Psychological DISORDERS (Part 4a)



if I’m afraid of everything!

PREVIOUS: Psych Disorders (#3)

POSTs: EGO States – summary

SITE: Re. PSYCH terms used as swear words

HUMOR: Hollywood PDs, as “Cars in the parking lot”


They are a group of 10 PMES mental/emotional illnesses,
 consisting of maladaptive internal experiencing (Es) thinking (Ts) & behavior (As) that deviate from norms & expectations of the person’s culture. These PDs make it very hard for the sufferers to accurately understand or relate to people & situations.

To put this category in perspective, it’s useful to place them in the hierarchy of mental states – from Highest to Lowest functioning:
1. Healthy —-> 2. Neurotics —-> 3. Personality Disordered (PD)—-> 4. Sociopaths/Psychopaths —-> 5. Psychotics (who are not at all in reality) 

PDs are pervasive & inflexible (unlike neuroses), have an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, are stable over time (consistent, persistent), & lead to emotional distress or impairment of ‘normal’ functioning.
— PDs are about 15% of the US population, 10% worldwide
— They are usually chronic, & difficult to treat
— A person can be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder, usually from the same cluster. (Skodol, 2005)
— Identifying the specific PD a person has (Axis I of the DSM) can help clinicians identify the risk of suicide & other psychological problems (any on Axis II), which often accompany PDs

●  All human traits range from
healthy & adaptive <—> to unhealthy & maladaptive.
PDs fall into the orange & red sectors, because their damage effects 
every part of a person’s life, usually as a result of an ongoing traumatic childhood. They tends to severely limit success in school, relationships, social encounters, work…. 

OVERVIEW – Main Symptoms of PDs
a. Distorted thinking patterns (CDs)
b. Over / under – regulated impulse control
• Odd / eccentric behavior patterns
• In some cases, periods of losing contact with reality (dissociations)
c. Interpersonal difficulties
• Avoiding other people, feeling empty & emotionally disconnected
• Trouble sustaining stable & close relationships, especially with partners, children & professional helpers

d. Problematic emotional responses
•  Overwhelmed by distress, anxiety, anger & worthlessness
• Difficulty managing uncomfortable/painful emotions, especially without self-harming – so may use cutting, being promiscuous, belligerent, withholding, abusing chemicals… in order to ‘cope’ – but rarely harm others physically. There are exceptions in some, such as torturing animals & bullying

Based on descriptive similarities, PDs are grouped into:

A3 “odd, eccentric” types: socially awkwardness & withdrawal (MORE….)

These PDs are dominated by distorted thinking, & in extremes they go:
— from eccentricity to fantasy
— from being lonely to schizoid hiding
— from distorted thinking to delusion, to paranoia
— from projective identification to projecting guilt on to others…..

Paranoid (2%) “The world is hostile so don’t trust anyone, & deal with people by being angry & attacking.”
Schizoid – “The world is scary so I withdraw from it (people), & don’t show any emotion or other needs/feelings”
Schizotypal – “The world is too scary, so I withdraw from it (people), & being a bit crazy, I don’t think clearly”

B4 “dramatic, emotional, erratic” types
UNDER- controlled: People in this cluster share the pattern of little or no  impulse control & have trouble emotionally regulating  themselves. This can include failure to plan ahead, or to consider the long-term consequences of their actions. At the extreme they can end up getting  into trouble (like breaking the law), & hurting others.

Antisocial (3%) “You can’t trust anyone & life’s unfair, so I take advantage of people & do whatever I like”
Borderline (1-2%) “Relationships & life are very unreliable, so I frantically do anything to keep people around”
Histrionic (2-3%) “I must be the centre of attention, so I will be dramatic, flirtatious & highly emotional”
Narcissistic (1%) “I have always been told that I’m very important & the best, so I feel & act that way”

C 3 “anxious, fearful” types  
OVER- controlled: This group shares a pattern of social inhibition, a deep sense of inadequacy, & hyper-sensitivity to other people’s negative opinions. They’re afraid to try new things lest they embarrass themselves, & get ridiculed or outright rejected. They hold back around others, so can come across as uptight & snobbish. They lack spontaneity, since every action must be considered for its potential to cause themselves emotional pain (MORE….)

Avoidant (1-10%) Life is scary & rejecting, so I feel worthless & withdraw ”
Dependent (0.5%) “I am worthless & can’t cope with life, so I cling to others & do what they tell me”
Obsessive/compulsive (1-8%?) “Everything around me is chaotic, so I have to be in control of myself & everything in my life, by being orderly & a perfectionist”

Other PDs not in DSM IV
Cyclothymic: Mood swings from Hi to Lo, with evenness in between – not as extreme as Manic-Depression
Masochistic (self-defeating): A need to fail, deliberately putting obstacles in ones own way to induce 
frustration, grief, setbacks & suffering

Passive-aggressive: See POSTS
Sadistic: Deriving pleasure from harming or humiliating others, using aggressive, cruel, demeaning & manipulative behavior

NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 4b)


Psychological DISORDERS (3c)


are just twisted versions of the True me!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #3a

SITE:   What is High-functioning Anxiety?



c. Transactional Analysis  – The IMPASSE
Def : 
A road or passage having no exit, as a cul-de-sac
A situation so difficult that no progress can be made. Deadlock/stalemate

In psychological terms, impasses are formed as Type 1, 2 & 3 developmental stages in childhood, during which script-decisions are made. Scripts – our unconscious plan for life /internal ‘story’ – are usually based on unmet needs & abuse. This causes inner conflicts between one’s Parent & Child ego states, & usually experienced by the child first as a personal failure – an internalized sense of inadequacy. Parents, wider family & society present, repeat & reinforce scripts – in some cases positive, but in most cases harmful. (See the Gouldings’ 12 script themes – similar to the ACoA Toxic Rules)
This shows the power & active participation of children in their own development.

As adults, we all carry a representation (model) of the world  & ourselves – where we belong, how we fit in, our work & how we do it, & where we’re headed. If the source of this model comes from a dysfunctional family, it will always fall short of dynamic, ever-changing reality – limiting our S & I growth.
An impasse (being stuck in some area of life) indicates a need for change in order to move forward. The different intensities of psychological disorders represent various stages & intensities of impasse. (MORE...)

CHART: 3 development stages of conflicts between inner Parent (P) & Child (C)
3rd degree impasse (Po-Co: Birth to 6 months, pre-verbal, even pre-natal)
These earliest conflicts are produced by the type of connection between mother & child, depending on how they relate day after day. They will be around the issue of survival, between: abandonment & engulfment, destroying or being destroyed, worth & worthlessness….

EXPIf the mother has an unhealed WIC – stuck in her own impasse – her wounds get communicated to the baby, day after day. If she is insensitive, controlling or brutal – the effect on the baby is predictable.
However – much more difficult to identify later on –  if h
er grown up Adult & Parent parts are used to activate, even improve her parenting style, without Recovery her behavior won’t have any affect on her little C1 ego state. No matter how she tries to cover it up, her deepest damage will unconsciously keep re-traumatizing the baby. 

A depressed or angry mother can ‘responsibly’ feed & look after her baby son every day, but he knows / senses his mother is emotionally bereft. He intuits (or is told) that he needs to take care of her – all focus must be on her instead of his own feelings & needs – OR ELSE she may somehow leave (die). So he feels unworthy to be taken care of & worthless for not being able to help her, which causes intense anxiety. So he slowly develops defensive patterns like people-pleasing / isolation / addictions…., which form his False Self.

As an adult, this earliest impasse continues as deep-seated conflicts in PMES forms such as muscle tension, psychosomatic complaints, immune disorders…. & expressed verbally in symbolic images, such as “I feel as if I’m in a fog, lost, cold & alone, there’s a wall up between me & everyone else” …. 

 2 degree impasse (P1-C1:  6 mths – 6 yrs)
Made up of Injunctions (authoritative orders) carried by feelings /emotions. They become internalized, often through non-verbal comman
ds, at a time when the child has only a basic grasp of language. Script-decisions made are around basic theme about the child’s identity, such as: “Who am I? // Am I important? // Don’t grow up // Don’t feel”….. Later on, it’s much harder to remember how these issues developed, so the person usually doesn’t know they’re stuck back there

 1 degree impasse (P2-C2 : 6+ yrs old, when they can understand language)
The struggle here is between what the child should & should not do, what behaviors are socially acceptable or not. Internalized verbal
instructions (counter-injunctions) will be things like: “Please others // Always try hard // Be a good boy or good girl // Never get angry”….. These are more accessible to awareness, so later on it’s easier to remember who gave them & in what form.

BREAKING the Impasse – options
When the Bad Parent is so strong that it keeps the messages in place, the person gives in & continues to live by the original ‘rules’, keeping the Healthy Child bound. HOWEVER – 
a. When the person’s Wounded Child refuses to go along with its Bad Parent’s messages & is finally allowed to get angry, it liberates the Healthy / Free Child
b. The Bad Parent’s injunctions are agreed with, but the Healthy Child’s needs are ‘redefined’, often in humorous terms. Then both sides win.
EXP = Parent voice: “You’re crazy”
Child: “I may be crazy, but I’m never boring!”:)

NEXT: Disorders #4a

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 3b)

when I  have to travel

PREVIOUS: Disorders #3a

BOOK:Neurosis & Treatment: A Holistic Theory. – A. Angyal


2. NEUROSES (cont.)

Neurotic Disorders
Agoraphobia w/ panic – perceiving some environment to be unsafe with no easy or possible escape, needing to stay hidden indoor
 • Conversion (hysteria) – neurological symptoms (numbness, blindness, paralysis, fits) without a well-established organic cause, causing significant distress, traced back to a psychological trigger
Depersonalization – feeling disconnected or estranged from one’s Self – of being an outside observer of ones thoughts or actions

Dissociative (DDNOS) – chronic & recurrent identity disturbance due to prolonged & intense coercive persuasion (brainwashing) – disrupting normal functions of consciousness, memory or perception of the environment
Generalized anxiety (GAD) – the “worry cycle”, being concerned about getting through the day, but with no apparent or current problem

Hypochondriasis – excessively worried about having a serious illness, despite the absence of any actual medical diagnosis
Neurasthenia (from stress &/or isolation) – a mechanical weakness of the nerves, with symptoms of anxiety, depressed mood, fatigue, headache, heart palpitations, high blood pressure & neuralgia
Neurotic Depression – same mental & physical problems as depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms

Obsessive-compulsive – the need to repeatedly check things, perform certain routines (“rituals”), or recurring thoughts, which control behavior
Phobic state – an  irrational fear of a place or situation that makes one feel powerless & not in control
Panic (without agoraphobia) – sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something really bad is going to happen

• Post-Traumatic – caused by experiencing a single or prolonged traumatic events, & includes physical flashbacks, nightmares, & intrusive memories
Social anxiety – significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress & impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life
Somatization – multiple recurring clinically significant physical complaints representing emotional pain

A Different Perspective (non-traditional, non-medical)
a.  Students of the Enneagram start with each Type’s distortion or flaw, seen as a positive characteristic which has been bent away from True Center – because of wounding experiences. This is similar to the ancient Greek notion of sin or fault as hamartia = ‘missing the mark’. If you aim at a target with a bent gun barrel or crooked arrow, you’ll miss the target.

Starting in childhood, when we need the most nurturing & encouragement, our vulnerability turns our innate strengths into weaknesses ONLY —
— IF our values are attacked, discounted, made fun of or in any way violated, so we feel threatened & scared
— IF our strengths are challenged, distrusted, dismissed or questioned, so we can become anxious, guilty, ashamed & angry

Inner Child work is about uncovering & healing the wounds / vulnerabilities created when growing up. It’s discovering where our WIC is hiding, how & where it hides, & from what, and what it really needs. By knowing our specific sensitivities, our EnneaType can be used as a guide to growth. (MORE….)
FLAW                                                    GIFT
#1 – Criticism /Resentment              ==  Serene / Good
#2 – Pride / Flattery                          == Humble / Loving
#3 – Deceit / Vanity                           == Authentic / Effective
#4 – Envy / Moody                            == Emotionally balanced / Original
#5 – Avarice / Stingy                         ==  Unattached / Wise
#6 – Fear / Cowardice                      == Courageous /Loyal
#7 – Gluttony / Avoidance               == Sober / Joyful
#8 – Lust  / Vengeance                     == Subtle / Protective
#9 – Sloth  / Withdrawal                  == Engaged / Peaceful

(MORE ….  ➕ what each EnneaType really wants)

BOOK: “The Positive Enneagram“, Susan Rhodes

b. SIMILARLY – Andras Angyal (1965), a neo-psychoanalytic therapist, wrote:  “The real traumatizing factors are those which prevent the person from expressing these basic tendencies. In the neurotic development there are always a number of unfortunate circumstances which instil in the child a self-derogatory feeling……”  (MORE – excellent)
However –
✳️ “The person’s essentially healthy features exist not beside but within the neurosis. Each neurotic manifestation is a distorted expression of an individually shaped healthy trend. (p.228).
The distortion must be clearly seen & acknowledged, but the healthy core will be found within the distortion itself. So, when a person learns that the neurosis is an exaggerated version of health, they can feel less shame, & be more hopeful.”
• In other words – trace the neurosis back to it’s original strength & focus on expressing that instead.

NEXT: Disorders #3c

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 3a)

as some people I know!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #1

SITEs: “Why being neurotic could actually be a good thing”

⬆️ IMAGE designed & assembled by DMT

– now called “depressive or anxiety disorders”, are a group of mental dysfunctions which do not interfere with a person’s ability to think rationally or function day-to-day, but definitely cause distressing anxiety.
Freud said they’re a result of an extremely painful experience earlier in life, which was never processed consciously (rape, witnessing a traumatic death, attacked by a person or animal….)
Jung added they’re cause by a conflict between conscious concerns (like obligations) & unconscious content (unacceptable thoughts, wishes, emotions….)

Trait Neuroticism (TN) one of the 5 personality components of OCEAN. All vertebrate animals – including humans – have a “negative affect system” to avoid negative/punishing situations. TN includes individual differences in sensitivity & activity of this system, ie. how painful someone’s emotions are & what kind of responses they have to upsets (affect=emotion)

People high in TN are more likely to develop depression & anxiety, especially when exposed to ongoing stressful living conditions without having the skills to process their distress in a safe, validating interpersonal environment. They can either avoid the disturbing person/situation, or shutdown from frustrated needs & losses. AND they can either turn their pain in on themselves, or turn it on other (S-H or attack).

Karen Horney in “Our Inner Conflicts” said neurotic needs move us:
Toward others: those who seek affirmation & acceptance from others -needy, clingy, looking for approval & love
Away: those who are hostile & antisocial – aloof, cold & indifferent
Against: those who are also hostile, but with a need to control others, often described as difficult, domineering & unkind

• Scientific studies have found a correlation between a specific human gene & its corresponding allele pair and neuroticism. These cell components help to control the amount of serotonin released into the body, which when delivered unevenly, will continue to stimulate surrounding nerve cells, causing neurotic symptoms (anxiety)

• Not surprisingly – a 1998 study of over 9,500 UK residents found a higher number of neurotic disorders among poorer people. It’s possible that genetic factors predispose an individual to anxiety & neurosis, with outside factors triggering the symptoms.(MORE….)

IMP: Neurotics have a consolidated identity (not fragmented – being mostly in touch with reality), are well aware that something’s wrong (unlike PDs & psychotics), & can use ‘normal’ defenses (like CDs).

• With neuroses (n.), only a part of the personality is effected.  A person confronted with their feared issue (big dogs, snakes, airplanes, clowns, public speaking, visiting family….) will inevitably have an intense desire to avoid their specific issue. But their way of dealing with it is maladaptive, ie. the response ultimately moves the person away from their long-term needs (feeling safe) & goals (achievements).

✰ The main symptom is excessive anxiety, along with one or more physical manifestations (tight muscles, palpitation, headaches…..not based on illness), & may include anger & irritability, co-dependence, compulsive self-defeating behavior, low self-esteem, obsessive harmful thoughts & perfectionism.

Re. traumatic events – without psychological & spiritual help at the time of the originating stressor (rape, severe accident, death of parent, best friend, classmate….), the unconscious suppresses unbearable emotions, & sometimes even the memory of the event. Whether the person remember or not, their nervous system continue to experiences it as it did originally, becoming an ‘invisible injury. This makes dealing with their specific fear very difficult, while others parts of their life function relatively well. (MORE…..)

Neurotic reactions can be seen in one or more areas of ones life 
Beliefs: (‘verbal cognitions’), rigid & deeply protected theories about ourselves in the world, developed to justifying our actions/reactions
Defenses: trying to manage the tension between conflicting internal goals, & filter unacceptable ‘stuff ‘ out of full consciousness, but doing so at significant cost
Emotions: generally are either over-regulated (suppressed & not expressed) or under-regulated (hyper-sensitized & over-expressed)
Habits: automatic or ritualized patterns of visible actions used to alleviate anxiety & provide a sense of security
Relationships: adopting rigid styles of dealing with others, or having extreme reactions when not getting the connection they want/need

NEXT: Psych Disorders #4

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 2b)

took a lot of effort!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #2a

SITE:  7  vitamin supplements that improve mental health

1. NORMAL (Healthy – cont.)

REVIEW: tools that improve Mental Health
• Value yourself     • Take care of your body (food, rest, exercise, sleep…)
• Learn how to deal with stress     • Quiet your mind  • Practice gratitude
• Surround yourself with good (healthy) people
• Set realistic goals   • Look for ways to change routines (travel, learn….)
• Express kindness to some else (but NOT at your one expense!)
• Practice saying NO!   • Get help when you need it!    (MORE ideas….)

NOTE: ACoAs can achieve a large portions of mental health by getting the right help & consistency using all the tools available to us, throughout our life!

Our coping mechanisms develop organically in response to frustrating, difficult & painful situations / experiences. They function like a human firewall, a psychological immune system needed to defend against hurtful & abusive relationships, while hopefully allowing healthy / nurturing relationships to pass the protective walls. (Posts: Boundaries .… weak, rigid, healthy)

At their best:
Defenses are important to know about because they strongly influence how easily people can form & maintain healthy relationships, while being able to reject unhealthy relationships. Knowing when to be defensive & when not to be – is key for health.
We need them to keep us safe from people who mess with us, but also need to be able to relax & let the wall open up, to keep the capacity for innocence, availability & healthy connections. (Posts: Trust …. over. under, healthy)

At worst: Defenses are harmful & debilitating when they turn into psychological armor solidified into stone or iron, not allowing trust & spontaneous interactions with positive PPT (people, places, things) in our life.

 MATURE Defenses (Healthy)
Altruism = You derive true pleasure from helping other people—and if you couldn’t, you’d get depressed
Anticipation = When you know you’ll be faced with a challenging situation, you try to plan ahead so you won’t be overwhelmed
Distraction = When something upsetting may happen or has already happened, consciously deciding to put off distressing thoughts (which add anxiety) by temporarily focusing your attention on something less threatening

Humor (not humiliating, mean, sarcastic….) = You try to see the funny side of situations, even when they’re stressful or potentially upsetting
Identification (healthy version) = When in new or scary situation, you temporarily use characteristics of an admired/respected person you don’t automatically/naturally have (EXP from the Enneagram:  Picking up positive characteristics of the Number at the end of your Type’s “Security Point” arrow) 
Introjection (healthy version) = When you acknowledge a missing skill or trait you value – you can absorb inputs from the environment & make them a part of yourself
Sublimation = when you’re feeling anxious, you do something constructive such as cooking or woodworking
Suppression – If you’re bothered by something or someone, you keep the lid on your feelings if letting them show would interfere with your goals.

HERITABILITY (the likelihood of inheriting a trait) is a population-wide statistic which assesses the proportion of variation in the population one can attribute to heritable genetic variation.
— If heritability is 1.0, all of the variation is genetic – offspring are just a linear combination of their parents
— If heritability is ~0.0, then there’s basically no correlation between parents & offspring. While it’s a population-wide statistic, it can be informative on an individual level. EXP: the heritability of height is ~0.90 in the Western world. (More….)
See Survey CHART  re. Genetic influence on human psychological Traits – which can give a rough sense of the “pull” that biological inheritance will have on an individual. Biology may not be destiny, but it is definitely probability.

Some Behavioral Traits w/ HIGH Heritability
• Aggressiveness, Hard avoidance, Impulsivity, Reward-dependent
• Altruism, Empathy, Nurturance, Well-being, Persistence (or stubbornness)
• Assertiveness, Leadership, Constraint (non-impulsive)
• Sociability, Social closeness, Traditionalism, Physicality  (More….)

Article: “All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable” from studies in BioDiversity

NEXT: Personality Disorders (#3a)

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 2a)

easily know how to function

PREVIOUS: Disorders #1

IMAGE from: The Truman College Wellness Center

SITEPsychological Disorders:  PowerPoints with Video Links & Lecture Notes (To purchase. Aimed at teachers)

HUMOR:  Psychological Disorders of Winnie the Pooh Characters

LEVELS of Mental Health
The hierarchy of mental states, from highest to lowest functioning, is:
1. Healthy —-> 2. Neurotic —-> 3. Personality Disordered —->
4. Sociopathic/Psychopathic —-> 5. Psychotic 

DEF: Mental health is a state of emotional & psychological well-being based on realizing & developing ones potential, with the ability to cope with normal life stressors, to work productively & fruitfully, & contribute to ones community. This comes from the True Self.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes : Autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, perceived self-efficacy, self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential…… & subjective well-being, which comes from acting on their abilities, coping with normal life-stressors, productive work & contribution to their community.

HOWEVER: People with long-term, stable mental health are in the minority. Several long-term studies – in the US, Switzerland & New Zealand – (covering a span of 27 yrs, during ages 11 to 38) found that up to 83% of participants developed mental disorders sometime during those ages.

Re. the continually health people: while having loving, drama-free childhoods helped, these people were (born) naturally up-beat (emotionally not moody), had lots of friends & had superior self-control.
As adults, they reported more education, better jobs, higher-quality relationships & more satisfaction with their lives.
Also, in New Zealand, the healthiest Kiwis had fewer first- & second-degree relatives with mental disorders. (More….)

Basically – mental health is about knowing who you are – the very essence of you (not just your damage expressed as self-hate) but rather the person you were born as, called the True Self, found in the Natural Child.

• It’s being comfortable in your own skin, even when things aren’t going well or you’re experiencing great difficulties (More….)

• It’s having access to all emotions (not all at once ):), knowing how to comfort yourself when in any kind of pain, AND being able to enjoy all the good things about yourself & your life

• It’s knowing what your talents are & using them  to your best ability, learning what you don’t know & using all your imagination to express your ideas

• It’s having strong, clear boundaries (not walls) so you can have safe relationships which can be loving, interesting &/or fun

• It’s knowing what your limitations are, based on your natural personality, you experiences & your age. Accepting that you are imperfect & not all-powerful, both as a human being & as your unique self. It’s ACCEPTING this & being OK with it

• It’s being curious about yourself, other people & the world, always looking for new ways to grow & stay interested in life

💕 Healthier people can tolerate a wider, deeper range of emotion, so don’t have a compulsive need for distractions (alcohol, sugar, internet surfing, sex, doing / doing….). Being more honestly self-aware allows them to feel:
😟 the pain of their own human failings, limitations & eventual mortality, and
😍 the beauty of everyday living – precious moments with loved ones, appreciating delicate flowers, a kind word from someone, time spent with a pet or listening to favorite music….
‼️as well as the high points, like weddings, births, promotions, personal milestones, artistic accomplishments….(SITE: Children’s Mental Health 2–8)

Theresa Lowry-Lehnen, Health Psychology lecturer, writes:
“Emotional stability refers to the level of control a person has over their own emotions. A healthy personality does not have unreasonable & unwanted negative thoughts & feelings towards others, nor indulges in self-loathing. They can be spontaneous but not impulsive, can make rational, well-judged decisions, & are able to protect their health, self-esteem & well-being – despite any problems in their life.”

Using the criterion of personality organization, Dr. Otto Kernberg marks 3 degrees of dysfunctional severity: Neurotic, Borderline & Psychotic states. The more mentally & emotionally disorganized, the worse the person’s functioning.
To assess this, Kernberg suggests evaluating answers to 3 Qs:
1) Is your reality-testing intact? (Explanations)
2) Do you have an integrated sense of self & others?
3) What is the maturity level of your defenses?












CHAT BOT – talk to computer re. moods (Woebot on Facebook Messenger)

NEXT: Disorders #2b

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 1)

just a little ‘off’!

PREVIOUS: Communication (#1)

POSTs: Principles of Character 1 & 2

SITEs: STARLING: online educational videos, community support, and evidence based tools – to help improve mental health


PERSONALITY: A pattern of relatively permanent traits & unique characteristics that give both consistency & individuality to a person’s behavior.
TRAITS contribute to individual differences in behavior, consistently over time, & across a variety of situations.
CHARACTERISTICS are unique qualities of a person that include temperament, physique & intelligence.

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS are based on a person’s level of healthy character or disorder, & can be looked at from 3 points of view:
• Inward-facing perspective – the Self judging itself (self-concept)
• Outward-facing perspective – the Self judging other people
• Inner-outer: Introject judgments about the Self, but from the perspective of others

BEFORE looking at the various degrees of psychological disorders, we need a look at what mental health is – to use as a comparison.

O.C.E.A.N. traits:
Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, & Neuroticism
These BIG FIVE are dimensions of character (CHART) which represent the most important qualities shaping our social interactions. Extensive research shows these qualities have biological origins & are remarkably universal. One study that looked at people from more than 50 different countries found that these 5 traits accurately described personality from Germany to China. (Descriptions). Traits are rated on a scale from most to least. (People at the extremes)

ACoA reminder: Most of us think that our usual way of being is our actual personality (who we were born as) because it’s how we’ve been since childhood. However – anyone growing up in a very damaging environment forms a False Self as protection, in response to their environment. It’s the FS, a combination of the PP & the WIC, which houses the different disorders. With a lot of FoO work, most can be improved if not totally healed, but not all wounded people are willing to go thru the process needed to Recover.

HEALTHY – According to Otto Kernberg, someone is mentally healthy if they have a well-organized personality, which functions reasonably well because their reality testing is mostly intact. Such people have an integrated sense of Self, with an accurate Self-to-Other concept, allowing them to hold opposite feelings about any person (& themselves) – at the same time – without changing their realistic opinion of them. Everyone is experienced as a consistent ‘whole’, even tho they have both positive & negative qualities. NOTE: This does not mean they like everyone!

Thomas Fuchs (U. of Heidelberg) states: “Narrative Identity* implies a continuity of the personal past, present & future – essentially based on the capacity of a person to integrate contradictory aspects & tendencies into a coherent, overarching sense & view of themselves.”
*Narrative Identity = forming an identity by combining life experiences into an internalized, evolving story of the Self that provides them with a sense of unity & purpose in life.

UNHEALTHY –  However, people with a fragmented sense of Self cannot easily do this.  (This is not about multiple personality or schizophrenic dissociation).

Instead, their minds store separate split-off images of others as being either all bad or all good at any given moment, rather than as a single cohesive personality who has many different aspects.
So they don’t understand that their own experience of someone has changed – depending on the circumstance of their interactions, but actually believe the person has somehow changed. This prevents them from holding a consistent sense of Self & others across time & situations.(Object Relations Theory)
EXP: If you smile & are friendly to me, you are a totally good person – in that moment – who I like & feel safe with. If at some other time you hurt my feelings or ignore me, you are then a totally bad person – in that moment – & so I absolutely don’t feel safe with you.

😟 As a way of coping, the brain compartmentalizes traumatic experiences to keep us from feeling too much pain (physical &/or emotional) – creating dissociation. It can show up as a detachment or spacing out. A part of our attention is missing, so we don’t recognize what we’re thinking or need, & often don’t notice or hear things in our surroundings, or right in front of us all the time. But fundamentally – what’s missing is a connection to some or all our emotions.
SITE: Help for Organizing your mind

NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 2)