I’ve been writing a lot lately about personality disorders.
Linda F had an excellent comment, part of which I’ve reprinted below (the rest will be shared in a later post). She correctly notes that not all the personality disorders as listed in the DSM-IV share the characteristics I’ve been describing.
I appreciate that you have written on the “pain” one suffers, as well as friends and family, when they have a Personality Disorder (PD), however, the way you have written your article lumps “all” Personality Disorders into one all-identifying group; Personality Disorders cannot be so clearly delineated.
While I agree that “some” PD’s do comprise your definition, “People with PD have twisted, maladapted experiences of who they are,” I ardently disagree that ALL PD’s exhibit such traits.
Then, Laura L. Smith, fellow PsychCentral blogger, wrote about the changes proposed for the DSM-V, coming out in 2013, including dramatic changes in the categories and diagnostic descriptions for personality disorders. Dependent, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders, among others, will be reconceptualized.
And to throw a bit of history into the mix, personality disorders used to be called “character disorders.” Ouch! I sure am glad they abandoned that name. But, clearly, the whole concept of personality disorder has always been problematic and continues to be poorly understood.
Linda F’s comment made me realize that, in an attempt to get a handle on the slippery concept of “personality disorder,” I’ve been spotlighting the ego-syntonic personality disorders. They’re the ones that have grabbed my attention throughout my personal and professional experience.
These are the PDs where people are unaware and/or in heavy denial of having them. Individuals with ego-syntonic personality disorders have distorted experiences of themselves and the world around them, but they don’t seem able to realize this. They experience their disorder as consistent with their identities, as part of who they are.
There are other disorders, such as anorexia, which are also ego-syntonic. The emaciated anorexic looks in the mirror and sees a fat person.
Asperger’s, as well as certain people’s depression, may also be experienced as ego-syntonic, as inherent parts of the individual’s Self. They …