Personality is the make-up of an individual in totality. What we are, how we think, behave, walk, talk, act, react to situations; everything is specific to our own constitution. That is why every individual is different from the other, yet most people usually manage to adjust to and accept the personality traits of most others. However some behavior characteristics are difficult to adjust with and seem outside of the normal acceptable range. Although all ‘abnormal’ traits do seem to be exaggeration of the mannerisms we see in normal people; they evidently stand out of the range of regularity. These deviations constitute personality disorders.
Personality traits can include ambitiousness, assertiveness, conventionality, dutifulness, hostility, moodiness, orderliness, sincerity, sociability, excitement, shyness, aggression etc. These are characteristics that differentiate people from one another. People think, feel, behave according to the way they have witnessed events in childhood (observational learning) the incidents they have been through (experiential learning) or simply the way they were trained to (conditioned learning). Everyone copes with stress using individual defenses. That is what makes one’s personality different from that of the other. Understanding personalities is a step towards accepting people for who they are.
Sometimes the way people deal with situations is not conventional. It seems to deviate out of the normal curve. Everyone can get anxious once in a while, however persistent preoccupation and restlessness leading to evasion of responsibility points to an anxious personality disorder. Or responding with self-preservation and forever belittlement of the world is indicative of narcissistic personality disorder. Some of the well-understood personality disorders include anxious, avoidant, dependent, antisocial, histrionic, schizoid, passive aggressive, narcissistic, and obsessive-compulsive types. They are classified into clusters depending upon the characteristic patterns. Cluster A personalities are ‘odd and eccentric’, cluster B are ‘attention seeking’ and cluster C are depicted as ‘anxious and avoidant’ types. People with these disorders have dysfunctional ways of viewing the world and dealing with it.
Impact of personality disorders
Personality disorders are deeply engrained, inflexible, appear in all situations, and are enduring. People are not as troubled by their own problem as much they trouble others around them. A person with obsessive-compulsive personality traits is preoccupied with detail and gets everyone stressed with excessive planning and detailing; but the final event turns out haphazard, as proper execution just never occurred. Likewise, passive aggressive personalities keep complaining about personal misfortunes and the good providence of others around them, but will never accept a helping hand owing to extreme passivity. Friends and relatives of such people are worst impacted.
Origin of problems
Personality disorders have their roots in childhood and are very smooth and gradual in their progression. They can be attributed to certain neurotransmitter alterations in the brain, coupled with environmental factors that contribute. Sometimes brain infections, head injury, or stroke may lead to change in the brain chemicals and may cause personality change too.
Solving the problem
Personality change requires great effort from the client, family members and the therapist. MINDFRAMES offers therapy protocols; along with medication in select cases to overcome dysfunctional personality traits and enhance the quality of life. Building relationships and enhancing one’s emotional quotient is the stepping-stone for self-betterment and growth.