The Personality Disorders, Part 2

There are many kinds of personalities, a concept that is closely studied in the field of psychology.

One particular subject is very well-known, even among non-psychologists, namely, the personality disorders. Personality disorders are mental problems that cause the afflicted to act in ways that go beyond the societal norm. There are ten agreed-upon personality disorders, split into three clusters based on the similarities of the disorders within each cluster. This segment will deal with the anxious type of personality disorders: avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Photo Credit: Porsche Brosseau

Avoidant personality disorder is basically anxiety dialed up very much.

It can be defined simply as a series of isolative interpersonal behaviors combined with a desire to be close to others that is otherwise hindered by being fearful of rejection. Anyone can recognize people with this disorder if they come across as incredibly anxious and quick to avoid being with people, unless they think that other people will like them. In fact, although they greatly fear what other people think of them and tend to avoid most social situations as a result, one notable aspect of avoidant disorder is that people afflicted with it want social approval, which can get them to interact with others.

Avoidant people will come across as shy and prone to overanalyzing how they are with others, worsening their ability to interact with people.

They will likely be found in the corner of a room or being tense when surrounded by others. It helps to remember to be friendly with people of avoidant disorder and to remember that they are desperately looking for approval through every single one of their interactions. Do not be restrained from pointing out flaws in their behavior preventing them from socializing, but do not get angry easily with them but learn to be patient instead.

People with dependent personality disorder tend to be submissive and needy people.

This disorder involves a long-standing need for the afflicted to be taken care of by others as well as the fear of being separated by that person in any way. People that have dependent disorder are prone to having others make the decisions for them, like when they want others to constantly choose what they eat or how they dress, even how to live. A person might label dependent people as “clingy” because of how they act, especially in their inability to act on their own and tendency to submit to others in every or almost every aspect. Likewise, they have little self-confidence and are pessimistic about their life, which drives their need to find someone to depend on.

Anyone wondering about recognizing people with dependent personality disorder should expect the afflicted to be adults.

It is uncommon for them to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, because younger people are constantly changing and maturing. While it may not be impossible for children or teenagers to have dependent disorder, the reason why this disorder stands out for adults is because they display almost childlike behavior. Their dependency on other people to the point of submissiveness resembles the need for children to depend on parents to guide them. While dependent personality disorder can be treated by professionals, people encountering the afflicted should be careful to guide them while building up their confidence. Let them know that they can make their own choices and encourage them to recognize when their choices work or give them advice and understanding when their choices don’t go as planned. Dependent personality disorder can be tough to deal with, but not impossible.

The last of the anxiety cluster disorders is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD).

To summarize, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by excessive perfectionism, orderliness, and control. People with OCPD think their way is right and reject any other ideas. Their methods revolve around details, organization, and being able to complete their work, to the point of obsession. One thing to remember is that OCPD is different from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), because OCD involves people having recurring, invasive thoughts that cause distress, which are alleviated by compulsive behaviors. OCPD-afflicted people genuinely believe their overly organized behavior is very rational, while OCD-afflicted people tend to act against their wishes.

Some examples of OCPD behavior include a fixation with lists, rules, and minor details, rigid following of ethical codes, not willing to assign tasks to others who don’t follow their methods, lack of generosity and a tendency to hoard.

While people don’t necessarily have all of these symptoms, showing more than one suggests that the disorder is present. It can be difficult to deal with people with OCPD, because they tend to be controlling and stubborn. Because of the potential for conflict, besides professional therapy, it can help to recommend to the person to learn relaxation techniques. Perhaps it could even be suggested in a way that fits their schedule, so they can achieve maximum efficiency. It is better to appeal to their sense of organization and detail if anyone wants to get along with or even influence people with OCPD. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is possible to deal with, even if it may be the most irritating for other people.

The personality disorders discussed are only three out of many that are present.

They belong to the anxiety cluster because of the symptoms that have a lot in common with showing anxiety. Like every other personality disorder, they can be managed and dealt with, so people should not shy away from interacting with those afflicted with these disorders.

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