Personality Disorders

What are Personality Disorders?

There are many types of personality disorders. To help you to understand and relate to these conditions, a brief description of each is below:

Antisocial – Those that have a lack of conscience, empathy and respect for other people. Typically, antisocial personality disorder clients regard others as weak, to be taken advantage of and manipulated. There is no desire to conform to or respect social norms. Impulsive and irresponsible behaviours are rationalised, and there is a lack of remorse.

Avoidant – Those who avoid situations that will involve contact with other people, where they fear being rejected, shamed or criticised due to persistent feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. Understandably, this affects relationships with others, maintaining the cycle of distress.

Borderline – Defined by mood instability and poor self-image, often resulting in the individual engaging in risky behaviours in their search for self-identity. Intense mood swings may last for hours or days, affecting relationships with others (who also may be intensely liked or disliked). Those with borderline personality disorder are in fear of being abandoned, which can lead them to create dependent relationships with others. Common features may also include impulsive behaviour and difficulty controlling emotions.

Dependent – A need to be taken care of and have decisions made on the individual’s behalf. Fear of rejection and abandonment coupled with low self-confidence leads the individual to constantly seek reassurance. This can mean that those with dependent personality disorder remain in unhealthy relationships.

Histrionic – Characterised by constant attention seeking and discomfort when not at the centre of attention. This may lead to the performance of dramatic or inappropriate behaviour in order to receive the attention that is craved. Within this ‘dramatisation’ emotions may be exaggerated, and approval sought.

Narcissistic – Self-centeredness and the belief that the individual should associate with others that they consider equally as unique or of high status. Narcissists may have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships with others, as they are unable to recognise the feelings and needs of other people.

Obsessive Compulsive – Individuals are strongly focused on perfection, rituals and details; often of things on a small scale which can result in them missing the ‘bigger picture’. Such behaviour often comes with an inability to be adaptable and a constant feeling of anxiety, affecting relationships with others. Meticulous standards can also mean that individuals find it difficult working with others, and believe that others are less competent.

Paranoid – Those that are distrustful and constantly suspicious, often focusing on trivial events. Individuals can exhibit jealous, angry and secretive behaviours, and can, therefore, avoid close relationships with others. Communication with others is difficult as the individual does not recognise the negative impact that their behaviour has on others – they believe they are right and others are wrong.

Schizoid – Introverted individuals that fear intimacy and relationships with others. Those with schizoid personality disorder are often ‘creatures of habit’ and require little social interaction, resulting in detachment. Strong feelings are not expressed as the individual becomes absorbed in their own thoughts.

Schizotypal – Those that display odd, distorted, inappropriate behaviour which can include perceptual distortions and descriptions of supernatural experiences. Individuals are often anxious and seek isolation, affecting their ability to form and maintain relationships.

How can Clear Counselling help?

Counselling can help you to recognise and understand patterns of thought and ways of behaving that are impacting negatively on your life. By exploring and challenging these, you can understand yourself and can make positive changes, enabling you to form and maintain better relationships with others, as well as with yourself.

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