Personality Disorders Community

Types of Personality Disorders - Personality Disorders Types

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Borderline Personality: People with a borderline personality, most of whom are women, are unstable in their self-image, moods, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Their thought processes are more disturbed than those of people with an antisocial personality, and their aggression is more often turned against the self. They are angrier, more impulsive, and more confused about their identity than are people with a histrionic personality. Borderline personality becomes evident in early adulthood but becomes less common in older age groups.

People with a borderline personality often report being neglected or abused as children. Consequently, they feel empty, angry, and deserving of nurturing. They have far more dramatic and intense interpersonal relationships than people with cluster A personality disorders. When they fear being abandoned by a caring person, they tend to express inappropriate and intense anger. People with a borderline personality tend to see events and relationships as black or white, good or evil, but never neutral.

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When people with a borderline personality feel abandoned and alone, they may wonder whether they actually exist (that is, they do not feel real). They can become desperately impulsive, engaging in reckless promiscuity , substance abuse, or self-mutilation. At times they are so out of touch with reality that they have brief episodes of psychotic thinking, paranoia, and hallucinations.

People with a borderline personality commonly visit primary care doctors. Borderline personality is also the most common personality disorder treated by therapists, because people with the disorder relentlessly seek someone to care for them. However, after repeated crises, vague unfounded complaints, and failures to comply with therapeutic recommendations, caretakers including doctors often become very frustrated with them and view them erroneously as people who prefer complaining to helping themselves. (more detailed info on Borderline Personality Disorder)

Cluster C: Anxious or Inhibited Behavior

Avoidant Personality: People with an avoidant personality are overly sensitive to rejection, and they fear starting relationships or anything new. They have a strong desire for affection and acceptance but avoid intimate relationships and social situations for fear of disappointment and criticism. Unlike those with a schizoid personality, they are openly distressed by their isolation and inability to relate comfortably to others. Unlike those with a borderline personality, they do not respond to rejection with anger; instead, they withdraw and appear shy and timid. Avoidant personality is similar to generalized social phobia (see Anxiety Disorders: Social Phobia). (more detailed info on Avoidant Personality Disorder)

Dependent Personality: People with a dependent personality routinely surrender major decisions and responsibilities to others and permit the needs of those they depend on to supersede their own. They lack self-confidence and feel intensely insecure about their ability to take care of themselves. They often protest that they cannot make decisions and do not know what to do or how to do it. This behavior is due partly to a reluctance to express their views for fear of offending the people they need and partly to a belief that others are more capable. People with other personality disorders often have traits of a dependent personality, but the dependent traits are usually hidden by the more dominant traits of the other disorder. Sometimes adults with a prolonged illness or physical handicap develop a dependent personality. (more detailed info on Dependent Personality Disorder)

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality: People with an obsessive-compulsive personality are preoccupied with orderliness, perfectionism, and control. They are reliable, dependable, orderly, and methodical, but their inflexibility makes them unable to adapt to change. Because they are cautious and weigh all aspects of a problem, they have difficulty making decisions. They take their responsibilities seriously, but because they cannot tolerate mistakes or imperfection, they often have trouble completing tasks. Unlike the mental health disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder (see Anxiety Disorders: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)), obsessive-compulsive personality does not involve repeated, unwanted obsessions and ritualistic behavior.

People with an obsessive-compulsive personality are often high achievers, especially in the sciences and other intellectually demanding fields that require order and attention to detail. However, their responsibilities make them so anxious that they can rarely enjoy their successes. They are uncomfortable with their feelings, with relationships, and with situations in which they lack control or must rely on others or in which events are unpredictable. (more detailed info on Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder)

Other Personality Types

Some personality types are not classified as disorders.

Passive-Aggressive (Negativistic) Personality: People with a passive-aggressive personality behave in ways that appear inept or passive. However, these behaviors are actually ways to avoid responsibility or to control or punish others. People with a passive-aggressive personality often procrastinate, perform tasks inefficiently, or claim an implausible disability. Frequently, they agree to perform tasks they do not want to perform and then subtly undermine completion of the tasks. Such behavior usually enables them to deny or conceal hostility or disagreements.

Cyclothymic Personality: People with cyclothymic personality alternate between high-spirited buoyancy and gloomy pessimism. Each mood lasts weeks or longer. Mood changes occur regularly and without any identifiable external cause. Many gifted and creative people have this personality type (Depression and Mania: Symptoms and Diagnosis).

Depressive Personality: This personality type is characterized by chronic moroseness, worry, and self-consciousness. People have a pessimistic outlook, which impairs their initiative and disheartens others. To them, satisfaction seems undeserved and sinful. They may unconsciously believe their suffering is a badge of merit needed to earn the love or admiration of others.

next: Treatment for Personality Disorders