People With Personality Disorders Can Destroy Your Life

They are more common than you think

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Photo by Karla Hernandez on Unsplash

Who is sick and who is ‘crazy’?

When you think of mental illness, you think of people in a dire mental state. A state that clearly shows that something with the person “isn’t right“. At the low-end of craziness, we often see homeless people talking to themselves — would that qualify as mental illness? Or is this still the kind of crazy that would pass as acceptable?

Recognizing mental illness in others

When former Pink Floyd band member Syd Barrett appeared at the recording studio overweight, with shaved off hair and eyebrows, initially no one recognized him. They hadn’t seen him in a while - and according to his former band members — they were in a shock when they saw him. He was like a ghost; physically and mentally he was a different person.

A “difficult character” may be a personality disorder

Accustomization is key in this process. It is the same accustomization that happens when you are — for instance — born into a family where a member may suffer from mental illness without others ever noticing it. It is buried inside the privacy sphere, and stays unrecognized because there’s no one to call it what it is.

“Because they do not believe they have a disorder, people with personality disorders often do not seek treatment on their own.”

Types and treatment

The most often unrecognized mental illnesses are the personality disorders, which are grouped into 3 main clusters:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Knowledge is power

It holds true every time. If you want to find out where your difficulties come from, it helps to investigate into this topic, because it pulls the curtain on many superstitions that we keep alive in our relationships for no other reason but tradition.

An example

At the end, I’ve chosen a great little example where — once you’ve learned how to spot a personality disorder — you’ll be able to instantly recognize a dysfunctional personality trait and label it appropriately. It’s not enough to say: “Oh, this person is SICK!“ Because, in a way, you don’t really think that this person is sick, you just want to emphasize that the person is exercising “strange behavior“ — without knowing that it is far more than that.

“Kinski would start raving with some trifling excuse, because now he was just a marginal figure.“

He also mentions a plane crash where 6 people died and Kinski having a similar reaction and behavior.

In conclusion

You can spend a lifetime trying to figure out a person’s insanity without ever calling it anything like that. You call it “giving it another try“, “not giving up on someone“, “they deserve another chance“, and so on. While all you really want to say is: I don’t know how to end this, nor do I dare to.

Written by

I write about the resistance to change, the unwillingness to take risks, and paralysis of indecision — only the good stuff.

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