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Say Goodbye to Your PDI

Dr. Stan Kapuchinski

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What You Should Know About Personality Disorders And How They Cause Misery

What Is A Personality Disorder?

As in all of medicine, psychiatry has its groups of diagnoses which define certain emotional problems that people experience. Among these diagnoses are problems called Personality Disorders.

The diagnosis of a personality disorder (PD) describes an individual who has a deeply engrained maladaptive and inflexible behavioral style which firms up around late adolescence and continues throughout adulthood. This behavior is termed a 'disorder' because it deviates from what we, as a society, take for 'normal.'

'Normal' can have many definitions. We all have our own particular and unique personality traits that make us different from someone else. For the most part, we all try to cooperate with each other, bend a little when it is required and adapt in society. Personality Disordered Individuals (PDI's) do not. What distinguishes them from 'normal' people is their unwavering devotion to themselves...at our expense. PDI's are selfish users who do not change no matter who the person or what the situation is.

Personality problems appear to arise from times that go awry in our mental development. For example, the 'terrible two's' is a normal time in which a child learns how to be assertive ("It's MINE") and then should, as a three-year-old, learn to become more sociable and share. With personality disorders, the theory is that some people, for one reason or another, get 'stuck' in a behavior stage with this stage carrying over into adult life. Essentially, personality disorder individuals (PDI's) get stuck in a childhood state of mental development and never grow out of it.

They keep behaving, over and over again, in that time warp always trying to get those around to respond like people did when they were at that childhood age. Their behavior can be curious to us for a time, but generally any adult relationship is impossible. Know anyone whose behavior reminds you of a two-year-old? They are stubborn and dig in their heels. They are sullen, brood, pout and are contrary. And it is not much fun dealing with a two-year-old in a grown-up's body.

The PDI has a behavioral disorder because he or she does not adapt, is not flexible, and behaves in a way that says, "It's all about me." PDI's, although some might at first not seem so, are self-centered and very manipulative. PDI's use others for their own ends and rarely have empathy or concern for the other person. Relationships with them (whether in a professional, business or personal area, whether short or long-term) are always difficult. It is these individuals who cause problems and misery wherever they go- something is wrong with them since most people want to avoid causing problems.

Numerous factors shape our personalities as we develop. First, there is the hereditary factor, the nervous system with which we are born. Our nervous system determines how we 'sense' our world. It can allow us to filter out things or become over-stimulated by them. Next comes how much the world in which we live affects us. Is it kind, gentle and giving or rough, demanding and cruel?

As we grow both mentally and physically, we pass through stages in which we are supposed to learn new ways of adapting to life so that when we reach adulthood we are prepared to function in a mature way (mature meaning our having the ability to cope with life with minimal stress and be happy).

Our personality defines who we are. It is our temperament, our style, our beliefs, our morals, and our philosophy of life. Our personality tells what we believe about life and its people- all wrapped up in the daily way we behave towards others and ourselves.

How you behave defines who you are. And how you behave comes from what you believe inside.

Since PDI's are basically still children in their mental development, they are afraid of a 'normal' adult relationship with its ups and downs, the possibility of being hurt, being asked to give, compromise or share. They just do not have the mental equipment to do it. Rather than participate in that experience, PDI's need to keep you under their control and in a relationship that is solely on their terms. They see people in a certain light that is never good. PDI's treat you badly and when you express some dissatisfaction they see it as criticism and your being hurtful not constructive. Since people hurt (and cannot be trusted), PDI's then justify their continued aberrant behavior.

PDI's behaviors are totally self-centered with their belief being that the world (which is you and me) is there for their singular use.

Remember: PDI's are rigid and inflexible in their behavior. They believe that you adapt to them---they do not adapt to you.

Do you want to know if there's a PDI in your life? Take the questionnaire on Dr. Kapuchinski's Website and find out!

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