Personality Disorders: Myths and Facts

Personality Disorders: Myths and Facts

Myth: A person with personality disorders is just difficult to get along with. It’s not really a disorder.

Fact: People may presume that it is difficult to get along with a person who has a personality disorder because of his or her unruly and inconsistent behavior, which falls outside the 'normal' category. What most people don’t know is that the person's inconsistent or abnormal behavior is not intentional but due to a a genuine mental health issue.

Myth: People with personality disorders are just stubborn and resistant to change. That’s why they don’t get better.

Fact: All of us are resistant to change. We all have certain preferences and certain ways of doing things that we are unwilling to let go of. If a well-adjusted person can be resistant to change, someone with personality disorder is going to find it more difficult to change their behavior. Just like a person who has depression needs medication and treatment to get better, so also does a person with personality disorder.

Myth: People with personality disorders don’t care about the people around them. They’re always focused on what they want.

People with personality disorders do care about their friends and family. Unfortunately, the problems caused by the personality disorder (mood swings, inability to relate to others, impulsive behavior, and unstable self-image) are so intense that they are sometimes unable to see how their behavior affects their loved ones. They can be compassionate and loving and they may sometimes feel guilty and depressed about the distress caused to others by their behavior. However, the struggle they face within themselves is overwhelming, and they may not be able to help others or relate to them well all the time.

Myth: People with personality disorders are just trying to get attention when they attempt suicide. They don’t really want to die.

Like with most other people who commit suicide, people with personality disorders try to kill themselves because, at that moment, their agony is so great that they don’t think life is worth living. They may be experiencing intense, painful emotions and think that suicide is the only way out. Suicidal behavior is a desperate cry for help.

Borderline Personality Disorder

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