desperate to have people like them that they are submissive,
manipulative, demanding and so on. Before becoming depressed they
are described by therapists as "love addicts in a perpetual state of
greediness...sending out a despairing cry for love" (Chodoff, 1974).
Their self-esteem depends on the approval of others. When their
dependency needs are not met, they become depressed and cry, just
as they did as infants.
Moreover, it usually makes us mad when we feel weak and
dependent. So, an over-dependent depressed person may resist help
("You can't make me be productive and happy") and become hostile
("I will pay you back for not loving me"). Thus, the loss of love is a
triple threat to a dependent person prone to depression: (a) sadness
and panic occur because our vital, life-long struggle for security has
been lost, (b) low self-esteem and hopelessness occur because "I have
lost everything" or "I do not deserve anything" and (c) anger and
resentment occur because "they have deserted me, a helpless child"
(Zaiden, 1982). So, it isn't surprising that research confirms,
especially for very needy people, the old saying, "you can't live with
them; you can't live without them." Relationships (marital problems
and stress with children) are the most common stresses associated
with depression in women. And, relationships (good, caring, intimate
ones) are the best protection against depression (Brown & Harris,
1978; Klerman & Weissman, 1982). See sections below on loss of a
relationship and loneliness.
These interpersonal, psychodynamic, and psychoanalytic therapists
would say that explaining depression as a result of negative thoughts
or a lack of social skills is superficial and foolishly ignores the life-long,
internal struggle for love for survival. Likewise, this theory sounds very
similar to the currently popular feminists' description of social
pressures put on traditional women to give up their individuality ("be
nice," serve and accommodate others, put your needs last) in order to
be "loved." Evidence is accumulating for this kind of theory (Barnett &
Gotlib, 1988), including relying on others for one's self-esteem (see
Impossible goals or no goals
Overly demanding parents who are critical, perfectionistic, and
harshly punitive tend to have anxious, withdrawn, and sometimes
hostile children who have an "I'm not OK" attitude (like Sooty Sarah).
Perhaps they adopted the parents' impossible goals. On the other
hand, Coopersmith's (1967) work suggests that uninvolved parents,
who do not discipline consistently and/or do not provide moral
guidelines for living, tend to have children with low self-esteem (and
higher risk of depression).
Losing one's goal or values may lead to depression too. Hirsch and
Keniston (1970) studied 31 drop outs from Yale during the late 1960's-
-during the time of the drug counter-culture, hippies, flower people,
anti-war demonstrations, etc. They did not flunk out; they just weren't