“We do not have to be mental health professionals to identify the traits of the possible sociopaths among us.” – P.A. Speers, Type 1 Sociopath – When Difficult People Are More Than Just Difficult People
A Personality Disorder is a Mental Health condition that affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and relates to other people. There are various personality disorders and to assist with diagnosis, doctors organize these disorders into different groups called ‘clusters.’ Doctors use a diagnostic manual called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or (DSM-5), to help diagnose mental health conditions. Cluster B personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that affect a person’s emotions and interpersonal relationships.
There are four types of cluster B Personality Disorders:
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Antisocial Personality Disorder
People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) can act without regard to right or wrong or without thinking about through the consequences of their actions on others.
This can result in:
- novelty-seeking behaviour
- violent behaviour
- a risk of criminal activity
- irresponsible and delinquent behaviour
Borderline Personality Disorder
A person with borderline personality disorder will have trouble controlling their emotions.
They can experience:
- impulsive behaviour
- periods of intense anxiety, anger, and depression or boredom
- mood swings
- changes in behaviour and self-image
These intense feeling can last for a few hours or for several days which can lead to relationship difficulties and other challenges in life generally.
“The toxic behaviors were there before you decided to enter into relationships with them. The signs were there. You may have chosen to look the other way, but the signs were there.—Psychotherapist from Type 1 Sociopath” – P.A. Speers, Type 1 Sociopath – When Difficult People Are More Than Just Difficult People
This can result in:
- rapid changes in how the person relates to others, for example, changing suddenly from closeness to anger
- risky behaviours, such as dangerous driving, and spending sprees
- self-harming behaviour
- poor anger management
- a sense of emptiness
- difficulty trusting others
- recurrent suicidal behaviours, gestures, threats, or self-mutilation, such as cutting
- feelings of detachment, or dissociation
Histrionic Personality Disorder
A person with histrionic personality disorder feels a need for others to notice them and reassure them that they are significant. This can affect the way the person thinks and acts.
It can result in behaviour that appears to be:
- excessively emotional or dramatic
- emotionally shallow
- insincere, as likes and dislikes shift to suit those around the person
- risky, as the person constantly seeks novelty and excitement
- provocative and flirtatious
The person may function well in social and other environments, but they may also experience high levels of stress. This can lead to depression and anxiety. Histrionic Personality Disorder behaviours can similar to those of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
“Narcissism: It’s Primal. No Productive Control of Energy: Seeks constant fresh sources of stimulation and is highly energized running from human-object to human-object, activity to activity, but does not accomplish anything and never evolves or learns from activities and the many people recycled through.” – Lynna Kivela , My Sociopath: From Sociopath Parents to Loving Sociopaths to Waking Up
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
This disorder features a sense of self-importance and power, but it can also involve feelings of low self-esteem and weakness.
A person with this condition may show the following personality traits:
- experience hurt and rejection easily
- expect others to go along with all their plans and ideas
- experience jealousy
- believe they should have special treatment
- believe they should only spend time with other people who are as special as them
- appear arrogant or pretentious
- be prone to impulsive behaviour
- have an inflated sense of their own importance, attractiveness, success, and power
- crave admiration and attention
- lack regard for others’ feelings
- overstate their talents or achievements
- expect to have the best of everything
They may also have a higher risk of:
- mood, substance, and anxiety disorders
- low self-esteem and fear of not being good enough
- feelings of shame, helplessness, anger at themselves
- impulsive behaviour
These features often make it difficult for these personality types to maintain healthy relationships. Look out for the Red Flags and keep yourself safe.