One of the necessary goals when you embark on the road to self-discovery is to find the confidence and courage to stand by yourself, without leaning on approval from other people.

To be your own person and live life on your own terms means that you have to break free of the shackles that are holding you down. The indications that you have a dependent personality are sometimes subtle, so look out for them and climb out of these self-destructive traps.

Dependent people typically exhibit the behaviour patterns listed below.

1. They lack initiative. Dependent people are terrified most of the time that their weaknesses or failures will be publicly exposed if they do not succeed at first attempt. Therefore, they prefer to stay in a self-designated comfort zone, content with being average and obscure rather than stepping out and taking risks.

2. They hate being alone. The thought of being alone makes dependent people feel insecure and vulnerable, as they assume that the company of others protects them. You often see them pleading with someone to accompany them for ‘moral support’ on an important assignment. Their path to self discovery is thus obstructed by the hurdle of never getting to know their own strengths (and weaknesses).

3. They always seek approval. Even when they say they want ‘an honest opinion’, all they’re craving is praise, and their crestfallen faces when they hear criticism is proof of that. They see themselves through the eyes of others, and they find it hard to function without constant reassurance from those around them, whether at home or in the workplace.

4. They cannot create personal boundaries. They are open to imposition and encroachment from others on their personal space, because they are too weak to resist and too fearful of losing approval. Because of leaning too much on others, they give way trying to please, and put up no resistance when someone takes advantage of them in one way or another.

5. They feel personally responsible for mishaps. Everyone makes mistakes, but dependent people feel that every mishap in their lives is a result of some failing on their part. They assign unnecessary blame to themselves and this behaviour whittles away at their self-confidence and self-worth, instead of making them stronger after stumbling.