By: Youmna Halawa
We all might think unhealthily in some way and to some extent. In fact, according to a UK study, one in every twenty of us has a personality disorder at some point.
Then what exactly is a personality disorder? Wait… First, what is personality? Our personality is the traits we’ve developed growing up and how these traits make us think, feel, and behave. Duhh. A personality is being shaped by experiences, environment, and inherited characteristics up until the late teens or early twenties. So apparently you should believe them when they say “You’re in a critical age”. One experience can fuck things up for real and leave its mark in the form of a personality disorder. Basically, a personality disorder is an unhealthy pattern in the way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that makes life difficult. Difficult meaning that some unchangeable traits, that are not “normal”, cause problems in relationships and in controlling feelings and behavior. Often people with personality disorders cannot “fit in” in society. In addition, if you have a personality disorder, there’s obviously a great possibility to be unhappy due to the consequences of these traits as well as cause harm and distress to those around you. This dysfunctional pattern shows in at least two of these areas: way of thinking about yourself and others, way of controlling your behavior, way of responding emotionally, and way of relating to other people.
On a side note, personality disorders are egosyntonic disorders, meaning that the person with the disorder is NOT aware that there is a problem, and might think the problem is with everyone else. Moreover, personality disorders are one of the hardest mental health problems to diagnose and are often misread. It is truly difficult for other people to notice that there is a serious issue. Even though it’s hard to diagnose and pin down personality disorders they are actually pretty common.
So, since personality disorders are hidden all around us, there are specific ones that are most common. Here’s how the list goes:
#1 Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)
So this disorder is all about order… ehmm…excuse my pun. This is not OCD by the way. This is the excessive interest and preoccupation with details, scheduling, organization, and rules, aka PERFECTION. It’s the lack of reality and desperate need for perfection that brings about the imperfection. Very ironic. Surprisingly, people who suffer from OCPD are usually high functioning and orderly. The problem comes when they tend to overwork while neglecting leisure and relationships. However, procrastination can be a perk of OCPD, because aiming for perfection most probably won’t be successful, so why bother doing anything in the first place? The bottom line is they are the “Work Hard” peeps who miss out on the “Play Harder”.
#2 Paranoid Personality Disorder
Simply it’s distrust. Of course we shouldn’t trust everyone but paranoid personalities build up conspiracy theories for themselves. They believe that groups or individuals target to harm them. This disorder brings about withdrawal from society, inability to communicate, and constant anxiety due to the lack of trust. So they come out as suspicious and extremely guarded.
#3 Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD)
“I’m not enough” each one of us felt this at least once, but this is an avoidant personality’s motto. This disorder causes extreme sensitivity to what others think. People who’ve got APD suffer from self-esteem issues and feel socially inept. They fear abandonment and rejection so they tend to avoid socializing, for example essential social situations such as going to school. They have trouble communicating and expressing, so they are misunderstood and usually labeled “loners” and “shy”. However alone, they desire affection and fantasize about ideal relationships. Someone who has APD is not the same as someone who is an introvert. They want to have relationships and friendships, but will make no effort to create them out of fear. They’re the ones who want to stay in their bubble of fantasy and hide away from the cruel world that rejects them. Honestly they do have a point.
#4 Antisocial Personality Disorder:
The antisocials are not the introverts. They’re the trouble makers who give 0 fucks about what you think. The main symptom is lack of concern for others’ feelings, which then causes a problem with conforming to rules or “norms”. Thus an antisocial personality will be aggressive, impulsive, and lacking guilt. Surprisingly, antisocial personalities seem charming but are manipulative. They’re experts at making shallow shortlived relationships but find it hard keeping strong relationships. Another fun fact is many killers are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. And it’s true that antisocial personalities can become con artists and criminals while showing no guilt. So they’re the ones who can go around doing “misconduct” without giving a fuck. Cool, huh?
#5 Dependent Personality Disorder
The clingy needy. Indecisive and unable to be alone. Dependent personalites have a longstanding need to be taken care of. They are anxious of being abondoned and left alone or seperated from important people in their lives. This fear leads to showing submissive behavior to trigger the care of others. People with dependent personality disorders often self doubt and belittle themselves, calling themselves “stupid”. They believe any criticism as proof of their worthlessness. They simply let people run them over in return for doing things for them and deciding for them. They’re the ones who have lost all faith in themselves.
One thing I’ve found when I knew more about personality disorders is that I’ve felt that I’ve related to one or more disorder at some point. One can “live in” a disorder to some extent. There is a slight line between normality and abnormality, but you never know when you cross the line. Awareness is key.
At the end of the day personality disorders are still on their way to be understood. We have to embrace the issue as an illness that needs professional help to be cured. Stop blaming the victim. Be open minded and give a helping hand for any seeker, whether they speak it out or suffer in silence.