3 Personality Disorders That Wreak Havoc On Relationships
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By Meghan, Guest Author - May 12, 2016

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There is no doubt that chronic personality problems wreak havoc on relationships. However, it is also important to recognize some of the aspects of our own personalities that may be a large part of the problem in the relationship.


If people who are in problem relationships want to avoid future problem relationships, they have to understand what personality disorders are and identify signs of the behavior.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. Borderline Personality Disorder is a disorder that is often prompted by and occurs in the context of relationships, it can wreak havoc not only on those with the disorder but on their loved ones as well.

Most people who have Borderline Personality Disorder suffer from:

  • Problems with regulating emotions and thoughts
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior
  • Unstable relationships with other people

Spouses with borderline personality disorder are among the angriest,  regularly manifesting great difficulty in the control of their hostile feelings and impulses.  Many enjoy striking out in anger at innocent people, including spouses and relatives. Many spouses with Borderline Personality Disorder enjoy their ability to influence and control others with their anger and therefore are often reluctant to deal with this emotion in a healthier manner. Believe it or not, fear of abandonment is one of the most striking hallmarks in someone with borderline personality disorder.

2. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Despite their bravado, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder require a lot of admiration from other people in order to bolster their own fragile self-esteem. They can be quite manipulative in extracting the necessary attention from those people around them.

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as:

  • Relationships
  • Work
  • School
  • Financial affairs

Spouses with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they are not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. Spouses with narcissistic personality disorder can be extremely disruptive to marital and family life.  They are reluctant to change their insensitive, self-centered, and manipulative behaviors. Lack of empathy is one of the most striking features of people with narcissistic personality disorder. It's a hallmark of the disorder in the same way that fear of abandonment is in borderline personality disorder. 

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) characterized by a long-standing pattern of feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to what other people think about them, and social inhibition. Their way of thinking about and interpreting the world revolves around the thought that they are not good enough and others don't like them. They think of themselves as unappealing and socially inept. These types of thoughts create feelings of intense anxiety in social situations, along with a fear of being ridiculed, criticized, and rejected.

Spouses with Avoidant Personality Disorder find it very difficult to develop healthy relationships with boundaries. They also find it difficult to trust or express their deepest feelings for fear of abandonment, rejection, or loss. Avoidant personalities often draw near to people they love or care about, and later pull away out of fear.

There is no doubt that chronic personality problems wreak havoc on relationships. However, it is also important to recognize some of the aspects of our own personalities that may be a large part of the problem in the relationship.

If you care about someone with a personality disorder, keep this in mind:

To Help Your Relationship, You Must Help Yourself First. Your physical and emotional health, and the health of your relationship, partly depends upon your willingness to look after your own needs, such as taking time away, setting limits with love, and having a hearty life of your own separate from your relationship.

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