A Theory About Personality Disorders

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While I was writing yesterday’s post about personality disorders, I kind of came up with a theory of my own. That theory is that all of us likely fall somewhere on the spectrum of personality disorders – ALL of us. Granted, it is definitely to greater or lesser extents depending on your experiences, personality type, and genetic makeup, but all of us fall somewhere on the spectrum of narcissism. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of avoidance and anxiety. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of neediness and emotional dysregulation. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of eccentricity.

This theory is very similar to theories I have heard that claim we are all somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Some of us clearly fall heavily on the side of autistic traits, some of us fall in the middle somewhere, and some of us fall heavily on the other side of the spectrum, but we are all on there somewhere.

For personality disorders though, I feel that most of us probably do more closely fit one (or perhaps even two) of the clusters overall. In case you were unaware, there are 3 clusters of personality disorders:

Cluster A (the “odd” or “eccentric” cluster), with Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal personality disorders.

Cluster B (the “dramatic”, “emotional”, or “erratic” cluster), with Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Antisocial personality disorders.

Cluster C (the “anxious”, “fearful” cluster), with Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders.

I don’t know about you, but almost everyone I know fits quite nicely at least into one of those groups when I consider their overall personality traits. Either I know a lot of messed up people…or maybe having some personality problems is just part of being human? Of course, some take it to the extreme. I myself am so highly anxious and fearful that I would consider it abnormally so. I believe most of that has to do with early attachment issues in childhood and a history of trauma and abuse.

I guess what I am trying to say is that people with personality disorders are not monsters or rare weirdos like many tend to think of them. They are just normal, somewhat dysfunctional people like the rest of us, but perhaps they have a harder time coping due to negative experiences and traumas they have endured. Sure, some of them are assholes, but so is a significant portion of the human race in general…

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Love – in theory and practice

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Maybe I have read too many near-death experiences or just have too much time on my hands, but I often think about the end of my life and how I will feel if I undergo a life review. While pondering, I start to wonder if the life review would make me regret some of the things I did? Or will I regret even more some of the things I could have done but didn’t do? I start to wonder about what will really matter at the end. Of course, most of the time I come down to the same answer…

LOVE – the “real” purpose in life.

Not fame. Not money. Not being highly educated. Not being praised and appreciated. Not work. Not play. Not fulfilling our ego. Not collecting things. Not being the “best” at something. Not being perfect. Not wallowing in self-pity. Not being “right”. Not being super-religious. Not even being “happy”.

In the end, nothing but love really matters. Not the ooey-gooey, tingly feelings of budding romance, but real, true, nitty-gritty love – the kind that seeps past your bones into your very soul and gives you the will to go on when all else fails.

The hard part is that love like that is hard to find and even harder to give away on a consistent basis. To give that kind of love to others you have to overcome the all-consuming self-interest that most of us struggle with. You have to REALLY be willing to sacrifice and give yourself to others. This kind of selfless love can be hard to give to your family, let alone to strangers. Most of us prefer to focus on the theories and philosophy of love, rather than the actual practice. It is easier and safer to stay in our heads and look logically at love, but real love can’t be analyzed and figured out…it can only be given away. I know that I often need a reminder of that fact, so I figured maybe others could use one too.