You grew up in a home where very little was expected from you. You were not given responsibilities to help you develop as a child and teenager. Let’s face it, you were a “mamma’s boy” or “daddy’s girl”. Don’t get me wrong, parents that want to spoil their kids have great intentions. If your parents went too far and did not allow you to develop the skills that you needed in the adolescent years, you most likely were someone that depended on others to take care of many of your daily living needs. The depender/neglector grew up in an environment where he did not have to negotiate and solve problems during late childhood and adolescence. His parents placed little to no expectations on him while ensuring that his needs and wants were attended to. The depender/neglector relies on others to resolve his problems and to make his life easier. He lacks the skills of negotiation and problem solving, which makes him more apt to demand and expect others to give into his needs and wants.

The depender/neglector can demonstrate love and respect in a relationship. These virtues are short lived as he experiences the stress and anxieties of everyday life. He makes attempts to delegate many of the daily living responsibilities to his intimate partner. His partner ends up performing most of the daily chores, child rearing, household purchases and problem solving. He expects that these responsibilities are taken care of and does little to demonstrate appreciation while many times devaluing the scope and importance of the additional duties taken on by his significant other. When his partner starts to question the unequal distribution of responsibilities, he becomes angry and attempts to place more value and importance on his daily responsibilities. If he does negotiate to take on some of the other daily tasks, he does not place high importance to their completion and ends up causing additional tasks for the other person. His manipulation and devaluing behaviors are central to his presentation. The virtue of respect is what is most absent in his behavior. He witnessed a dominant parent take advantage of a submissive parent in the same manner. He also starts to make comparisons about how his submissive parent was able to manage what she cannot.

Many times, the depender/neglector will use acts of love and charity to band-aid the hurt and atone for their behavior. Sometimes this love is condition upon the partner resuming the additional duties and accepting the roles that he has defined. He begins to experience conflict with her after she grows weary of the emotional emptiness of the relationship. She begins to feel as though she is taking care of a child rather than being involved in a loving, caring, and emotionally fulfilling relationship. The depender/neglector may start to take on more of the characteristics of the possessor/dominator personality as his partner begins to divert her attention to people, places, and things. What started off to be a mild mannered dependent man can easily turn into an ill-tempered abusive person. Many domestic violence incidences involve persons that possess this personality trait. To the depender/neglector, the loss of their partner represents a loss of security and comfort. He has grown to rely heavily upon his partner to make life easier for him and feels overwhelmed with maintaining his employment and the thoughts of taking care of additional responsibilities.

The depender/neglector needs to develop daily living and negotiation skills. He needs to share the household responsibilities and help resolve problems that come up that impact his and his family’s life. He needs to recognize his egocentricity and begin to focus on the concepts of respect and love in the relationship. He needs to make a concerted effort to recognize the value and contribution of his intimate partner and show acts of kindness and charity on a regular basis. He will need to make the connection of how his acts of love and respect contribute to these virtues being reciprocated by his partner. When he feels frustrated and overwhelmed, he will need to communicate his thoughts and feelings effectively through “I statements” while validating the thoughts and feelings of his partner. These new skills will not come easy and he will have the tendency to revert back to his core personality traits of dependency and neglect. He will need to accept feedback from his partner about his behavior and be willing to make changes. He will need to develop skills to cope with stress and anxiety that will come with his taking on adult responsibilities other than his daily employment routine.

One of the biggest hurdles that he will need to overcome is his inclination to seek comfort and refuge with his parent or any other significant person that will nurture him during times of conflict with his intimate partner. Most likely, this person possesses the traits of nurturer/sabotager. Their need to be needed and his need to depend on someone makes the triangulation very reinforcing to both parties. He will need to stop his triangulation with his parent(s) or any other person when he encounters conflict with his intimate partner. He will need to develop relationship boundaries during times that he feels anxious and stressed. His natural instinct will be to include his children and extended family in discussions regarding personal matters with his intimate partner. He will want to paint a negative picture to his children and outside family members about his partner during times when she confronts his selfish behavior.

Author's Bio: 

Jay Krunszyinsky is a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor and Abuse Investigator for the state of Pennsylvania. His core approach to moral issues is broadly that described as 'virtue ethics,' that is, consideration of the chief virtues which contribute to a fulfilled and purposed life. Krunszyinsky holds a master's degree in counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has worked for numerous human service agencies, counseling families, children, adolescents and adults. Visit his website at Relationship Repair