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Help With Personality Disorders

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.

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Upcoming Events
Feb
2019
01
Family Connections Program
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. Family Connections is a 12-week program for relatives with a loved one with borderline personality disorder. Available in person and via conference call.

Feb
2019
01
Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Feb
2019
01
Find a NAMI Family Support Group
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Jun
2019
19
NAMI National Convention
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Wed,  Jun  19 - Sat,  Jun  22

I’m concerned that my friend may have a personality disorder. I don’t think she’ll consider having an evaluation or getting help. What can I do?

People with personality disorders often have a hard time taking responsibility for their feelings and behaviors. They sometimes even blame others for their problems. However, each of them is suffering and is aware that their life is not going well. Approaching a friend about her painful feelings or the frustrations and disappointments in her life, and offering to listen, might be a way to help her consider treatment. If you have had a successful experience in therapy, share that with your friend, even if it wasn’t necessarily for “personality problems” (an off-putting term for many people). Most people with personality disorders enter treatment with another problem, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, a job loss, a romantic break-up, etc. The challenge is to get your friend “in the door,” so to speak, not to commit to long-term treatment at the beginning. Read More

My bother has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I want to be supportive and help him, but it has been extremely difficult to deal with his anger, aggressiveness and paranoia. How can I help him without feeling abused and hurt myself?

People with borderline personality disorder have significant problems in relationships. On the one hand, they can be very needy and clingy in relationships. On the other hand, they push people away because they are insecure themselves and distrust others. They would rather be the one who leaves than the one who is abandoned. To be able to tolerate the borderline person’s anger and aggression, family members must appreciate that the person is reacting out of a sense of weakness and suffering. That is not to say that family members should accept anger and abuse directed at them – limits must be set. Family members must be able to walk away, if necessary, from a situation for their own good, and without guilt. To help a person with borderline personality disorder people need to respect themselves enough to protect themselves. If you let yourself be abused, you will react with anger, push your brother away and confirm his suspicion that you do not love him (enough). Read More

About the Expert:

Andrew Skokol, M.D.
Research Professor, University of Arizona

Maria's Story

Maria, a single woman without a job, sought therapy at age 33 for treatment of depressed mood, chronic thoughts of killing herself and having no social contact for many months. She had spent the last six months alone in her apartment, lying in bed, eating junk food, watching TV and doing more online shopping than she could afford.

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Editor's Choice

MAY 12, 2019

Three Signs of a Highly Sensitve Naracissist

Psychology Today

Narcissism seems pervasive in our society these days, with many damaging relational consequences. The Oxford dictionary defines narcissism as “selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.” The Mayo Clinic research group states that “those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

MAY 11, 2019

'It' Brave Stevenage woman speaks out about living with borderline personality disorder

The Comet

A woman with borderline personality disorder is determined to tackle the stigma and misconceptions often attached to mental illnesses. In Rethink's explanation, it says those with BPD "feel strong emotions that you struggle to cope with", which mean you "may feel upset or angry a lot of the time". The charity says there are lots of different reasons why people get BPD, but a lot of people who have been diagnosed have had traumatic problems in their childhood. Speaking about life with BPD, Chloe said: "BPD destroys the worth of the sufferer. It's like I'm fighting to save myself from my own mind. I don't think the description of the condition gives it justice for the sufferer actually feeling the effects.

NOV 30, 2018

We need to treat borderline personality disorder for what it really is – a response to trauma

The Conversation

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a highly stigmatised and misunderstood condition. Australians with BPD face considerable barriers to accessing high-quality and affordable care, according to new research published today. For every 100 patients we treat in inpatient psychiatric wards, 43 will have BPD. People with this condition are vulnerable, impulsive, and highly susceptible to criticism – yet they continue to face stigma and discrimination when seeking care.