Do people know they have a personality disorder?  (5 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Do people know they have a personality disorder?” and explore the various aspects of personality disorders and people’s views towards them to help understand the answer. 

Do people know they have a personality disorder?

No, people do not always know that they have a personality disorder. People with personality disorders are often unaware of their condition and do not think they have any control over it. 

The following are 5 insights into how people do not know they have a personality disorder –

  • Personality is essential in defining who we are as people. 
  • People with personality disorders have difficulty in various aspects of their lives.
  • Some may not appear to be affected in the least by their personality disorder. 
  • Lack of awareness. 
  • Inability to admit responsibility.

What are these 5 insights into how people do not know they have a personality disorder?

Personality is essential in defining who we are as people. 

Personality entails a unique mix of characteristics, including attitudes, ideas, behaviours, and moods, as well as how we display these characteristics in our interactions with others and the environment.

Some aspects of a person’s personality are inherited, while others are developed by their life experiences. If particular personality features become overly rigid and inflexible, a personality disorder might result.

People with personality disorders have difficulty in various aspects of their lives.

People with personality disorders have long-standing thinking and behaviour habits that are different from what society deems normal. Their personality rigidity can cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with many aspects of life, including social and occupational functioning. 

Personality disorders are associated with poor coping abilities and the inability to develop healthy relationships. 

Unlike persons with anxiety disorders, who are aware of their issue but unable to manage it, those with personality disorders are often unaware of their condition and do not think they have any control over it. 

People with personality disorders frequently do not seek therapy on their own because they do not feel they have a disease. Significant suffering, as noted above, is a crucial diagnostic signal for all mental diseases. 

When someone has a mental illness, they are usually able to understand their challenges and identify their discomfort signs. 

Their symptoms give them a lot of anguish and discontent, and they are quite concerned about their problems. This is frequently the case with those who suffer from personality problems.

Some may not appear to be affected in the least by their personality disorder. 

However, one feature of personality disorders is that some persons with personality disorders will have regular challenges in their relationships, as well as difficulties at work or school, but they will not believe that anything is wrong.

To put it another way, their personality qualities do not appear to be bothering them, but they are bothering everyone around them.

When this is the case, other people in their life are generally the first to discover that the individual is tough to get along with and relate to. Such folks frequently appear blissfully ignorant of any issues. 

Others, on the other hand, are well aware that they have a tough time adapting to everyday circumstances and frequently appear to drive straight into storms.

Lack of awareness. 

This lack of awareness can be attributed to a number of factors. To begin with, a person may just be unaware of the situation. They may be unaware that there is another, better way of thinking, feeling, or doing, therefore they have nothing to compare their way of life to.

Consider that unless you also had light, you would not be aware of this if you lived in full darkness. Let’s look at an example that is more clinical: Assume you’ve only ever been in relationships where you’ve been mistreated and treated badly.

You haven’t had the opportunity to be treated with love and respect as an alternative. In this instance, you just wouldn’t know that being treated nicely is desirable, so you accept abuse from others without hesitation. 

You’d have no idea what they were talking about if someone voiced surprise or horror at the way you “enable” other people to abuse you. 

You couldn’t take their advice since you didn’t have any other experience to compare it to. As a result, you will look unconcerned or uninformed of any issues to others.

Similarly, someone who grew raised with bad role models may not know how to act in a different way. If a young girl only ever heard her parents yell and scream to get what they wanted, she would have no idea that people can also ask politely and respectfully for what they want. 

As a result, she would lack these crucial abilities as she grew older and would not know how to act differently. 

As a result, any further feedback she receives regarding her nasty manner of acquiring what she wants will be regarded with a bewildered expression. She simply doesn’t see how she can obtain what she wants without throwing a fit.

Inability to admit responsibility.

Another explanation for this seeming absence of suffering is that admitting to themselves and others that they are at least partially responsible for some of the issues they face may be too unpleasant, overwhelming, or embarrassing for some people. 

As a result, they retreat to the belief that the issues they are experiencing are the fault of others. This is a more comfortable and less uncomfortable position to take, although it isn’t really beneficial.

Let’s take a look at some of the frequent patterns seen in personality disorders to better demonstrate these points. Consider the situation of someone who has no friends. They have no desire for friends and derive no pleasure or delight from being among others. 

As a result, they perceive no problem with it and are bothered about their lack of companionship because having no friends causes them no emotional anguish. 

Others, on the other hand, perceive them as distant, unusual, and peculiar. This would make it difficult for them to develop great relationships with coworkers or family members. This individual may have never had nice, enjoyable relationships with others.

As a result, they are unaware that friendships may be beneficial and fun. They may not have had intimate connections as role models, so they are oblivious of what they are losing out on. 

They will also lack essential social skills that are required to create comfortable and pleasurable connections with others as a result of this. Their lack of social skills further adds to their oddness. 

Any attempt to develop friendships is unpleasant and uncomfortable due to this lack of social skills. As a result, you develop a social discomfort and isolation personality type.

Someone who has formed a pattern of behavioural extremes is another example. For example, once they feel marginalised by a friend, they shut that buddy out of their lives totally, vowing never to talk to them again. 

Because this full breakup of the relationship is less upsetting to them than the alternative (openly sharing their hurt feelings), they may not perceive anything wrong with their reaction.

There are a number of reasons for this incapacity to respond in a more relaxed and compassionate manner. It’s possible that a person lacks the interpersonal skills necessary to deal with disagreement constructively. 

It may be challenging to express yourself confidently and effectively if you lack certain abilities. They may also be too disturbed to think rationally about what has occurred. 

It’s possible that they won’t be able to “mentalize.” As a result, they are unable to sympathise with their companion. 

Furthermore, they find it difficult to evaluate the numerous causes of their friend’s neglect, some of which may have nothing to do with them. It could also be too humiliating for them to consider their own role in the trouble they’re experiencing with their friend.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Do people know they have a personality disorder?” and reviewed the various aspects of personality disorders and people’s views towards them to help determine if people know they have a personality disorder. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Personality Disorders. Cleveland Clinic. (2018, February 2). Retrieved from  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9636-personality-disorders-overview#:~:text=Unlike%20people%20with%20anxiety%20disorders,they%20have%20anything%20to%20control.

Why Don’t People Know They Have a Personality Disorder? MentalHelp.net. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.mentalhelp.net/personality-disorders/why-dont-people-know-they-have-one/

Personality disorders. Rethink Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-conditions/personality-disorders/

Skodol, A. Expert Q & A: Personality Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/personality-disorders/expert-q-and-a

Purcell, S. Spotting the signs of a personality disorder. (2019, June 3). Retrieved from  https://patient.info/news-and-features/spotting-the-signs-of-a-personality-disorder

Mayo Clinic Staff. Personality disorders. (2016, September 23). Retrieved from  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463

Gladwell, H. 7 Things People with Borderline Personality Disorder Want You to Know. (2019, July 30). Retrieved from  https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/things-to-know-borderline

Carey, E. Personality Disorder. (2021, July 26). Retrieved from  https://www.healthline.com/health/personality-disorders

Bhandari, S. Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). (2022, January 22). Retrieved from  https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

Personality Disorders. Medline Plus. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://medlineplus.gov/personalitydisorders.html

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