'Personality Disorder' is a term used by some mental health professionals to describe a range of difficulties set out below. However, the term is not without contention.
'Personality disorders' are very often the result of early adversity and difficulties experienced throughout one's upbringing and development. For example, those who have been physically, emotionally, psychologically or emotionally abused, will often go onto to experience complex trauma which may some may choose to label a 'personality disorder'. This is also the case for those who have experienced emotional neglect in their upbringing which can be particularly difficult since though physical needs – such as food and shelter – may have been provided, the absence of emotional stability or affection can lead to profound consequences.
Many of the common difficulties experienced by those with what some label a 'personality disorder' are as follows:
- Intensity of emotions including mood swings
- Difficulty in regulating one's feelings
- Difficulties maintaining relationships, intimate or with friends, or keeping jobs
- A fear of abandonment or rejection
- Difficulties in trusting others
- Impulsive behaviours, particularly in relationships that can cause distress for the partner or tensions in the relationship
- Low self-confidence or self-esteem
- Feelings of guilt, shame, that one is worthy of blame or that one is somehow irredeemably 'flawed'
- Difficulties with remembering significant portions of one's life – leading to feelings that one's life story has gaps in it.
- Self-destructive behaviours such as self-harm.
As noted above, many individuals who experience the difficulties described above are the victims of neglect or abuse in their upbringing or from those who one could expect would have been there to care for the person concerned. This is borne in mind at all times by the practitioners at Psychology Sussex who are specialised and experienced in working with those who may invite the label of a 'personality disorder'.
The process of therapy for those with what may be termed a 'personality disorder' has as its first aim helping the individual concerned come up with a formulation of the difficulties experienced. A formulation is an understanding made in collaboration with the therapist regarding an individual's life history and circumstances, and how these may have come to shape the difficulties that are currently being experienced. Once a formulation has been made, our aim is always to adopt an integrative approach to therapy which is often the best way forward, though this process can take time. The practitioners at Psychology Sussex that work with those who may be experiencing the difficulties described above will drawn on a variety of therapeutic techniques – including CBT, DBT, MBT, and EMDR to help the individual concerned, through a collaborative process, begin to heal from the early adversities which may have been experienced and to help the individual begin to move forward in a way that makes it easier to be at peace with themselves and maintain relationships with others.
If you are someone that you may know may be struggling with what may be labelled a 'personality disorder' then do not hesitate to contact the team now to discuss how it is that Psychology Sussex can help.