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Everyone has a unique set of personal characteristics that have a profound impact on how they do, think and feel. A personality disorder is a general term for a rigid pattern of personality traits that makes you insufficiently able to adapt behavior to changing circumstances.
Your way of thinking and perceiving are often strongly colored and so you may look at yourself and the environment in a distorted way.
The perception and expression of feelings is often disturbed, such as highly fluctuating or overly intense emotions.

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Cluster A (odd or eccentric behavior)

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

Cluster B (theatrical, emotional or erratic behavior)

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Theatrical personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster C (tense or anxious behavior)

  • Evasive personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (not to be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Personality disorder not otherwise specified. This diagnosis is given to those who do not fall within the criteria of a particular personality disorder, but have traits of two or more personality disorders, that is, just barely meet the criteria It is very difficult for someone with paranoid personality disorder to relax and be open in contact with others. In fact, people with this disorder are always anxious and wary, even if they have known someone longer. They are constantly assessing the situation and constantly “watching the cat out of the tree.

You have developed an inner belief that says other people cannot be trusted. You are weighed down by the thought that anything you reveal about yourself will be used against you. You often think you discover the hidden threats or insults in what other people say or do.

People with paranoid personalities also tend to be very critical and take a long time to forgive people who have, in their eyes, offended or belittled them. They can also suddenly slip up at times like this. All this takes a lot of energy, so people with paranoid personality disorder will feel most at ease when no one is around. People suffering from this disorder often have a small circle of friends and remain without a partner more often than others. A relationship with someone with paranoid personality disorder is also usually very tough because the partner is often suspected of being unfaithful.

For example, a person with a paranoid personality may neglect his or her responsibilities (such as work) to monitor the partner’s activities. Their critical and suspicious attitude also makes it difficult for people with paranoid personality disorder to work together. They are therefore more likely than average to experience difficulties in functioning at work.

While you may have a strong desire to be with your partner, family, relatives or friends, this is not the case for you with schizoid personality disorder. You do not value close relationships with others and have little need for contact.

Consequently, you prefer to spend your time alone. You choose individual hobbies, such as photography, reading or watching TV. The same goes for your work environment, such as a job in IT, for example, which involves as few other people as possible. There are few things that someone you with schizoid personality disorder enjoys, although some of you may enjoy intellectual things they do alone, such as collecting stamps or doing math tests, for example.

There is actually nothing that really makes them happy (or sad). This behavior may be better understood when we realize that a person with this disorder simply does not have (learned) the ability to have fun during social and physical contact, such as eating or sex. Consequently, they usually do not have a partner, and people with schizoid personality disorder usually have no desire for sexual contact or a regular hug from a parent or friend since adolescence.

To those around them, someone with this disorder will often appear somewhat cold and distant. But that doesn’t matter to someone with a schizoid personality. They usually have so little interest in relationships with other people that they therefore do not care what people think of them.

Looking at causes in the life events of people with schizoid personality disorder, a few can be tentatively mentioned. For example, there is some evidence that adults with this disorder were more often neglected by their parents in childhood than adults without this disorder. So one could tentatively say that a number of people with schizoid personalities may have lacked the essential life needs of love, contact with others and attention in childhood.

Furthermore, there is tentative evidence that emotional and physical abuse as well as sexual abuse influence the development of schizoid personality disorder. As a result, another necessity of life, the need for safety, protection and livelihood, comes into play. It could be that people with a schizoid personality have begun to shut themselves off from the intense feelings that these traumatic experiences must have entailed in order to avoid feeling the pain it entailed. Because of a deficiency/injury in these two important life needs, they eventually seem to be completely flattened emotionally and must go through life without a need for contact and pleasure.

With schizotypal personality disorder, you are always very anxious. You are persistently suspicious and, partly because of this, almost always feel uncomfortable in company. Therefore, it is very difficult for you with this disorder to hold yourself up with others around.

To those around you, people like you often seem to behave differently. Therefore, you are sometimes perceived by others as peculiar or even strange. For example, others usually think that you with this disorder have strange ideas or beliefs or that you dress differently (more eccentric) than others.

We know from research that people with a schizotypal personality cannot properly match their emotional response to the situation they are in. Consequently, the behavior of someone with this disorder may be perceived as cold, heartless, disinterested or distant. For example, when he or she keeps smiling constantly when he or she tells you something very unpleasant.

People with schizotypal personality experience contacts with others somewhat differently than usual. They are very suspicious and often feel that others are talking about them or watching them, when this is not the case at all. Also, people with schizotypal personality disorder believe more often than average in things that seem a bit separate to others. Like magical thinking, for example, where they have the idea that things can be influenced with their thoughts.

Most people with schizotypal personality disorder not only think differently, but they actually feel and experience things differently. And communication with others also tends to be difficult for people with schizotypal personality disorder. People with this disorder can sometimes go into great detail about something, causing the other person to quickly lose interest. It is sometimes difficult for other people to properly understand someone with schizotypal personality disorder, both because of the sometimes distinct content of his or her stories and because of the way they talk. Consequently, people with schizotypal personality disorder generally feel poorly understood by others and often have few friends. In our treatment, of course, this is addressed.

Because forming relationships is so difficult for them, more than half the people with schizotypal personality disorder never marry. Many people with this disorder are also unable to work. They often feel very gloomy, and alcohol and drug abuse are also relatively common.

While most people generally follow societal rules, norms and law, this is usually not the case with people with antisocial personality disorder. They are often irritable, impulsive or aggressive and have a limited developed conscience.

People with antisocial personality disorder have great difficulty with stability in their thinking, feeling and behavior. As a result, they are often very impulsive, irritable or aggressive and looking for quick need satisfaction. They also have a limited developed conscience.

Not surprisingly, people with this disorder are more likely than average to be addicted to alcohol or drugs and more likely to have physical ailments due to their lifestyle. Consider physical injuries from violent behavior, for example, or sexually transmitted diseases. In early adulthood, there is even a greater risk of death. Research shows that this is mainly associated with substance abuse, a relatively high rate of suicides and greater involvement in crimes with a fatal outcome.

The constant irresponsibility, reckless behavior and often lack of remorse also brings many problems to their environment and society. People with antisocial personality disorder are more likely than average to use violence against people close to them, such as their partners or children. But violence can also be directed against strangers. Establishing an equal relationship with others fails. Others are more likely to be seen as something that can be used or exploited for their own gain.

People with antisocial personality disorder are known to drop out of school or stop working relatively often. For society, this means more unemployment and illegal income.

A person with borderline personality disorder (BPS) displays a wide variety of symptoms and behaviors consistent with this syndrome. It sometimes seems as if a person with this personality disorder has two personalities.

When you have borderline personality disorder, you often feel unbalanced, but very unstable and can react (even to yourself) unpredictably at times. You often feel easily rejected and are afraid of being let down by people who are important to you. You can react strongly emotionally if that threatens to happen.

Borderline personality disorder is often caused by a combination of biological, psychological and social factors.
You are more likely to be borderline when:

  • Borderline runs in your family.
  • You are predisposed to it. It may be that your brain processes stimuli differently. As a result, you may think, feel and react differently than other people.
  • You went through a drastic experience in your childhood and/or felt unsafe. For example, due to mistreatment, sexual abuse or divorce from your parents.

Recognizing Borderline is not easy. It sometimes seems like you have two personalities. The characteristics of borderline that are common include:

  • You keep people at bay
  • You behave distrustfully toward other people
  • You don’t let anyone really know you
  • Having little control over your emotions
  • Not quite knowing who you are or what you feel
  • Being untouched or feeling flat by events that would usually make people very upset
  • Self-harm
  • Friendships and relationships

Therefore, it is not easy for someone with borderline personality disorder to maintain friendships and relationships. Actually, this was true when you were young. You have learned to deal with borderline over the years.

With borderline personality disorder, you usually have little control over your emotions: the smallest trigger can affect you greatly and make you unreasonably angry, for example; so angry that you feel like throwing things. Others then sometimes think you are overreacting or reacting too sensitively, and you yourself often don’t quite understand why you are reacting emotionally.

Your sensitivity also makes you sometimes react impulsively and, for example, do things that are harmful to yourself or others. Such as reckless driving or substance abuse. You may also cut yourself or otherwise damage yourself. Rather that physical pain than feel that emptiness and pain inside.

These borderline characteristics apply to both women and men.

When your feelings and the idea of who you are keep going in all directions, it takes a lot of energy and stress. Consequently, people with borderline personality disorder often have stress-related physical symptoms and anxiety disorders.

People with theatrical personality disorder, or attention disorder, like a lot of attention. They tend to thicken their feelings considerably and bring them in a dramatic way. If they are not the center of attention, the disappointment is great.

To those around them, a person with theatrical personality disorder or attention deficit disorder often initially comes across as a spontaneous, sociable, charming and present person. Sometimes, however, after a while people get the feeling that the person with the theatrical personality disorder is playing a role and never shows his true nature. People with theatrical personality disorder tend to thicken their feelings considerably and bring them in a dramatic way, while on the other hand remaining somewhat superficial. For example, a person with attention deficit disorder will easily hug someone even though he or she barely knows them.

As emphatic as the joy can be, the gloom or disappointment can be heavy and compelling. This often happens when the person is not the center of attention and thus does not get the affirmation he or she needs. People with theatrical personalities will also flirt or display sexual behavior more than others. This can happen anywhere, flirting with the baker, with the waiter, with the greengrocer, but also with people on the street or with colleagues. So sometimes it can also be inappropriate.

It takes a lot of energy to constantly make sure you are the center of attention. This leaves little energy to dwell on what you yourself are really feeling or to put yourself in the shoes of others. This makes having a truly intimate relationship extra difficult. When a person with theatrical personality disorder does not get the attention he or she needs, it creates a lot of stress. Consequently, people with theatrical personality disorder often have stress-related physical complaints or anxiety disorders. People with this disorder are also more likely than others to have somatization disorder (hypochondria), where they have a long history of illness with many symptoms that cannot be fully explained medically. Furthermore, they may suffer from somberness symptoms.

Narcissistic personality disorder is two-sided. On the one hand, an inflated sense of self-importance and thirst for admiration is central, and on the other, there is an extreme sense of inferiority and insecurity.

Narcissism is not easy to recognize. Those around someone with this disorder usually have to deal with the “great” side of the coin, yet this is not true for all people with narcissism. People with narcissistic personality disorder generally like to talk about their problem-free lives, grand future plans and extraordinary achievements and abilities. And then, when you know such a person superficially, you can become very impressed with such a talented personality.

People with narcissistic personality disorder also often need this admiration and attention to consider themselves worthwhile. Moreover, many people with narcissism feel they are entitled to it. A factor in this is that they feel that because of their exceptionality they deserve certain privileges that others do not have. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder usually feels elevated above others, and some of them will effortlessly “use” another person when they can benefit themselves. Again: recognizing a narcissist is not easy.

People with narcissism are convinced that they are more “special” than other people. They also like to show this to others.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder wants to be constantly admired. He or she enjoys that immensely.

  • A lack of empathy
  • Played being charming
  • Addicted to getting attention
  • Exhibiting aggressive behavior
  • Lack of emotions
  • A big ego
  • Wanting power
  • Lack of repentance or guilt
  • Being extremely jealous

But there are other narcissism symptoms, because deep down, people with narcissism are often lonely, vulnerable and have a great sense of inferiority. Consequently, people with narcissism traits are very sensitive to hurt and rejection. In their minds, criticism of their behavior often leads directly to the undermining of them as a person. They often react with anger in such cases, but in doing so they hide the powerlessness, insecurity and shame they feel deep inside. Added to this, they have great difficulty in tolerating real intimacy, because this also demands that you can show your vulnerability and be allowed to be small.

Incidentally, the sides of the coin just described do not apply to all people with narcissistic personality disorder. In some of them, the “great” side remains more in the background and, instead, we see more of the inferior side on the surface, where they are still very self-centered. People with narcissism often expend a lot of energy on their feelings of inferiority and have little regard for others and their own feelings. Yet they also feel special and unique, where from their inferiority they may think they don’t have to do certain things simply because they are entitled to them.

People with avoidant personality disorder need contact but fear rejection and, in their eyes, humiliation. Often, people with avoidant personality disorder have shyness and strong inhibitions. Their symptoms resemble those of social phobia.

People with avoidant personality disorder, also called avoidant personality disorder, find it difficult to show others who they are, and what they think about something. They are afraid, very reserved, because they feel they are doing or going to say something wrong. They are also often hypersensitive to critical comment about themselves.

In addition, people with this problem also often think that they themselves are not interesting to another person, that they are boring. As a result, they often watch the cat out of the tree. They do not participate in conversations, do not take action until they are sure they are accepted.

People with this avoidant personality disorder may be constantly concerned with what others will think of him or her. And those thoughts are often negative.

Everyone has their own personality. Some are more present than others, or step on someone more easily, or are more likely to give an opinion. That’s normal. It becomes a problem when a person feels impeded and limited in his/her daily functioning.

Evasive personality disorder symptoms are:

  • Hypersensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • Social isolation
  • Extremely low self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Extreme shyness or fear of social situations
  • Self-hatred
  • Distrust of other people
  • Avoiding physical contact
  • Shy
  • Problems at work or school
  • Feelings of inferiority
  • Frequent use of fantasy to escape reality
  • Agoraphobia (only in extreme cases)
  • Not engaging in activities because you are afraid of being embarrassed

The condition often begins during young adulthood.

Are you in a relationship with someone with an avoidant personality disorder? That can create tension in your relationship. The other does not want to go to parties or feels dead wrong there. You want to do and experience things together, but you don’t always succeed. For you, too, consider your own feelings and needs. It is important to convince your loved one to seek help, and to indicate that you are there for the other person, otherwise there is a chance that the relationship will not last.

A person with dependent personality disorder feels that he or she cannot handle life alone. There is too little confidence in one’s own ability to start something or go anywhere alone. Not to mention making decisions.

Therefore, a person with a dependent personality needs a lot of advice and reassurance from others. He or she will soon ask another for help. Dependent people feel very uncomfortable when they are alone; you never know what might happen. They will make sure that there is always someone else around who they can lean on. In relationships, therefore, they fear being abandoned by the other person. Because then what?

People with dependent personality disorder are often seen as very kind, loving and helpful. Differences of opinion they prefer to avoid, because expressing one’s own opinion can lead to arguing, or worse, the other person leaving you.

A person with a dependent personality will also easily remove himself or herself and will go to great lengths to gain the support and commitment of others. Sometimes people with dependent personality disorder go so far in their desire for a source of support that they enter into a relationship with an unkind person or even a person with wrong intentions (to others). In relationships, this emotional dependence can lead to exploitation, violence and sometimes even abuse. Characteristically, it takes a lot of energy to constantly have to be nice and hide your irritations. This creates a lot of stress.

People with dependent personality disorder also often have stress-related physical symptoms or anxiety disorders. They may also suffer from somberness symptoms. People with dependent personality disorder often also have features of other personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPS) are frugal with money, keep their house perfectly in order and do not want to delegate tasks because they fear they will not be done correctly. Morally or ethically, there are few or no gray areas: actions and attitudes are completely right or completely wrong. Their personal relationships are difficult because they make excessive demands on friends, partners and children.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is also described as compulsive personality disorder. The name is often confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCS) or compulsive disorder (the difference in name is “personality”). OCS is one of the anxiety disorders. Although the names are similar, they are 2 very different conditions. People with OCPS generally do not tend to perform ritualistic acts (for example, washing hands very often), even though this is a specific characteristic of OCS. Above all, people with OCPS strive for perfectionism and feel tense when things are not “right” or “orderly.

Possible psychological causes include a cold, critical or strict attitude on the part of educators and an environment that emphasizes responsibility or blame and allows little room for play and feeling. Psychosocially, the cause can also be sought in an environment overly striving for achievement.