Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 73 · 2 years ago

What is a personality disorder?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Eventually, as is the case in everyone’s life, whether it be a family member, co-worker, neighbor, or friend, you will come across a person with a personality disorder (PD). Although it can usually be hard to discern if a person has a PD at the beginning of the relationship, its presence will soon come to light. Having an accurate understanding of both what a personality disorder is and where it may be coming from is essential to keep the frustration of navigating them to a minimum.


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...to grow with Christine dotcom forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dot com, forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today I'd like to go backwards and talk about what is a personality disorder, and the reason we're doing this is so that you can get a better idea of what a personality disorder is, and is and isn't in...

...and of itself. That it's very helpful when dealing with somebody WHO's narcissistic or might have one of the other personality disorders such as obsessive, compulsive, paranoia, antisocial, dependent, avoided, borderline, just to name a few. So let's go in and dive into this. Eventually, as is the case in everyone's life, whether it's a family member or coworker, neighbor or friend, you're going to come across somebody who has a personality disorder. Although it can usually be hard to discern if the person has a personality disorder at the beginning of their relationship, it's presence will soon come to light. Eventually you're going to find out. So having an accurate understanding of both what a personality disorder is and where it may be coming from. Is essential to keep the frustration of navigating them to an absolute minimum. So what is a personality disorder?...

It helps to begin with the visual image of a bell shaped curve. You probably remember this from school when your teachers would say that they are going to grade you on a bell shaped curve. If you were to map empathy as a personality characteristic on the graph of this bell shaped curve, you would see the standard deviation at the highest point, the larger part of the curve, in a range of plus or minus one in either direction of the standard deviation. So if you think of it like at the very center of the curve, the highest part of the curve, let's just say that empathy is there. And so when we talk about the standard deviation that's in either direction, you go plus or minus one percent. So that is the largest part of the curve representing what we would call a normal amount of empathy. The majority of the population is going to reside within that. Those with the standard...

...deviation of greater than one but less than two either have too much empathy or too little empathy compared to the average person. So this is what we call the medium range of the curve, like where the cove starts to slope down on either sides and more than two standard deviation points in either direction place empathy at what we call a dysfunctional level. So this is the point on the graph where too much empathy, or lack thereof, becomes part of a disorder. This is the smallest part of the curve, so can see it affects very little of the population. This same procedure or method can it be applied to each one of the traits that are identified in personality disorders as characteristics? So we just use empathy as one, but you could apply the same amount of thing to other traits such as superiority or adaptability or personableness or aggressiveness. All of these things are just general traits, and people who have them in...

...the far ends of the reach, not at the average level, those are the ones with the personality disorders. So where does this come from? This question is a topic of so many scientific studies. With the information that's currently available today, it's believe that half of a personality disorders origin is biological and the other half is environmental. It's my opinion and what I contend is that there's a third component that comes into play later on, which is Chore Ways. So let's talk about the three factors as I just identify them. The biological component means that someone in the family tree also has a personality disorder and similar characteristics were passed down through the genes. To be considered a biological trait, the ancestors personality disorder does not need to be the exact same as the descendants. There are several characteristics which apply to more than one personality disorder and...

...all can manifest differently. So, for instance, empathy is a perfect example of that. So empathy, for is nonexistent usually for narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder, but you will see it an abundance for people who have borderline personality disorder and sometimes dependent personality disorder. The personality disorder does needs to be there in the same way a person inherits other personality traits from their ancestors. Other examples of this includes sensitivity, compassion, determination or perfectionism. So that's part one, the biological component. Part two is the environmental component. The environmental component can come from a variety of sources. A parent who has a personality disorder may model the behavior as being the correct way to live. A traumatic...

...event, severe childhood illness or repeated abuse can also trigger the underlying development of a personality disorder. This does not mean that everyone who has these events will develop a personality disorder. Rather, it is part of the current explanation for the existence of one. A parent can also inclement of a personality disorder through incorrect use of discipline, inconsistency and unsafe environments and over giving to the point that a child actually feels entitled. So those are all ways in which a personality disorder can come to manifest as an environmental part, understanding that they could have the biological compartment but without the environmental part triggering it. The biological part could just lay dormant for their entire life and then not come out at all because there was no environmental trigger. So here's the third component that I wanted to talk to you about. Remember, we talked about biological environmental. And...

...the third factor, I believe, is choice. At some point a person, usually in the teen years between the ages of twelve and eighteen, makes a conscientious decision to be a certain way. The decision then becomes an integral part of who they are transitioning into, become at the subconscious level. For instance, a team might despise an overly emotional parent, which is their biology, because their discipline was never consistent, which is environmental, and therefore decide make a decision not to show emotion. This is an oversimplification, but it serves the point that choice could also be a factor. So, as the result of having an overly emotional parent that had an inconsistent discipline, the child might instead decide they don't want to show emotion and might become very rigid in their ideas of how things should be done and overly structured. So that's just...

...an example of what I believe is choice. So those were the three different parts that actually put together a personality disorder. So when does a personality disorder develop? Typically, a personality disorder cannot be diagnosed in a person until they reach eighteen years of age, but for many people with personality disorders the evidence of it must exist in early teens. We usually look for a history of five years. Sometimes the traits of a personality disorder are seen in the very early years, but not the personality disorder itself. Traits are not the same as a disorder. Think back to the bell shaped curve that we talked about. A trait that is in the in the medium range, whereas a disorder is in the smallest range. So you could have a trait such as a lack of empathy or a minimal amount of empathy, but it's not at the complete disorder or dysfunction level, which is no empathy at all. A trait...

...is not as intense as a disorder. Rather it is a milder version of it. Sword Child can display the traits but not actually ever develop the the disorder itself. The reason for the delay and diagnosis is best explaining through Eric Ericson's eight stages of psychosocial development. The four stage, from age twelve to eighteen is identity versus confusion. During these years, a team is experimenting with a variety of personalities from family and peers to see which is most likely that they want to be. If all goes well, they don't formally develop their identity until eighteen at the earliest. Therefore, personality disorder cannot be diagnosed until a personality is established. So what is the technical definition of a personality disorder? Well. According to the DSM Five, a personality disorder must meet these...

...criteria. First, it's an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individuals culture. Think of that bell shape curve that we talked about before. This pattern is manifested in two or more of the following areas. There's four items listed here. Number one, cognitive ways of perceiving an interpreting self, other people and Events. Number two, effectivity, the range, intensity, ability and appropriateness of emotional responses, number three, interpersonal functioning and number four, impulse control. The second part of the definition is this the enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a Broadway range of personal and social situations. The next part is the enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

The next part of the definition the pattern is stable and of long duration and that it's onset can be traced to adolescent or early adulthood. Next part, the enduring pattern is not better explained as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder. And last the enduring pattern is not attributed to the psychological effects of substance drug abuse or another medical condition such as head trauma. So what are the different types of personality disorder? The DSM five lists the following cluster. A is paranoid, schizoid or Schizo type cluster. B is antisocial, borderline histrionic and narcissistic cluster. C is avoided, dependent and obsessive compulsive. Other personality disorders which did not make the DSM five are passive, aggressive, depressive...

...and sadistic, which is usually considered to be part of the antisocial personality disorder. So this summary is just a basic introduction to the concept of personality disorders to help you understand what they are and where they come from. The first step to having a successful relationship with someone who has the personality disorder is to educate yourself and be aware of what the personality disorder looks like and what it means. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine Hamad, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visit grow with christinecom.

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