employee or student will passively (quietly) resist, e.g. the child
will procrastinate ("I'll do it as soon as this TV program is over"
but forgets), the worker just doesn't pay much attention, and
the student pretends to like the teacher but talks about him/her
behind his/her back.
Naturally, having someone constantly expect you to take
care of them, especially if you feel they could care for
themselves, will become irritating (unless you are a needy
codependent). It may not be as obvious, but the weak,
dependent person is also likely to subtly resent someone who
always has more or is more capable or better organized.
Resentment is associated with dependency in all directions,
including feeling like a victim as we discussed in chapter 7.
Mutual unassertiveness or an unverbalized compromise may be
the easiest but not the best arrangement. For example,
students implicitly strike a bargain with teachers, such as "if
you don't make me assume responsibility for planning and
controlling my own learning, I'll tolerate your dull lectures over
the textbook. Make it easy for me to get an A or B and I'll not
criticize your teaching." A labor union and the management
might compromise like this: "I'll let you have the money and
status of being the boss if my workload is easy and if I don't
have to learn about the business, make decisions, or take any
other responsibility for running this business." Avoiding
responsibility is almost always a form of dependency. If one
person accepts responsibility (a boss or one spouse in child
care or one sex in military combat) and another person avoids
responsibility, it is hard to assume those two people are equals.
Dependency seems to be related to alcoholism, perhaps both in the
beginning of the process (dependent needs lead to drinking) and at
the end of the process (the disabilities of alcoholism force us to be
dependent). Dependency is also related to cigarette smoking; the
reasons aren't known.
Dependent people as psychotherapy patients
The dependent person is prone to a variety of physical and
psychological disorders. Given the same degree of poor health,
dependent people are far more likely to seek treatment than
independent people. And, they behave differently from non-dependent
people in treatment, e.g. dependent personalities react more positively
toward the doctor and comply more fully with doctors' orders; they are
more perceptive of treatment procedures and other people; they
request extra help and useful information about themselves; they stay
in treatment longer (Bornstein, 1993).
The dependent person is in many ways an ideal patient: quick to
come in, observant, cooperative, positive, eager to get treatment,
eager to please, etc. The problem is that dependent people will resist