What do all personality disorders have in common ?

Recurring problematic mental states

These states can be further split into three, i.e distressing states that one tries to avoid; coping states that one might use to manage distress and “egosyntonic states”which define one’s identity (Egosyntonic refers to instincts or ideas that are acceptable to the self; that are compatible with one’s values and ways of thinking. They are consistent with one’s fundamental personality and beliefs.).

Common distressing states include

  • Feeling unloved or abandoned.
  • Feeling like they are alien or “excluded”.
  • Feeling vulnerable.
  • Feeling unworthy, guilty or shameful.
  • Feeling suffocated or powerless.

People with personality issues may use the following coping strategies

  • Hypervigilance, watchfulness and mistrustfulness.
  • Self-protective anger or oppression.
  • Emptiness or disconnection.
  • Avoidance or isolation.
  • Submission and helplessness.
  • Productivity/Workaholism/Overload.
  • Identifying an ideal protector.
  • Stupefaction.

Egosyntonic states

Grandiosity – Feels superior/ different and convinced that they are different and that they belong to a fantasied elite.

Moral superiority – This consists of a sense of being just, upright and faultless. Patients exalt themselves to being bearers of ethical and moral values they feel to be absolute, universal and indispensable.

Problems regulating mood states.

Emotional regulation is difficult for those with problematic personality traits. Emotional dysregulation can lead to behavioural problems and can interfere with a person’s social interactions and relationships at home, in school, or at a place of employment. These may include

  • Exhibiting emotions too intense for a situation.
  • Being less able to calm themselves.
  • Becoming avoidant or aggressive when dealing with negative emotions.
  • Difficulty recognizing their own emotions.
  • Difficulty controlling their attention.

You or your loved may display one or more of the above-mentioned features. It is important to understand that the view on personality disorders is changing. People are strong and capable of change. Identifying issues is the first step in learning to deal with them. I am sure you can do this! All the best.

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References

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10879-016-9342-7

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