Personality Disorders often stem from a need to be special, but in a distorted way. The Narcissist arrogantly asserts his specialness. The Borderline feels special in her unique belief in being unwanted. The Sociopath lives with the notion that no law applies to him. And, the Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder has a special responsibility to keep the world in order by his or her maneuvers.
While psychiatric disorders have genetic and environmental origins, let’s not dismiss the human desire to feel important. Patients with personality disorders may be disturbed, but they do feel unique – if not special – in the world. And, other people come second.
•Most of Us Need Other People: While there are pure introverts, human beings are built to be in relationships. When we love and are loved, our lives are enriched. It’s like food for the soul.
•The Narcissism of Medical Pain: If you have chronic pain, it’s good to be aware of your natural need to self soothe; sometimes at the expense of caring for others. Don’t feel guilty; you already have a lot on your plate. Rather, see if there are moments when you can come out of yourself and be there for people you care about.
•The Narcissism of Psychiatric Pain: If you are depressed or suffer from chronic anxiety, be aware that you may not be nurturing relationships very well. As with medical pain, cut the guilt, you already have too much going on. Instead, see if there are moments when you can shake off your pain for a moment and be there for those that are important to you.
•The Self Centerness of Personality Disorders: The hallmark of a Personality Disorder is the way they construct a dysfunctional universe around themselves. Whether the diagnosis is Narcissistic, Dependent, Obsessive Compulsive, Borderline or Sociopathic Personality Disorder, they all have intense self importance as a central focus. You know treatment is going well when patient begins to seriously consider the needs and hopes of others.
The good news is that medical and psychological pain often fades.
Remember that you’re not the only one hurting, and if you’re honest, empathize with those around you. Often, it’s possible to be generous and offer a hand or an ear when you’re relatively pain free.
All good relationships require mutuality.
And, if you or someone you love has a Personality Disorder, its not going to be easy. Yet, time may heal some of these souls. Narcissists often do poorly with aging and Borderlines can lose their intensity. This can open them for therapy – and perhaps love.