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Sally Perkins

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Learning How To Support Loved Ones With A Personality Disorder

04/20/2019 06:00AM | 5368 views

In past studies on psychological conditions, almost 15% of the American population was diagnosed with one or more personality disorder. Monolingual Hispanics make up 30% of patients diagnosed with a personality disorder, based on asample study done in 2010.  Despite the growing prevalence of personality disorders, not many people are aware of how they may affect everyday activities. There are ten identified personality disorders broken down into three different clusters, with each focusing on one or more aspects of a certain personality trait. Of the three clusters, Cluster B seems to be one of the most ostracized groups in need of support. Knowing the signs of onset and effectively providing an open space where they can talk about how they feel will encourage more openness and understanding in the community.


Know The Signs

Cluster B personality disorders fall under the categories that exhibit erratic behavior, a selfish nature, lack of empathy and recklessness. These categories can be further expanded toinclude rash decision making, promiscuity, narcissistic tendencies, and overthinking what we may perceive as minute details. Taking the time to identify the signs of onset can save you and your loved ones a world of difficulties. On your first attempt to broach the subject, your loved one may not be as open to talking about their symptoms or explaining the root of their anxiety or depression. It is important that you create asafe space  where they feel welcome to share their thoughts and any current obstacles they may face.

Offer Support, Not Criticism

It can be very easy to find fault with a person suffering from apersonality disorder, but it's more difficult to be supportive. Take time to understand that an individual with a personalitydisorder's brain is wired with different reactions and thought process. A single sentence can cause a situation to go from slightly off-kilter to posing a threat of self-harm. Learning howto offer positive feedback in a less than positive situation can help provide a better space for talking about treatment and help methods for dealing with a manic or depressive episode.

Starting off with a simple explanation does not only fall on you, but also on those around you. You must be willing tolisten to their explanation and understand that there will be times when your loved ones will not understand their own behavior. In these moments, offer to help them to talk with aprofessional or for you to research together, turning a moment of confusion to one of growth and understanding. These moments also allow you to share things you may have struggled with in the past and provide a feeling of kinship withyour loved one.

Things To Remember

Remembering that your loved one may view the world differently from you can help guide you through the rough times. Before you decide to have an open discussion with your loved one, explain to them that you're coming from a place of love and support, and not criticism. You need to understand that not all your approaches will be met with open arms, and that’s okay. Be of a kind nature, and seek the help of a larger community before you engage in reaching out and closing the gap. By knowing what to expect, you will have a better understanding of their thought process and how to better support them in their time of need.


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