This particular way of relating to one’s self and the world is associated with regular feelings of sadness, self-criticism and a need to be perfect. When faced with painful life problems such as being rejected or mistreated, these individuals feel that it must be their fault.
The underlying assumption is that when bad things happen, it because they are bad or there must be something wrong with them. Their focus then is on trying to be what they think other people want them to be in the hopes that they will no longer feel that they are bad. The self worth of such individuals is typically very low and they are highly affected by loss. Often there is a vague sense of emptiness and a general feeling of inadequacy, that shows little improvement irrespective of how much they do for others.
A similar form of depression involves strong reactions to losses or separation from important people. These individuals respond to separations with extreme anxiety and a deep sense of meaninglessness and incompleteness. They have great difficulty trusting that their relationship partners will be there for them and are also extremely self-critical.
People with these depressive styles, are usually very nice people who often do a lot of good for their loved ones and those around them, but deep inside they believe they are fundamentally bad. This internal experience negatively affects relational intimacy because they fear that if someone really gets to know them that person will find the badness and ultimately reject them. Such individuals will often avoid potentially good relationships in order to avoid the terrible pain of abandonment resulting in a constant low-grade loneliness and depression.
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