A Brief Look at the Personality Disorders

Repost from the old site.
Commenter Stopped Clock notes:

People with BPD diagnoses or BPD-like traits are, in my experience, likely to be victims of severe child abuse, and so I find it very hard not to be sympathetic with them.
I feel the same sympathy towards people with obvious Asperger’s Syndrome traits that I’ve met throughout my school years (I was in special ed when I was young, but I’ve seen students even in college who fit the classic AS profile perfectly) and in some jobs.
I used to try to befriend them, but I’ve met some Asperger’s adults who desperately want to make friends but can’t hold a two-way conversation even with trained therapists, and it makes me feel sad to know that such people exist.

I’m sympathetic towards Aspies, although they are probably very difficult to get along with. I think I knew one once, but he was a real asshole! He was cold and rude, like a machine. He wasn’t very nice at all and there was no way whatsoever to connect with him. But could he help it?
The problem with BPD is it is one of those mental illnesses that turns you into a totally, 100%, fucked in the head asshole! I mean, they are not nice people at all.
My friend said the Borderlines start fights in every group session she was in with them, and they destroyed every session, forcing it to end early.
Sooner or later, one or more of the Borderlines would be screaming at yelling at the top of their lungs, out of their chairs, threatening to hit people, throwing shit.
My friend befriended one, and the Borderline latched onto her like a lamprey and would not let go. They would go out to eat and the Borderline would ask if they could “Bring the kids.” That meant invite her fake “alters.” Those were her fake other personalities. They love their stupid alters, and they are snide about us poor souls with only one personality – we are “singletons”, they sneer.
This Borderline would suddenly lurch into various fake personalities with no warning.
At a nice restaurant, she broke out dolls, put them on the table, and brought a coloring book and sat there and colored the whole time and talked like a little girl. After a while of this BS, my friend was like, “Fuck you!” and tried to run her out of her life. Then the Borderline was calling my friend all the time in the middle of the night until my friend had to change her phone number.
This is all pretty typical behavior.
They’re lousy friends, totally self-absorbed and fucked-up, who fall into a totally “insanely needy but I hate your guts” thing with every relationship they get into. They’re so crazy to have in therapy that there are therapists out there who refuse to have anything to do with them.
It’s true a lot of them have been abused, but in a lot of cases, it seems like they just made up the abuse for some stupid reason. 85% of Borderlines are female, and male Borderlines tend to be gay or bi.
But some say that BPD in the male is simply diagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
If you have an NPD anywhere near your life also, I would advise you to run them out of your life or restrict contact with them. I know an NPD very well, but I have little to do with this person. They have caused a lot of damage to me in life, and when I’m around them, they try to cause more damage. I’m not buying whatever shit these people are selling. NPD‘s are six years old for their whole lives.
I need to do a longer post on NPD since I know so much about it having been around NPD‘s for years, but I need to be careful because people I know might get upset.
Frankly, if you don’t have a personality disorder yourself, I would advise you or anyone like you to avoid the PD’s. The PD’s are some of the worst mental illnesses of all because they make a person abrasive, self-centered and very difficult to get along with. A non-fucked up personality (which I’m proudly repeatedly dx’d with) is something to be cherished and maintained for life.
Mood, anxiety and even psychotic disorders (Axis 1) can often be treated. It’s like getting a cold or the flu. People with Axis 1 stuff are like a basically healthy person who has temporarily acquired an illness of some sort, but at their core level (the personality) they are often very healthy.
That’s the way I like to think of myself. Sure I have an Axis 1 anxiety disorder (OCD) but I really hate it, can’t really help it, and will do anything to get rid of it. I spend a good part of my time getting outside of it enough so I can function and get along with others.
It’s perfectly possible to some nasty Axis 1 stuff on top of a more or less healthy inner core. It’s also possible to have an Axis 2 illness in your inner core but not have any overt Axis 1 symptoms due to it, though in time, lifelong personality disorders tend to lead to depression and often hypochondriasis in middle to old age. They can also cause anxiety and sometimes brief psychosis.
More often, they ruin your life and thrash the lives of just about everyone with the misfortune of getting close to you, while causing you to blame everyone else (the world, this person, that person) for all your troubles.
That’s an essential feature. In the PD’s, the problem is always other people, never in the PD person themselves.
Understand a PD always comes from a kid. It comes from your childhood – that’s where it develops – and it flowers in adolescence.
Personality change in adulthood is not PD and is probably due to other factors, maybe Axis 1 stuff. Axis 1 illnesses can distort one’s true personality and create a fake new “personality” that’s really just the Axis 1 illness itself. Remove the Axis 1 problem, and “the old you” ought to come right back.
Keep in mind that personality itself is more or less cemented by late adolescence.
Therefore, the treatment goal with a personality disorder not to create a whole new personality. You can’t create a whole new personality because you can’t stop being yourself – you’re always YOU for the rest of your life.
All PD’s are just pathological styles that have mirrors in healthy styles. For instance, the pathological Antisocial or Sociopathic Personality has a mirror called Aggressive Personality (not optimal, but valued in modern capitalist America, especially in males).
The pathological Dependent Personality has a healthy mirror called Devoted Personality.
All of the healthy mirrors probably have some drawbacks, but keep in mind that healthy personality and PD exist on a continuum. I doubt if truly healthy personalities really exist. If you went through 20,000 Americans, you might find one healthy person. So really non-PD’s are just healthier and less disordered than PD’s, who are less healthy and more disordered.
Having a personality disorder is like having a genetic condition that is hard to treat. When you have a cold or the flu, you can often comfort yourself knowing that you are basically healthy deep inside.
Not so with a PD. The essential self is damaged. Worse, the person is blinded to that fact, blames every one else, sees nothing wrong with themselves, sees no need for treatment unless forced into it and then tends to drop out or deliberately fail when shoved into therapy.
PD’s are bad news!

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8 thoughts on “A Brief Look at the Personality Disorders”

  1. I’m sure there’s some validity to some of those diagnostic categories, in some cases, but I tend to think that diagnosing a person with a personality disorder is sort of like saying the person is really screwed up. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and ADHD, but a lot of the management of it ends up being about using non-mainstream approaches, so to speak, though I do still see my psychopharmacologist 4 times a year. These events in my personal life, lately, have made me very skittish about communicating with comments online, unfortunately, and have made me prone to a sort of mental exhaustion. I should probably just use email to communicate with people, but I’m reluctant to write too many and wear out my welcome.

    1. A PD is a specific thing. It’s not a neurosis and it’s not a psychosis. It’s completely different altogether. Pray you don’t have one, but if you do, get help. You seem pretty open about your life on here, and you are very interested in improving yourself, so I’m dubious you have a personality disorder. The thing about a PD is that the person insists that there is nothing wrong with them! That’s the whole essence of it and that’s what makes them so infuriating to be around. They don’t try to change. They don’t think there’s a problem, so they don’t need to. PD people are the most defensive people on Earth.
      PD people can be very successful. My late father had PD (I dx’d it long ago), Obsessive-compulsive PD. It’s a nasty illness, but it did not totally ruin him as a human being. But it made him quite difficult. In the last two years of his life, it sort of got a lot better. That’s typical with PD’s. They often diminish in old age. He also suffered from depression and hypochondriasis in his old age too, which is very common for PD’s.
      PD’s are hard to dx. You have to know the person pretty well before you can figure it out. It’s something dx’able in the first visit. I have also known some Borderlines (probably the most fucked up all of all PD’s) and a Narcissistic PD (truly horrible) and some other suspected NPD’s. I think I know a Passive Aggressive PD. I think an ex-gf was a Schizotypal PD. They are *extremely* strange. I’ve known some Histrionics, but I’m not sure if they had Histrionic PD. I think I knew a guy with Paranoid PD. Hard to deal with. Antisocial PD’s are sociopaths, run don’t walk away.
      I really don’t think you have a PD. Depression and ADHD are illnesses, like the cold or the flu. You’re basically healthy at your core. If those Axis 1 things could go away, you would be ok.
      But a PD is so much worse. The person is damaged right at their very soul, at their very essence. The *essential person* is ill, damaged, unhealthy at their very core. It’s treatable all right, but it’s very hard to treat, since no one wants to believe that their very self is damaged and unhealthy.
      Even though I have an Axis 1 (OCD) I have a healthy personality. But the OCD has effected my personality and made it somewhat fucked up, but that isn’t my real, essential, core basic personality. But that’s not really me. It’s like some alien took over “me” and replaced it with this bullshit “OCD person” who isn’t really “me.” It’s like I’ve been hijacked. The OCD personality is like “the illusion of a personality.”
      It’s hard to explain.

  2. No, I think I know what you mean. I’m really bad at communicating online, on some of these things. I joke, and it sounds like I’m being really sarcastic or sardonic. But it’s more of a kind of deadpan delivery type of thing, and my blogs have always been hammed up and exaggerated. But those, like my online comments, can sound scary or maniacal or militant, instead of over-the-top.

  3. I’ve been seeing the same psychopharmacologist for 13 years. I’m really mellow in person, but my online writings can sound bizarre or angry. I can get into a zone when I write things online, and it can sound strange and intense or “militant.”

  4. I found a really great talk therapist back in the late 1990’s, but he’s not practicing anymore. I tried to go back to see him a few years ago and would consider seeing him again, to talk about some of these things with my personal life, but he’s not practicing anymore (and I’m sort of picky about therapists).

    1. Hell, I saw therapists for years off and on. Not sure how many really. At least 4 yrs straight. Then off and on for a while more. I still see em every now and then. Last one I saw was 2 yrs ago. It’s like there’s only so much they can do. It seems I’ve learned all about myself and my life that I care to know, and I’m not sure how much more good advice they can give me.

  5. That’s my view of it, to some extent, even though I probably could benefit from more outside perspectives (from the person’s perspective). It seems like it’s partly about learning to evaluate one’s own motivations and state of mind and not being afraid to do it. In my experience, as you’ve intimated in past postings, it’s potentially really destructive when a person is not only unable but unwilling to ever evaluate his or her mental state and social behavior and problems. That’s one of many reasons that I’ve tended to sound militant in my accounts of the problems with the overdiagnosis of bipolar spectrum disorders, etc. If doctors can’t or won’t spend more than 10 minutes with patients or can’t weigh the risks of the really toxic medications against their potential benefits, that seems like it would serve to undermine the greater value that a lot of people would derive from just learning to describe their own states of mind and not react in wild ways or be in the dark about their motivations. But I guess any given psychiatrist’s experiences give him or her a unique perspective, and I might have developed a different one if I’d been in the trenches, so to speak.

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