How often have you heard words like “that person is a Narcisssist” or “he/she has a Borderline Personality” or “she’s Anti-Social”? Do you realise that these are not just words that can easily be attached to people? These are real mental health conditions and unless you have a qualification is Psychology or a mental health discipline, you are not qualified to use these labels without merit.
People with Personality Disorders are not evil. They have a mental illness. They are not just wilfully behaving badly, they are behaving the way their brain is telling them to behave.
According to the DSM-V diagnostic criteria “Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterised by enduring maladaptive patterns of behaviour, cognition and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating markedly from those accepted by the individual’s culture. These patterns develop early, are inflexible, and are associated with significant distress or disability.”
If you do a search for these disorders on the website for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) you will find it says “will add description later” because these disorders are so difficult to define.
The question you need to ask yourself is: how do you know if the person you are dating or divorcing has a Personality Disorder or if they are really just behaving badly?
The answer is – it doesn’t matter.
If someone is hurting you physically or manipulating you emotionally, you must stop allowing them to do so. The reason for their behaviour is irrelevant. We need to realise and understand that people can be dangerous even if they are not “evil”. No matter how much empathy you have for the other person’s struggles, you do not deserve to be mistreated or abused.
Looking back on your relationship with an emotional manipulator, if you think about the behaviour they displayed at the beginning of your relationship you will see the following red flags were present:
1. An intense, sometimes urgent, courting period
2. Pressure to commit to an exclusive relationship before you knew each other well or felt totally comfortable doing so
3. Tendencies to being jealous, explained away with overflowing compliments about how desirable you are, or statements about how “you just don’t get how guys/girls are”
4. Subtle put-downs, often disguised as friendly advice or constructive criticism
5. Dismissive responses to your feelings and your accomplishments
6. Qualified apologies for bad behaviour
7. Your gut tells you something is wrong – never ignore your gut feeling
Always remember that just because you thought you liked someone, agreed to going on a date with them, paid for a few of their meals, had sex with them, told them you love them or anything else, you are never under any obligation to continue a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad or uncomfortable in any way.
No one knows you better than yourself, and if someone is trying to tell you that you are wrong about how you think you feel – RUN!!!! Don’t walk to the nearest exit. RUN!!!!!