It’s common for those who are closest to Personality Disordered individuals to be shocked and taken aback by what appears to them to be shameful or outrageous behaviors. It can be made even worse when they appear to be utterly unashamed, or become defensive when the negative behavior is pointed out.
Part of the issue is the Non expects the personality disordered individual to “think like I think” and anticipates an apology for angry outbursts, episodes of abuse, including verbal or physical assaults. Sometimes these apologies will come, and sometimes, they will not.
This lack of an expected apology can lead to further conflict and resentment in the relationship.
For the Personality Disordered individual, often their own behavior seems justified in light of the strong emotional motivation they have. They may feel justified in hurting others because they themselves feel hurt, or they may feel justified in disregarding other’s feelings because their own feelings are not soothed. This often makes Personality Disordered individuals appear thoughtless, selfish, cruel and sadistic to others, however, they often feel misjudged by others who don’t validate the disordered thinking which arises from their intense feelings.
What it looks like
A man behaves violently, destroying objects in the home, and feels he was justified in doing so because his wife doesn’t listen to him
A young woman cheats on her boyfriend and feels unapologetic for it because she thinks he looks at other women too much.
A parent spends the month’s grocery budget on luxury items and is unapologetic for it.
A teenager refuses to speak to a friend and feels justified in that action because she fears that friend does not love or respect her.
A man steals from a colleague and believes it is justified because his colleague is more successful than him.
A woman slanders her neighbor because she feels like that person deserves it
How it Feels
Nons often feel exasperated, shocked and outraged that the Personality-Disordered individuals in their lives can behave so callously or hatefully.
They may begin to hit back because they feel so hurt or taken advantage of. Or they might feel depression that they are treated so poorly and have failed to convince the other person to treat them with respect.
How to Cope
If you are in a relationship with someone who suffers from a Personality Disorder, it’s important to remember that they don’t think like you do, have the same feelings you do, or see the world the way you do. Any attempt make a Personality-Disordered individual see things your way might just lead to frustration all around.
The best approach you can take is to detach emotionally from them and focus on taking care of your own physical and emotional needs.
What NOT to do
Don’t assume that the personality-disordered individual sees things the way you do or thinks the way you do.
Don’t try to correct another person’s way of thinking.
Don’t blame yourself or take responsibility for how the other person feels or how they behave.
Don’t get angry and try to force them to apologize. Even if you have a legitimate complaint, chances are your concerns are like a foreign language to the Personality-Disordered individual.
Don’t allow abuse to go on in a sustained way.
Don’t try to fix the problem -or try to change yourself to solve everything.
What TO do
Remove yourself from any dangerous or abusive situation.
Remember that people with Personality Disorders have strong emotions that often make sense to them - even if they don’t make sense to you.
Let the other person have their own feelings and preserve the right to maintain your own feelings.
Get support and discuss your concerns with someone who cares about you and who understands personality disorders
August 25, 2014 - OOTF announce an exciting new development - it's called Out of the Storm - a support site specifically designed for people who suffer from CPTSD - Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At OOTF we have often welcomed members who are dealing with CPTSD as a consequence of having been in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder. Nevertheless, for a long time we have recognized that CPTSD sufferers have a distinct and unique set of concerns and issues.
Nov 9, 2013 - OOTF has just launched a new "Future Goals" forum. This forum is a safe place to store your goals of what you would like to achieve. Setting goals can help us move forward, and give us something to focus on while we are working our way through day to day issues. Goals can change, be amended or added to over time as we either achieve them, or determine new goals as our lives unfold.