Focus on Development

The Homesick Dependent

Personality and Attachment

During his first semester in college, a young man presented to the counseling center complaining that he felt inconsolably homesick. Appearing obviously naive and childlike, he spoke warmly of his parents, especially his mother, a "sweet" person who always "watched out for me, helped me with my homework, and made sure nothing would hurt me." Even though his family lived 90 miles away, he drove home every other day to spend the evening with his mother. Such immature object-representations, continuing to regard caretakers as he did as a child, are typical of the dependent personality.

potential that reflects their prevailing mood, sometimes imposed by life events but most often disposed by biology. Temperament is closely related to mood but best refers to the sum total of biological constraints on personality. Because our physical matrix exists before other domains of personality emerge, biologically built-in behavioral tendencies preempt and exclude other possible pathways of development before they can take hold.

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