Mental Health

What It’s Like Living With A Dependent Personality

On the outside, I’m a very independent and stable girl. I go out by myself a lot and I enjoy it.

On the inside, I have a dependent personality. It was once much worse than it was now.

I just learned this term a few months ago, but I wish I had known it much sooner.

I had some dependency issues with my aunt in high school and my first year of college; I would text her all day everyday, I couldn’t go a certain amount of time without seeing her so I would “need” her to come see me, I wouldn’t go to the counsellors without her for a year and a half even though I probably could have, I would text and call her at inappropriate times. I basically wanted her to be on call, right there 24/7.

It was a struggle. I knew I wasn’t being fair. I knew she was a busy person. I knew when she needed me to not text her. Hell, she told me numerous times.

Eventually, it put a strain on our relationship and we ended up not talking for months. But we’re back in touch now.

Even though she says it was normal behaviour, I don’t believe it was.

It happened again with my best friend and it nearly destroyed our relationship.

It started getting bad the second year of college. Same thing. Nonstop texting, needing to see her multiple times a week and crying when I didn’t, needing her to make small decisions for me, needing her to help me with the smallest things, expecting her to drop everything when I needed her, telling her that I would hurt myself if she wasn’t able to get to me. As much as I hate to admit it, I manipulated her so many times. The friendship became toxic for her.

The rock bottom point of our friendship and a real eye opener for me was when I got drunk because I was jealous of her new boyfriend and we got into a huge fight. We went our separate ways for a month and a half.

Fast forward to now, my best friend and I are close again, but in a healthy way. She now lives 40 minutes away from me, which was hard at first but I think it’s made us stronger. It also makes our time together more valuable. I can no longer expect her to drop everything for me.

I still need her a lot and there are still times where I fall back into old patterns. I get anxiety when I can’t reach her, I ask the most stupid questions that I know the answers to, and still need reassurance all the time.

But it’s no longer at the point where my life is at risk and I’m nonstop texting her every single day. I give her space when she needs it.

The reason I’m writing this is because last year, before I knew of this term, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

I hated relying on someone so much that I forgot how to take care of myself. I felt like it was my fault, that I could control it if I tried harder. I felt like I was crazy obsessed with my friend.

But the truth is, dependency is a borderline personality trait. According to my counsellor, I was diagnosed with having multiple borderline personality traits a couple years ago.

Of course, I forgot.

Now that I know, I have a better understanding of what’s going on. I can take steps to improve myself and the friendship. I now feel like I can try harder to give her space and try to cope with some things by myself.

She understands it more. She knows that on a bad days or weak periods, I will be more dependent than usual, maybe even act childish, but knows it’ll pass.

She helps and encourages me to become more independent but doesn’t push me.

We even have routines in place that make it easier for me. She knows the littlest things help a lot.

She knows I’m trying, which is more than I was able to do last year.

She doesn’t judge me.

But I have had other people judging me and I’ve lost other friendships because of this. They don’t understand. They believe I can control it on days where I can’t. If I’m texting her when I’m with other people, they take offense to it. Although I try not to “need” her anymore, the truth is, if I really need her then I need her.

At the end of the day, we all have things that help us with anxiety and depression; mine is her.

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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