Personality disorders cause rigid and unhealthy patterns of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. They affect how a person perceives and relates to situations and people. This impacts how they form and maintain relationships with family, friends, and intimate partners. People with these disorders tend to repeat patterns in their relationships, which are often volatile, confusing, and difficult. Some disorders cause people to avoid relationships altogether.
FACTS ABOUT PERSONALITY DISORDERS
- Personality disorders typically develop during adolescence and young adulthood.
- They can be very disruptive to daily functioning and difficult for others to recognize as a disorder rather than a character flaw.
- Up to 10% of people with Borderline Personality Disorder die by suicide.
- People experiencing a personality disorder are often blamed, shamed, and judged by others. It is very important to remember that a person with a personality disorder is suffering greatly.
- There are effective treatments for those suffering from a personality disorder. Left untreated, personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder, can be fatal.
- There are a variety of personality disorder types that fall into “clusters.” Clusters are classified by an overarching worldview and set of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
- Each personality disorder type has signs specific to it.
- For helping purposes, it is much less important that you understand the specifics of the subsets of personality disorders than that you can recognize these signs as being signals that someone may need help.
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
From The Mayo Clinic
Cluster A Personality Disorders - Suspicious
Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior. They include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Pervasive distrust and suspicion of others and their motives
- Unjustified belief that others are trying to harm or deceive you
- Unjustified suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others
- Hesitancy to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use the information against you
- Perception of innocent remarks or non-threatening situations as personal insults or attacks
- Angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults
- Tendency to hold grudges
- Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful
Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Lack of interest in social or personal relationships, preferring to be alone
- Limited range of emotional expression
- Inability to take pleasure in most activities
- Inability to pick up normal social cues
- Appearance of being cold or indifferent to others
- Little or no interest in having sex with another person
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Peculiar dress, thinking, beliefs, speech or behavior
- Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing a voice whisper your name
- Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
- Social anxiety and a lack of or discomfort with close relationships
- Indifferent, inappropriate or suspicious response to others
- “Magical thinking” — believing you can influence people and events with your thoughts
- Belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden messages meant only for you
Cluster B Personality Disorders - Emotional and Impulsive
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Disregard for others’ needs or feelings
- Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others
- Recurring problems with the law
- Repeated violation of the rights of others
- Aggressive, often violent behavior
- Disregard for the safety of self or others
- Impulsive behavior
- Consistently irresponsible
- Lack of remorse for behavior
Borderline Personality Disorder
- Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating
- Unstable or fragile self-image
- Unstable and intense relationships
- Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
- Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
- Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
- Ongoing feelings of emptiness
- Frequent, intense displays of anger
- Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes
Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Constantly seeking attention
- Excessively emotional, dramatic, or sexually provocative to gain attention
- Speaks dramatically with strong opinions but few facts or details to back them up
- Easily influenced by others
- Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
- Excessive concern with physical appearance
- Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Belief that you’re special and more important than others
- Fantasies about power, success, and attractiveness
- Failure to recognize others’ needs and feelings
- Exaggeration of achievements or talents
- Expectation of constant praise and admiration
- Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
- Envy of others or belief that others envy you
Cluster C Personality Disorders - Anxious
Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior. They include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Too sensitive to criticism or rejection
- Feeling inadequate, inferior, or unattractive
- Avoidance of work activities that require interpersonal contact
- Socially inhibited, timid and isolated, avoiding new activities or meeting strangers
- Extreme shyness in social situations and personal relationships
- Fear of disapproval, embarrassment, or ridicule
Dependant Personality Disorder
- Excessive dependence on others and feeling the need to be taken care of
- Submissive or clingy behavior toward others
- Fear of having to provide self-care or fend for oneself if left alone
- Lack of self-confidence, requiring excessive advice and reassurance from others to make even small decisions
- Difficulty starting or doing projects on one’s own due to lack of self-confidence
- Difficulty disagreeing with others, fearing disapproval
- Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment, even when other options are available
- Urgent need to start a new relationship when a close one has ended
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Preoccupation with details, orderliness, and rules
- Extreme perfectionism, resulting in dysfunction and distress when perfection is not achieved, such as feeling unable to finish a project because you don’t meet your own strict standards
- Desire to be in control of people/ tasks/situations, and inability to delegate tasks
- Neglect of friends and enjoyable activities because of excessive commitment to work or a project
- Inability to discard broken or worthless objects
- Rigid and stubborn
- Inflexible about morality, ethics, or values
- Tight, miserly control over budgeting and spending money
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW FEEL(S) SUICIDAL, go to the emergency room, call a mental health professional who can talk to you NOW, or call the police and say you have a mental health crisis, not a criminal situation!
In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Text HOME to The Crisis Textline at 741741. They are available 24/7 in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
See Also: HELPING SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL