Personality Disorder – Meaning and types

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Before we understand what is Personality disorder, I Just want you to know a little about personality. There is no specific definition and honestly, it is very difficult to pin down exactly what we mean by the word personality.

A personality is the collection of traits that we have developed as we have grown up as an individual. The way we think, feel or behave is our personality.


It seems difficult to sum up the personality into these three characteristics as we think, feel or behave differently in different situations. Yes, it changes in different situations, you may know someone who is very shy in public, but he/she is exactly opposite in private life.


Now, since I have shared with you my views on personality. Lets further understand what is a personality disorder.


What is a Personality Disorder?


Personality disorder is a disorder in which the sufferer finds it difficult to deal with the society. They tend to be inflexible and rigid. For whatever reason, part of our personality behaves in such a manner making other people and yourself difficult to live. Although the person feels he/she is normal, but they are certainly not. You also feel that these traits can’t be changed.


For example, you may find it difficult to change your pattern of thinking, feeling and behavior. You may have a limited range of emotions, when you are not able to keep close relationship, get on with people or work or family or friends, listen to other people etc. If you have any such problem and if this makes you unhappy or often harm or hurt people, then probably you are facing personality disorder.


Mostly personality disorders become noticeable in adolescence or early adulthood, rarely in childhood. Also, they may find other people scary and find themselves alone all the time.


However, with the right help it is possible to deal with this disorder and cope up better with social situations and  relationship with other people.




 Personality disorders are many and  each with their own set of behaviors. Mostly they fall under the below three different categories or clusters, check if you fall into any:


    • Cluster A: Odd or eccentric behavior


    • Cluster B: Emotional, Dramatic or erratic behavior


    • Cluster C: Anxious fearful behavior


I am explaining you the description of each type which will help you to understand if you have a personality disorder which spoils your life and often of others too.


Now, let us understand them one by one.


Cluster A: odd and eccentric


Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder


As understood by the name itself. The Patient  will always be in fear. They will think that people are unfaithful, not loyal, deceitful. In addition, People facing paranoid personality disorder are mostly jealous, aggressive, untrusting, unforgiving, guarded, secretive, and scheming, and may appear to be emotionally “cold” or excessively serious.


Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder

These people are fearful of getting attached, closeness and intimacy with others, they are absorbed with their own thoughts and feelings. They are introvert. If you are suffering from this disorder, then you are emotionally cold and keeps one hand distance from people. They prefer their own company. And, are day dreamers and live in a fantasy world.


Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

People may dress or speak in an odd manner. Strange, outlandish or paranoid beliefs and thoughts are common. They experience extreme anxiety in social relations.


These people either react too much or do not react at all. They talk to themselves. Mostly people see or hear strange things. Sometimes related to schizophrenia, the mental illness.


CLUSTER B: Emotional, Dramatic or erratic behavior


Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder

As the name says they disobey the rules of social behavior.They are highly conflicting in nature, impulsive, irresponsible and callous. Since they do not follow norms they may face legal issues and commit crimes. They are aggressive and even violent in a relationship. Usually, alcoholic as they feel that it is relieving and reduces their boredom. They never feel guilty.


Borderline Personality Disorder

 Borderline Personality Disorder

These people are mostly impulsive and do things on the spur of the moment. They are very emotional and find it difficult to control it. Such people feel bad about them and often harm themselves, Eg: cutting nerves and suicide attempts. They make and break relationships easily. Mostly, feel depressed and may hear different voices when stressed. Extreme mood swings, stormy interpersonal relationships are common in them. An unstable and fluctuating self-image, unpredictable and self-destructive actions are their characteristics.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

They have an exaggerated sense of self importance. Always in the fantasies of unlimited success, power and intelligence. They seek attention from other people, but show few warm in return.
Extreme mood changes between self-admiration and insecurity. They tend to exploit interpersonal relationships.


Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder

They are self centered and over dramatize events. Their mood changes instantly for Eg: strong emotions or nothing at all. They are concerned about how they look, seductive at times. These people like trying new things which excite them.


CLUSTER C: Anxious fearful behavior


Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder

These people are often hypersensitive to rejection and they will involve with anyone or group until they are sure that they will be liked. Sufferers do not fear to say any others something which could be foolish, they will blush or cry in front of others. Here, they like to keep relationship outside their family, but may have no close relationship with other than family and are worried that they do not relate well to others. They are extremely sensitive to criticism


Obsessive-Compulsive (aka Anankastic)


Few characteristics are that they worry  a lot, perfectionist, rigidity, cautious, worry about doing the wrong thing, often have high morals, judgmental etc.


Such people are never satisfied with their achievement and want to have responsibilities. They are reliable, dependable, orderly, methodical. These individuals are inflexible and therefore, cannot adapt to changes in circumstances.


Events are unpredictable, when their feelings are not under strict control. Compulsive personalities lead to a sense of isolation and helplessness.


Read more about OCD here: Obsessive compulsive disorder


Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder

They  exhibit a pattern of dependent and submissive behavior, depending on others for decisions. Furthermore, They cannot stand alone and are shattered when a very close relationship ends. Unfortunately, they easily get hurt by rejection, criticism or disapproval. Since they do not make their own decisions they usually do what other people make them do and so are abandoned by others.


You don’t fit in any of these???

It is difficult to find yourself in one category. You will probably find symptoms in one or more category. Also, professionals may find it hard to give you one diagnosis, this is not unusual.
Do not see these as clear categories, but  exaggerations of normal, overlapping personality types.




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