4 Questions About Addictive Personalities Answered

wine glass at the dinner table

Often, people ask me why I often avoid drinking alcohol, refuse to get an Apple Watch, or stray away from diets like the plague. I say it’s because I have “an addictive personality.” What I usually mean when I say this, is that I have a tendency to numb my feelings or get carried away with an activity to the point of compulsion — instead of regulating my nervous system in a more balanced, healthier way.

Let me explain. If I have a bad day at work or catch a wave of social anxiety at a group event, like a wedding, my first instinct is to make that feeling go away. What is one of the quickest ways to do that? Alcohol…which is why I have to be careful. More times than not, my desire to drink alcohol is directly tied to my desire to escape uncomfortable feelings. Red flag!

Similarly, I used to get so overwhelmed with making “healthy” food and lifestyle choices that I would go overboard on how much food restricted and how much I would exercise. It felt like an “all or nothing” game to me. Much like my relationship with alcohol, it was the motive behind restricting food and exercising a lot that became an issue. Continue reading 4 Questions About Addictive Personalities Answered

What is a Sociopath?

eye in broken glass

“What a sociopath!” one might exclaim to describe someone’s erratic, cruel, strange, or manipulative behavior. It’s not a term that should necessarily be thrown around loosely, yet many of us use it to describe someone who is off-putting, secretive, and doesn’t seem to be cognizant of other people’s feelings, or how their actions impact others. The term sociopath may also describe someone who seems dangerous or unhinged.

What you might not know, however, is that the term “sociopath” isn’t really a psychological term, at least not anymore. It’s more of a figure of speech, though it’s linked to a personality disorder that is recognized by psychologists. Continue reading What is a Sociopath?

Pathological Liars: Understanding Compulsive Lying

woman embracing male partner staring blankly toward camera

A pathological liar exhibits the chronic behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. While it’s common to tell an occasional white lie, pathological liars tell more than a random fib — oftentimes lying has become part of that person’s everyday life, and telling a lie feels more natural than telling the truth.

While there are a number of reasons people lie — to spare someone’s feelings or avoid difficult situations — pathological lying is usually a symptom of a greater problem. Continue reading Pathological Liars: Understanding Compulsive Lying

5 Ways Black and White Thinking Poisons Your Perspective

A man's silhouette behind a screen in black and white

I’m a terrible person.

My sister is so beautiful and I’m so ugly.

My boyfriend is the most attractive person I know and I’ll never be as into anyone else again.

We all think of the world in black and white terms at times. From refusing to see the flaws in our loved ones, to being overly hard on ourselves, the human brain’s tendency to understand the world in either/or terms has a profound effect on our relationships.

Continue reading 5 Ways Black and White Thinking Poisons Your Perspective

What is Schizoid Personality Disorder? Defining, Understanding, and Treating SPD

Woman with blank paper in front of face

Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is a condition largely marked by a lack of desire to form interpersonal relationships. Personality disorders like SPD differ from other mental health conditions in that they are thought to be deeply ingrained in the structures of a person’s psyche. It is this nature that makes them difficult, but not impossible, to treat.

The American Psychiatric Association notes that those with personality disorders have, “a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.” And it is precisely that disconnect from cultural expectations, and longevity, that make those living with personality disorders suffer disconnection from their peers, friends and family.

Continue reading What is Schizoid Personality Disorder? Defining, Understanding, and Treating SPD

What Is “Quiet” Borderline Personality Disorder?

Blurry red umbrella behind rainy window

Katie Reed, a blogger and mom of four from Salt Lake City, spent many years living with “quiet” borderline personality disorder before getting a proper diagnosis. Before that, she was misdiagnosed repeatedly — with bipolar disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and anxiety disorder — none of which ever felt “right.”

Continue reading What Is “Quiet” Borderline Personality Disorder?

6 Ways to Deal With Your Narcissistic Boss

female employee at desk frustrated with male boss standing behind her

Narcissism, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is almost as hard to deal with in the workplace as it is in family or intimate relationships. The most difficult situation is when your boss is a narcissist, because not only are you forced into close contact with your boss every day, but you are dependent on them for your income.

When your boss is unpredictable, self-centered, and easily upset, you might develop something akin to a PTSD response when you go into work each day. You are terrified of being insulted, shamed in front of coworkers, overlooked for opportunities, or even fired. Fortunately, though, there are ways to deal with your narcissistic boss that may allow you to survive and even thrive at work. Continue reading 6 Ways to Deal With Your Narcissistic Boss

4 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

mom dad arguing on couch sad daughter on floor

Co-parenting is never easy, but co-parenting with a narcissist is a whole different ballgame. Narcissists are self-centered and incapable of putting anyone’s needs ahead of their own — including the needs of their own kids! Narcissists love chaos, drama, and control. Truly personality-disordered narcissists keep you off balance by forcing you to ride a roller coaster of abuse and seduction.

Here are four strategies that will help you build your strength and reduce stress:

1. Manage Your Expectations

A narcissist will not change, so it’s critical that you remember that the chaos and drama he creates is not about you. In the relationship, did he make you feel like you were walking on eggshells, always second-guessing, never good enough? Putting others off balance is a narcissist’s secret weapon, and he won’t give that up no matter what. Don’t expect him to step up, become empathetic, or give up his desire for emotional control. Managing your expectations will make things easier. Knowing that he won’t change establishes the groundwork for the next strategy. Continue reading 4 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

Divorcing A Sociopath

phrenology head in profile

It’s been nearly four years since I left my ex-husband. When I think back to that time, I think about how naive I was, how foggy and confused. I had never heard of a personality disorder. I still believed that dangerous people would be easy to spot, that they came wielding chainsaws and screaming, “I’m a dangerous person!”

Sigh. There was so much I did not know.

Continue reading Divorcing A Sociopath

How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

black and white masks on stairs

Ben learns he is not allowed to take personal calls during business hours at his new job at a strict government agency. His supervisor gives him an emergency number so family members can reach him when absolutely necessary.

The news immediately fills him with dread. Ben’s daughter, Lisa, has borderline personality disorder. She calls him a few times a week, often while he’s at work. A supportive and understanding father, Ben was happy to chat with her at his old office where there were no limitations on phone calls.

Now he has to inform his daughter that their mid-week check ins will need to be less frequent and occur only in the evening. With noticeable reluctance, he provides the emergency number to Lisa.

Continue reading How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships