Monday, October 17, 2016

MLM and Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder or (DPD): Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing need for the person to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned or separated from important individuals in his or her life. (

Human beings by nature are socially oriented and dependent on groups for survival. It is completely natural to yearn to be with others emotionally, and businesses are completely dependent on people in all tiers of the organization for success. That makes this disorder more difficult to notice and understand, because it is based more on an intensity level of the dependency rather than a black and white definition.

Here is a list of the symptoms from the same source as above: 
  • Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
  • Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval
  • Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
  • Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
  • Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself
MLMers prey on downline targets that usually have some if not all of these symptoms. They have a need to control and manipulate their downlines, and it becomes exponentially easier when the downlines want to be controlled because of their dependency.

Let's look at a few of these examples of symptoms:

"Has difficulty making everyday decisions". Other bloggers have written about MLMers and their need to influence every part of a downline's life. They want the downline to eat what they want them to eat, or come when they want them to come. This symptom plays perfectly into an MLMers need for manipulation.

"Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others". MLMers are constantly being told to stay away from negativity. MLMers will say, anything being brought up as a sign of negativity is not allowed, and any differing opinion should be shunned. This again works perfectly for MLMers looking to brainwash and control their targets, because the downline also wants to avoid conflict.

"Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others". MLMers want their downline to rely on them for everything including positive feedback. They will attract the downline with constant love-bombing and admiration for their struggles. This helps to further the dependency a downline with this condition may have.

MLMers prey on downlines with conditions like this, because it feeds into their narcissism while helping to perpetuate their disorder. This is a weird chemical reaction that fuels a perpetual Stockholm Syndrome allowing MLMers to extract money from their downlines for extremely long periods of time (or perhaps forever).

It is important to remember that it isn't just the MLMers with the conditions and disorders. Much of the time the downlines have conditions as well, and can be just as powerful of afflictions. MLMers do not discriminate the people they target for the "business opportunity", and I have personally seen people that are not qualified to run a business be told they are perfect for this "opportunity".

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. From what you describe here, the Dependent Personality Disorder seems to be what in the past was called "a weak-willed character." This meant a kind of wishy-washy, ineffective person who could never really accomplish much, and who was very susceptible to the suggestions and influence of other people.

    Such persons are notoriously subject to fantasy and crazy beliefs, which serve as cushions against reality. They have a deep will to believe, even when the thing believed in is absurd or delusional. And of course they are routinely taken advantage of by cynical and manipulative types.

    In fact, there's a Latin saying that encapsulates the entire matter: "Vulgus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur." This means "The common people want to be deceived, therefore let them be deceived."

    This would explain a lot about Amway and other MLMs. The higher-ups in these corrupt scams know that there is a vast reservoir of dependent people out there who desperately want to believe in something... ANYTHING! And the MLMs take advantage of the situation by deceiving these people and ripping them off.

  2. Anonymous,

    That is a great way to describe people with this disorder. They are definitely "wishy-washy", and can easily be tainted or manipulated.

    I really like your use of that Latin phrase. I think it works perfectly with this post. I was always a fan of the phrase, "It takes two to tango", and that was the purpose of this post. I don't want people to let the victims off the hook so easily, because they don't tend to make this mistake once. I have recently been reading about MLMers failing and switching companies as many as 5 times, and the MLMers are still trying to take responsibility for the failure.

    I believe they incorporate religion for this very reason as you mentioned, "The higher-ups in these corrupt scams know that there is a vast reservoir of dependent people out there who desperately want to believe in something... ANYTHING!" They definitely understand that it is easier to get people to believe, when they already have a fundamentally irrational belief system (sorry if my view on organized religion is jaded). It is a lot easier for people to connect with MLM when it is connected to something they already strongly believe in.