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Understanding Personality Disorders
Your personality is defined by how you think, behave, and feel. A personality disorder is not simply about thinking, feeling, or behaving differently than would be expected. It is a persistent deviation from cultural expectations that causes distress and makes it difficult to function…and for another to be in a healthy relationship with them.
At its heart, a personality disorder is characterized by an unhealthy and rigid pattern of behavior that interferes with the ability to perceive or relate to situations or people, enjoy life, maintain meaningful relationships, and do well at school or work.
Personality disorders vary in individuals as having moderate or greater impairment.
If you are involved with a narcissist you may notice and feel that something is “off” with them. Notice what you feel in your body, gut, and intuition when with them. These are red flags: grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior) which includes, feelings of entitlement, either covert or overt; self-centeredness, needing attention or excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, believes they are special, is exploitative and takes advantage of others to serve their needs. Lacks empathy and are unwilling or unable to identify with the feelings of others. Is envious of others or believes others are envious of them. Has arrogance or haughty behaviors. A narcissist is know to be manipulative, have rigid defenses, little to no empathy, treat others as objects for their personal gain, blame and shame, and project their darkness onto you, and take no responsibility. They will gaslight you and are controlling.
If you are involved with a sociopath you may notice these red flags: unlawful behaviors that are grounds for arrest, deceit, repeated lying, using a alias, conning others for personal gain, impulsive and does not plan ahead, aggressive with physical fights, reckless disregard for the safety of others, irresponsible to hold a job or financial commitments, lack of remorse, and these patterns may have begun by age 15.
*** Please seek help from a professional who is trained in diagnosing mental health disorders, and seek safety if you feel unsafe.
If you want to take a deeper dive into understanding these disorders read on. Do trust what you are experiencing and seek help for further clarity. These personalities, depending on the severity, can be dangerous.
Classifying Cluster B Disorders in Clinical Terms
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behaviors and reportedly affect 5.5% of adults. Cluster B personality disorders include antisocial ( a sociopath) personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. These tend to be the least common disorders but are often the most challenging to treat. As with any other number of personality and mood disorders, conditions can overlap and coexist, requiring different approaches to treatment and care.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
The DSM-5 defines antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others that begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. People with antisocial personality disorder have been described as lacking empathy (the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to understand their feelings). They often act irresponsibly, lie, steal, or repeatedly break the law. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by impulsive behavior, aggression, recklessness, a disregard for the safety of yourself or others, and a lack of remorse for any harms done.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with specific problems with interpersonal relationships, self-image, emotions, behaviors, and thinking. People with BPD tend to have unstable and intense relationships and are prone to frequent arguments and breakups. They are characteristically afraid of being abandoned and will have a strongly negative image of themselves. People with BPD will often say that they feel as if they’re on an emotional roller coaster, shifting from elation to depression within a matter of minutes. Another hallmark of BPD is a tendency to engage in risky behaviors, such as going on shopping sprees, abusing alcohol or drugs, engaging in promiscuous sex.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The key features of narcissistic personality disorder, according to the DSM-5, include an inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy and attention-seeking behavior.6 People with this disorder often believe themselves to be exceptional and entitled to special treatment. They will demand excessive attention, take advantage of others, and have an inability to either perceive or demonstrate empathy.
People with a narcissistic personality disorder will also exaggerate their achievements and fantasize about being powerful, attractive, and successful. While they will have no interest in others’ feelings and needs, they will often have unreasonable expectations of what others should do for them. Jealousy of others is common, as is the belief that they are actively envied by others.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
The most telling characteristic of histrionic personality disorder is a rapid shift between dramatic expressions of emotion and excessive attention-seeking behavior.7 People with this disorder don’t like it when someone else is getting more attention and will engage in dramatic, seductive, or sexually provocative behavior and/or use physical appearance to regain the limelight.
People with a histrionic personality disorder may believe that personal relationships are stronger than they really are, use dramatic statements to express opinions, and be easily influenced by others. They also tend to overly concerned about their physical appearance.
Your personality—the way you think, feel, and behave—largely forms during childhood. Your temperament, environment, and personal experiences all work together to shape your personality.
The exact causes of personality disorders remain unclear but are believed to be genetically influenced, suggesting that our temperament may be inherited to some degree. According to research from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, certain brain abnormalities are common in people with Cluster B personality disorders, suggesting that they may be inherently predisposed to mental health disorders from birth.8
Childhood trauma, abuse, chaos, instability, or a family history of personality disorders are also seen to be contributing factors.
( sections of this blog taken from, https://www.verywellmind.com/the-cluster-b-personality-disorders-425429 )