Three Main Personality Disorders Groups/Clusters
There are quite a few different types of personality disorders and all of them fall into three different main groups or clusters. Here we will discuss the three different groups or clusters and the types of personality disorders and the types that fall into these groups.
Introduction to Personality Disorders
There are four core features or traits that are common to all personality disorders and they include:
- Patterns of distorted thinking.
- Emotional responses that are problematic.
- Problems with impulse control.
- Difficulties with interpersonal relations.
Before any professional can make a diagnosis can be made, a patient needs to demonstrate enduring and significant difficulties in at least two of the four features. When it comes to children, personality disorders are usually not diagnosed because the requirements of these disorders represent problems that happen over time.
For a person to be properly diagnosed with a personality disorder they will also need to meet the minimum number of criteria that is established for different disorders. Plus the symptoms are ones that must cause some kind of functional impairment along with subjective distress.
The Three Groups or Clusters
he different personality disorders are grouped into three different groups or clusters that are based on similarities that are within each of these groups. These groups are:
- Group/Cluster A – Odd or eccentric.
- Group/Cluster B – Erratic, dramatic, emotional.
- Group/Cluster C – Fearful, anxious.
Often a patient can actually be diagnoses with more than one type of personality disorder. Researchers have shown there seems to be a tendency for these disorders within the same group/cluster to happen.
he types of personality disorders found in this group are paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders. This group/cluster is called the eccentric, odd group/cluster. It’s a group that includes Schizotypal Personality Disorders, Schizoid Personality Disorder, and Paranoid Personality Disorder. The most common traits of these disorders in this group/cluster include social withdrawal and social awkwardness. They are also dominated often by distorted thinking.
A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder often distrust or are suspicious of others. They also can experience any of the following:
- They might assume that other people are out to get them, harm, them, humiliate them, or take advantage of them somehow.
- Often will put a lot of effort into trying to protect themselves from others and being distant with others.
- Will attack other people who they feel they are threatened by.
- They often hold grudges, dsplay pathological jealously, and can be litigious.
- There is evidence of distorted thinking. Perception of their environment might include seeing malevolent intentions when the intentions of others are genuinely harmless. They also read more into comments or behaviors of others. They tend to dwell on past slights as well.
- They tend to be dominated by hostility and distrust toward others.
Schizoid Personality Disorder tends show patterns of social detachment and they also have a restricted range of emotions and how to express them. Because of this, those with this disorder are often socially isolated and don’t seem to enjoy any kind of close relationship. They often show the following symptoms:
- Almost always activities that are solitary and don’t seem to have much pleasure in life.
- They tend to be loners and prefer abstract and mechanical activities that don’t involve much human contact and they seem to be indifferent to praise and criticism.
- They tend to be cold, detached, and aloof emotionally.
- Often tend to be oblivious to any social nuance or social cues that causes them to seem they are socially superficial and inept.
- Have restricted emotional range and fail to reciprocate with facial expressions or gestures like smiling or nodding in agreement. This makes them seem rather bland, inattentive, or dull.
People with Schizotypal Personality Disorder tend to have a pervasive pattern of interpersonal and social limits. They tend to suffer from acute discomfort when in social settings and have a low capacity for relationships that are close. Because of this they are often distant, reserved, and socially isolated.
Alsoexperience cognitive and perceptual distortions or eccentric behaviors. These abnormalities in their perception might include seeing objects or flashes of light no one else can see, or seeing shadows out of the corner of their eyes and then they realize nothing is really there.
- They tend to have some strange or odd beliefs, for example, they might believe that they can read others thoughts, or they think others have stolen their thoughts right out of their heads. Most of their fantasies and beliefs are quite inconsistent with their cultural norms.
- These people are often found frequently in families where others have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia which is a severe mental disorder that features psychosis.
This particular group/cluster is called erratic, emotional, and dramatic and includes the following personality disorders:
The disorders in this group/cluster share problems such as emotional regulation and impulse control.
Antisocial Personality Disorder usually has pervasive patterns of deceit, manipulation and disregard for the rights of other people. In a lot of the cases there will be hostile-aggressive and deceitful behavior that can even appear during their childhood.
- As children they might torment or hurt people and/or animals.
- Might engage in hostile behavior by bullying and/or intimidating other people.
- Might have reckless disregard for others property.
- Often will engage in theft, deceipt and other various serious violations of society’s standard rules of conduct.
Along with any reckless disregard for other people, they will often put themselves into risky or dangerous situations. They will often act on their impulsive urges and not consider the consequences. Their difficulty with controlling impulses can result in accidents, legal problems, loss of employment, and even incarceration.
Those suffering from this disorder usually don’t experience any genuine remorse for any harm they might cause others. But, they can be quite adept at faking remorse when it serves their best interest.
They rarely take responsibility for the things they do and often times will blame the victim for making them take the wrong action, or that the victim deserved what they got.
Those suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder often show a pattern of seeking attention and are excessively emotional. Their lives tend to be filled with drama, often leading to them being considered as “drama queens”. They tend to be uncomfortable in any situation where they’re not the focus of attention.
People who suffer from this disorder will often be very flirtatious or even seductive. They prefer to dress in a fashion that also will draw a lot of attention to themselves.
- They tend to be quite flamboyant as well as theatrical and exhibit exaggerated degrees of emotional expression.
- Even though highly emotional, at the same time their emotions seem to be shallow, vague, and even lacking in detail. This makes them look like they are insincere or disingenuous.
- Their exaggerated and dramatic emotional expressions will often tend to embarrass their family, acquaintances, and friends.
Those with this disorder will often seem like they are fickle and flighty. Their behavior style will often get in the way of real intimate relations.
When they aren’t the center of attention they will end up feeling depressed. When they’re in some sort of relationsp they will often believe that the relationship is more intimate than it really is. They also tend to be easily influenced by others opinions or suggestions.
Those who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder have issues with sens of self-worth that stems from a very powerful sense of their own entitlement. This then leads them to believing that they deserve special treatment and they assume that they have special powers, think they are very talented, or that they are super attractive or extremely brilliant. This sense of their own entitlement often will lead them to act in a manner that disregards and disrespects the worth of other people.
- They tend to be preoccupied with a fantasy of having unlimited power and success. They can become so overwhelmed with this that they might end up getting lost in daydreams when fantasizing about their extreme beauty or superior intelligence.
- They often get caught up in these fantasies they won’t put any effort into their actual daily lives and they don’t direct their energy toward acutally accomplishing their personal goals.
- They quite often believe they are very special and that they deserve special treatment over others and have an attitude that is haughty and arrogant. They can also create a lot of conflict with others who dislike being treated in a very condescending fashion.
- People suffering from this disorder will feel devastated when they suddenly realize they are just normal and have average human limitations and they simply aren’t as special as they thought they were. Often when they realize this, they will have feelings of shame or intense anger and they will then take it out on others around them.
- They have a need to be very powerful as well as admired that is coupled with a total lack of empathy for other people. This makes for relationships that are filled with conflict and these relationships can often be very superficial and lacking in any real intimacy or caring.
People who suffer these types of personality disorders find status to be very important and there is a need to associate with special and famous people because it provides them with a high sense of importance. They also tend to very quickly change from over-idealizing people to devaluing them.
They also suffer from self-judgments. They may move between from feeling as if they have an unlimited amount of abilities and then feeling worthless, deflated, and devastated when they face their average, normal human limitations. They require lots of admiration from others so that their fragile self-esteem can be bolstered.
One of the most widely studied disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder. Those suffering from this disorder will tend to experience unstable emotions and moods that are quite intense and they can shift quite fast. They often have a difficult time being able to calm down once they are upset. Because of this, they will often experience very angry outbursts and will also engage in behaviors that are impulsive such as risky sex, substance abuse, self-harm, binge eating, and overspending.
- They tend to see the world around them in all-or-nothing terms, over-simplified, and polarized.
- Will often apply their own harsh judgments to themselves along with others and they perceive others and themselves as “all bad” or “all good” and switch back and forth from the two.
- They often have a highly unstable sense of their self and find it difficult to be consistent.
- They will change jobs, life goals, relationships, or residences quite often.
People who suffer from this disorder seem to view the world in all-or-nothing or black-and-white thinking. This makes it easier for them to misinterpret the motivations and actions of other people.
- Their polarized thoughts about others and their relationships can lead them to experience extremely intense emotional reactions that make it difficult for them to regulate their intense emotions.
- They will experience high levels of distress that they can’t control easily and can lead them to engage in different self-destructive behaviors.
- Because of the intensity of their emotions and difficulty to regulate their emotions often leads them to impulsive actions.
This group contains personality disorders that tend to be fearful and/or anxious. This group includes Obsessive-Compulsive, Avoidant, and Dependent Personality Disorders. All of which have high levels of anxiety.
Avoidant Personality Disorder tends to have pervasive patterns of hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, social inhibition, and feelings of inadequacy. Those with this disorder tend to be intensely afraid that other people will ridicule them, criticize, or reject them. This can lead them to try and avoid most social situations and interaction with other people. Because of this it makes it difficult to develop their social skills. They also have a limited social world and a very small circle of people they can trust creating a very limited social life.
The way they think and interpret the world all revolves around their thinking that they’re not good enough and that other people don’t like them. They believe they are unattractive and inept socially. This kind of thinking can create feelings of extreme anxiety especially in social situations as well as the fear of they might be criticized, ridiculed, and rejected by others. This fearful anxiety is intense and the discomfort that comes with it can compel them to avoid all interpersonal relations. They tend to avoid social events and parties and find it difficult to give presentations like at work or speak out at meetings. Those around them may see them as shy or distant. They often come across as restricted and stiff and this can often interfere with their ability to move up professionally or to make friends.
Someone who suffers from Dependent Personality Disorder tend to have a strong need to be taken care of by others. The need to be taken care of comes along with a fear of losing the support of other people and this often will cause the sufferer to act in a “clingy” fashion, submit to desires of others so that they can avoid any kind of conflict. With their intense fear of losing someone tends to make them vulnerable to be abused and manipulated. They tend to find it hard to express any kind of disagreement or to even may their own independent decisions and they tend to be challenged to even start a task when there isn’t anyone else available to help them out with it. It is also very difficult for them to be alone and when a relationship ends they tend to immediately try to find another person for that support.
People who suffer from Obessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder tend to be preoccupied with regulations, rules, and orderliness. Their preoccupation with control and being perfect comes at the expense of efficiency, openness, and flexibility. They tend to be makers of schedules and lists of all kinds, and they will often be overly devoted to work so much so that they will often neglect all of their social relations. They tend to be perfectionists and are very driven in their work and must get it right and may become unable to actually complete their projects or a specific task because they often get lost in all of the details.
People who suffer from this disorder will often be rigid and inflexible in how they approach things. It’s not an option to do what they think is sub-standard work just to get it done. Quite often they will be unable to even delegate any tasks because they are afraid that other people won’t be able to get the task done right. Often they develop a miserly attitude with others and themselves. For example, to
It’s important to understand that anyone can actually show some of these types of traits from time to time in their lives. However, they must meet the diagnostic requirements of any one of these personality disorders and the traits they’re showing need to be inflexible which means they are repeatedly observed and has no regard to place, time, or circumstance. These traits also must be causing functional impairment with subjective distress. This means that these traits must be interfering with their ability to function well within society. Their symptoms must be causing problems with their relationships with others, work, home, or school. The subjective distress means that a person who really has any of these personality disorders feel their symptoms are unwanted, embarrassing, painful, or cause them extreme distress.