Disorders of the Self
From time to time, everyone needs others for reassurance, gratification, and support. However, some people are almost entirely unable to control, affirm, comfort, understand, or soothe themselves. They focus on others to feel protected, cared about, powerful, or important. In the process, they lose themselves and develop personality traits that impair relationships and employment. This sad state of affairs solidifies by late adolescence or early adulthood, as seen in the following:
CAUSES OF DISORDERS OF SELF
Problems can range from personal styles to true disconnection from the self, in which people are at the mercy of others for satisfaction and fulfillment. Any disorder is due to a combination of:
IDENTIFYING PERSONAL STYLES AND PROBLEMS
In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) identified 10 disorders that create problems with relationships and careers. They can be simplified into five patterns.
Directions: Circle the letter for each item that best depicts your feelings, behavior, and history and underline words that are especially descriptive. Force yourself to make a choice and if none of the options seems accurate, have others rate you.
1. I feel best when I am:
2. It is easy for me to feel:
3. I often act:
4. At my best I am:
5. I tend to think others are:
6. As a child I was:
7. My parents:
Discover Your Personality Type:
Notice which letter-choices you picked most often. The more your answers favor one letter, the greater the chance that you have a distinct style:
Choice A: indicates dependent or erratic personalities who attach to others to avoid feeling helpless or abandoned but may distance if closeness becomes suffocating. They often choose strong or overbearing partners or people who need “fixing.”
Choice B: indicates dramatic, inflated personalities who seek attention or exaggerate their self-worth to keep from feeling unloved or unimportant. They often seek partners with superior traits or who will adore and admire them.
Choice C: indicates compulsive or guarded personalities who strive for perfection or watch for criticism and betrayal to prevent uncertainty. They may choose free-spirited partners who represent their suppressed side or people they can control.
Choice D: indicates avoiding, isolated, or eccentric personalities who withdraw rather than risk rejection or harm even though they (unconsciously) crave connection. If they have relationships, it is with very accepting or nondemanding people.
Choice E: indicates defiant personalities who try to rule everyone around them (including their partners) because they never learned to soothe or govern themselves.