Understanding Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving that are inflexible and generally lead to impaired relationships with others. Mental health professionals formally recognize 10 disorders that fall into 3 clusters (A, B, and C), although there is now known to be much overlap between the disorders, each of which exists on a spectrum.

Recent Posts on Personality Disorders

Star Wars Psychology: The Problems with Diagnosing Kylo Ren

What's wrong with Star Wars: The Force Awakens villain Kylo Ren? Borderline personality, psychopathy, intermittent explosive disorder, addiction, or Force-fueled immaturity?

The "Wild Man"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 08, 2016 How To Do Life
On getting a terminal diagnosis, a man became radically honest. Was that wise?

The Argumentative, Paranoid and Vigilant Manager

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on February 02, 2016 A Sideways View
Is a little paranoia a healthy reaction to the modern office where so much of your behaviour is monitored?

Inflexible Behavior in Personality Disorders

People who rigidly engage in the same behavior over and over again despite the consequences are often acting out a false self for the sake of their families.

Eggshell Relationships

By Joe Navarro M.A. on January 28, 2016 Spycatcher
How can you recognize an emotionally unstable personality before he or she harms you?

Behind the Mask - Inside a Psychopathic Romance

By Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on January 26, 2016 NeuroSagacity
Most with psychopathy are nothing like what we might imagine (i.e., the socially awkward loner, disengaged from society, plotting to do harm.) Actually, they often have attractive

Dreaming in Depression (And Other Mental Illness)

By Michelle Carr on January 25, 2016 Dream Factory
Depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorder have been associated with frequent and distressing nightmares, along with several other qualities of disturbed dreaming.

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know about Narcissism

Where do we draw the line between a healthy amount of self-love and narcissism as a personality disorder? Is Donald Trump really a narcissist? Are there any upsides to narcissism?

Narcissism at Work: The Arrogant Executive

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on January 17, 2016 A Sideways View
We place emphasis on the benefits of high self-esteem. But when does high self-esteem turn into subclinical narcissism?

The Appeal of Borderline Personality

Borderline individuals can be appealing, interesting people. "Don't hate me because I'm borderline!"

7 Tips for Coping With A Paranoid Partner

Living with a paranoid person can take a toll. False accusations and delusional fears are not easy to manage, especially in a person who is otherwise functioning fairly well.

Cheating Queens and Faux Snakes

Is that a rattlesnake on the path up ahead, or just a stick? If you said snake, you may be suffering from the same cognitive disorder as Shakespeare’s troubled Hamlet.

Psychopaths at Work

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on January 01, 2016 A Sideways View
There is increasing interest in the "normal psychopath". How do your recognise them and how should you react to them in the work place?

So You're In a Relationship with a Narcissist, Now What?

Part 3 of a 3-part series on how to cope when you are in a relationship with a narcissist.

8 More Signs You're With a Narcissist

Eight more signs you may be in a relationship with a narcissist.

10 Signs You Are In a Relationship with a Narcissist

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Here are 10 telltale signs.

In 2016: "Habilitation," Not "Rehabilitation"

Let's not pour a delectable sauce over rancid meat and expect a great meal

The Destructive Power of Borderline Personality Disorder

The turbulence and trauma of borderline personality disorder make self-harm and suicide attempts frighteningly common. But recovery is common, too.

Parenting: Opposite Strategies, But the Same Results

Extremes of parenting (such as being overprotective vs not protecting at all) may often lead children to act out in very similar ways -no matter which extreme the parents are at.

How Do You Do What You Do?

By Blaise Aguirre M.D. on December 13, 2015 On the Borderline
Is there a solution to BPD? One fundamental practice can help the person with BPD and their care-giver.

The Seeds that Give Birth to Terrorism

By Kimberly Key on December 04, 2015 Counseling Keys
In a terrorist-filled society, here are some things to help in understanding its origins and what can possibly be done. Is the future worth it?

5 Things You Should Know About People With Schizophrenia

There are a few things you should know about schizophrenia before casting judgment.

Risky Behavior and Victimizers: Two Issues, Not One

A teen passes out drunk at a frat party and is raped. A woman whose husband beats her goes back to him repeatedly, despite having the ability to leave. Lately, anyone who even brings up the subject of risky behavior by people like this are accused of "excusing" the victimizer and "blaming" the victim. Nonsense. Though connected, these are two separate issues, not one.

Female Serial Killers Are No Myth

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 Wicked Deeds
The news and entertainment media focus on and sensationalize the acts of violence and torture perpetrated by male serial killers. Although the graphic images of male serial killers sell countless books and movie tickets, they also perpetuate the myth that all serial killers are demented men.

Therapists Confirm Trump's Narcissistic Personality Disorder

By Randi Kreger on November 13, 2015 Stop Walking on Eggshells
People with narcissistic personality disorder think that they are deeply important and special. They constantly need admiration and flattery to feel good about themselves. They sometimes also struggle to look at others as anything more than just extensions of themselves, which often times can lead to control issues and abuse. Do we want a president with this disorder?

How I Learned About the Family Dynamics I Write About

In the comments by readers responding to my blogposts about dysfunctional family dynamics, I am often accused of naively believing my patient's "distorted" descriptions of their interactions with their family-of-origin members. In fact, I have observed these processes directly in a variety of ways. I describe those ways herein.

Psychopath for President?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 04, 2015 Talking Apes
When psychopathy is combined with a high degree of intelligence and a strong ability to delay gratification, the result is a ruthless, Machiavellian type who often makes it to the highest echelons of business and government.

The Secret to Dealing With Difficult People

By Sherry Hamby Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 The Web of Violence
Distance, Delay and Deny, the three Ds that can help you manage challenging interpersonal relationships.

Does Donald Trump Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Now that the GOP debates have settled down, let's put Donald Trump on the couch. Is he just a narcissistic, or does he display full-blown narcissistic personality disorder? According to therapists who are speaking out in Vanity Fair, he most certainly does.

Red Flags for Emotional Caretakers, Part Two

Do you find it hard to notice when you are giving up your own needs and feelings and caretaking others? Here are some red flags to help you notice when you are doing too much caretaking of others.