From the moment you were born, your experiences, genetic, and environmental factors started to guide the development of your unique personality. If you’ve spent even a little bit of time with babies as young as one year old, you’ve probably noticed their personality starting to shine through. Shy, outgoing, generous, and adventurous – it can be amazing all the shapes and sizes personalities come in. Research is still ongoing to determine when our personalities stop evolving, and some studies point out that they may be more fluid than we once thought, continuously changing throughout adulthood.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, personality is defined as “the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people.” It’s this abstract thing that attracts or repels us from another person. Some have a personality disorder, meaning that their way of thinking, feeling, and behaving is unhealthy in a significant way. This may prevent them from maintaining functional relationships with others and themselves.
Types of Personality Disorders
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that almost 10% of the adult population in the United States have some sort of personality disorder. Some variations include:
- Paranoid Personality Disorder (characterized by extreme paranoia and the belief that others want to demean, harm, or threaten them)
- Schizoid Personality Disorder (avoidance of social activities and interaction, expresses a limited range of emotions)
- Antisocial Personality Disorder (persistent disregard for morals, manipulates others)
- Borderline Personality Disorder (intense fear of abandonment, tumultuous relationships)
- Histrionic Personality Disorder (narcissism, constantly seeking attention, acting dramatically)
The American Psychological Association explains that the causes of such disorders are not certain, however, there are some associated risk factors. Family history and dysfunctional genes linked to traits like aggression, anxiety, and fear play a major role in some of these conditions. Childhood sexual trauma and verbal abuse have also been found to increase the chances of developing Borderline, Histrionic, or Paranoid personality disorders in adulthood.
Reflecting on Your Emotions
Among many personality disorders is the central issue of abnormal emotional expression and/or instability. The inability to manage and convey your emotions appropriately can make your relationship with yourself and others feel like a rollercoaster. There are basic ways, though, that you can start getting a handle on your emotions today.
Ensuring your daily, basic needs are being met is an essential first step. For example, consider developing a practical routine that you can commit to; it can help ground and focus your emotional and physical energy. Integrating fun exercises, well-balanced meals, consistent sleep patterns, and uplifting hobbies in your schedule can set the foundation for your physical and mental well-being.
Due to the nature of personality disorders, you might find it especially important to carve out time to sit down quietly and reflect on your emotions, reactions, and thought patterns. Introspection can help you identify things that bother you or that you’d like to change. Write these thoughts down and ask yourself why they came up. Don’t be afraid to embrace yourself, even if you don’t like what you find during this exploration. All humans have flaws.
You don’t need to wait until you are alone to do some soul-searching. In fact, a lightbulb moment may come to you during heated moments of conflict. The next time you’re in a sticky situation, ask yourself: what are the impacts of my emotions? Perhaps emotional outbursts are causing constant disruptions at work and school, and strife with family and friends. These troubles may lead you to start drinking or using drugs. It is in these moments that you have the power to pause and identify these behaviors for what they are.
Living With Your Disorder is Possible
Through introspection, you might realize that you need some extra help getting through this difficult time. That’s perfectly okay! Depending on your personality disorder, there are various treatments available to help you manage and overcome it. Psychotherapy is one option that involves discussing your emotions, thoughts, mood, and behaviors with a clinician. There are a few different kinds:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Family-focused Therapy
Here, you have the opportunity to develop social skills and coping mechanisms that put you in control of your disorder, not the other way around. Your therapist can help you replace unhealthy thoughts and perceptions with positive ones, examine your childhood to identify the root cause of the disorder and manage interactions with family and friends. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications are additional options to treat some of the symptoms of these disorders. A residential treatment program may be the best option for some.
Personality is the abstract stuff that makes each individual unique and special. It is the embodiment of the way we think, feel, and behave. Impacted by everyday experiences, environmental factors, and genetics, our personalities evolve. Some have a personality disorder, meaning that their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are disruptive and potentially harmful to themselves and others. Some aren’t aware of the disorder, while others simply try to get by. Don’t be ashamed if you are experiencing the challenges of a personality disorder. There are programs with understanding and experienced therapists that can help you figure out how to manage your condition. Located in San Diego, California, Achieve Concierge has just that. We understand how hard it is to struggle daily with a disorder that affects almost every interaction. We also know that some days you may urgently need to see a therapist while in the grips of an episode. We can help you today: (619) 393-5871.