this disorder may often be very conscientious of their movements and speech, which may, in turn, prompt others to ridicule them, thus further confirming their self-doubts. People who have this disorder may be typically considered as shy, isolated, lonely, and timid. More characteristics of avoidant personality disorder:

  • The person avoids activities that involve a lot of interpersonal communication, because they are afraid of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • Doesn’t feel comfortable getting involved with someone unless they know they are liked
  • Shows restrained within intimate relationships due to fear of being shamed or made fun of
  • Is preoccupied with consistent thoughts of being ridiculed in social situations
  • Is inhibited in personal relationships because they feel inadequate
  • Views themselves as socially inept, unappealing, and views themselves as having less worth than others
  • Is scared to take risks or try new things due to fear of embarrassment


Both personality disorders typically require psychotherapy to receive treatment. If someone suspects their loved one may suffer from either one of these disorders, it is best for them to reach out to a doctor. There are a ton of resources for the individual to find proper care and support.

The serene estate of Avalon Malibu offers a unique experience for residential treatment. As one of California’s only certified primary mental health treatment facilities, our programs are trusted to provide trusted results.

Call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

We will work with most out of network PPO and POS policies

Call to verify your insurance benefits today!