Advertising
Advertising

10 Personality Disorders Many of Us Aren’t Aware Of

10 Personality Disorders Many of Us Aren’t Aware Of

Personality disorders are a kind of mental disorders that affect how people manage their emotions, behavior and relationships. Personality disorders can be diagnosed 40%-60% of the time, and they are characterized by an enduring collection of behavioral patterns often associated with considerable personal, social, and occupational disruption.

This behavior can result in maladaptive coping skills and may lead to personal problems that induce extreme anxiety, distress, or depression.

The concept of personality disorders itself is much more recent and tentatively dates back to psychiatrist Philippe Pinel’s 1801 description of manie sans délire, a condition which he characterized as outbursts of rage and violence (manie) in the absence of any symptoms of psychosis such as delusions and hallucination.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Revision (DSM-5), there are ten types of personality disorders and they can be grouped or clustered into three.[1]

Cluster A (Odd, bizarre, eccentric)

Paranoid PD, Schizoid PD, Schizotypal PD

Advertising

Cluster B (Dramatic, erratic)

Antisocial PD, Borderline PD, Histrionic PD, Narcissistic PD

Cluster C (Anxious, fearful)

Avoidant PD, Dependent PD, Obsessive-compulsive PD.

Below are the explanation of the ten types of personality disorder and signs.[2]

1. Paranoid personality disorder

The patient is always guarded and constantly on the lookout for suspicious acts. The individual is overly sensitive to rejection and easily feels down. They may feel shame and humiliation, and they can even hold grudges. Withdrawal from others is common, and it is difficult for them to build close relationships since they can easily blame others for mistakes.

Advertising

Signs:

  • Distrust of others
  • Sensitive to people’s reaction
  • Ability to bear grudges for a long time

2. Schizoid personality disorder

Schizoid designates a natural tendency to direct attention toward one’s inner life and away from the external world. A competing theory about people with schizoid PD is that they are in fact highly sensitive with a rich inner life: they experience a deep longing for intimacy but find initiating and maintaining close relationships too difficult. Therefore, they retreat into their inner world. People with schizoid PD rarely require any medical attention and are resistant to building close relationships.

Signs:

  • Staying away from friendly people around them
  • Lack emotional response
  • Lack sense of humor

3. Borderline personality disorder

It was given this name because it was thought to lie between the borderline of anxiety and psychotic disorder. Emotional instability, outburst of anger when criticized, suicidal threats and acts of self-harm are common. The person essentially lacks a sense of self, and as a result, experiences feelings of emptiness and fears of abandonment.

Signs:

  • Unpredictable as they can harm incautiously
  • They are manipulative
  • They are unstable

4. Schizotypal disorder

People with schizotypal personality disorder are often described as odd or eccentric. They usually have few, if any, close relationships. People with schizotypal PD have a higher than average probability of developing schizophrenia, and the condition used to be called ‘latent schizophrenia.’

Advertising

Signs:

  • Acting strange or unusual
  • They are not friendly
  • Staying away from people

5. Histrionic personality disorder

People with this see themselves as attractive and charming. They are constantly seeking others’ attention and tend to overreact. They do not have a sense of self-worth, and they depend entirely on themselves to gain the approval of others.

Signs:

  • Attracts attention
  • Tend to seduce
  • Seek to influence others’ reactions

6. Narcissistic personality disorder

People with this disorder have a sense of self-importance and require some form of admiration. They believe they are superior and therefore have no regard for others’ feelings. They lack empathy and exploit others in order to become successful. To others, this individual may seem self-absorbed, controlling, intolerant, selfish, or insensitive. They may become violent when ridiculed or criticized.

Signs:

  • Feels superior
  • They are arrogant

7. Anankastic personality disorder

A person with anankastic personality disorder is typically doubting and cautious, rigid and controlling, and humorless. Anxiety arises when this person experiences a lack of control over situations beyond his or her understanding.

Advertising

Signs:

  • Believes they are perfect
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

8. Avoidant personality disorder

This individual has low self-esteem and is constantly having the fear of being embarrassed, criticized, or rejected. They are awkward and avoid meeting people due to fear of being disliked. Research suggests that people with avoidant PD excessively monitor internal reactions, both their own and of others. This prevents them from engaging naturally or fluently in social situations.

Signs:

  • Low self esteem
  • Fear of failure

9. Antisocial personality disorder

People with this disorder always act without considering others’ perspectives. Antisocial personality disorder is much more common in men than in women, and it is characterized by a lack of concern for others’ feelings. This person disregards social rules and obligations, is irritable and aggressive, acts impulsively, and never feels remorse or guilt.

Signs:

  • Disrespects others’ decisions
  • Believes they are the only ones who are right
  • Absence of societal norms

10. Dependent personality disorder

This is characterized by a lack of self-confidence and an excessive need to be looked after. The person needs a lot of help in making everyday decisions and surrenders important life decisions to care for others. This individual fears isolation and can never be found alone.

Signs:

  • Clingy with other people
  • Avoids isolation
  • Cannot do anything alone

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The 10 Personality Disorders
[2]Mind: Personality disorders

More by this author

Joseph Chan

Freelance Writer

10 Personality Disorders Many of Us Aren’t Aware Of Feeling Very Stressful? Find Out Why, Deal With It and Become More Stress Resistant! Life Wisdom: You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate How to Learn from an Expert of Any Field for Free All Successful People Have a Self Actualized Mindset. Do You Have It?

Trending in Psychology

1Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 2Being in Narcissism Relationships Is Like Playing With Fire. It Is Risky. 313 Crippling Social Anxiety Symptoms Explained & How to Deal with Them 48 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies 5Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

Advertising

When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

Advertising

As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

Advertising

For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

Advertising

First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Read Next