Posted in Adultification, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Empath, Enabler, Machiavellianism, Oedipus Complex, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS, Sociopath

Boundaries and Dysfunctional Family Systems

A boundary is a barrier; something that separates two things. Walls, fences and cell membranes are examples of physical boundaries. Psychological boundaries can be said to exist too, even though such boundaries have no physical reality. Psychological boundaries are constructed of ideas, perceptions, beliefs and understandings that enable people to define not only their social group memberships, but also their own self-concepts and identities. Such boundaries are the basis by which people distinguish between “We” or “I” (group members; insiders; part of “Us”) and “Other” (outsiders and examples of what is “not-self”). Each person can be said to have a psychological identity boundary around themselves by which they distinguish themselves from other people. Like other boundaries, this identity boundary both separates people and also defines how they are linked together. This is to say that the act of drawing the boundary itself provides the basis for saying that one person is separate from another psychologically, but does so only by drawing a distinction between those two people, which implies a relationship, never the less. Self cannot exist without also “Not-self” existing, just as figure cannot exist without ground against which to contrast. Identity necessarily includes social relationships which are built into the self to varying degrees.

Posted in Adultification, Alienation, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, Malignant Narcissism, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), Oedipus Complex, Pathological Lying, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS, Sociopath

Anger: An emotional driver of revenge

Aggression often occurs in response to some frustration (Berkowitz, 1989). However, aggressive revenge, more specifically, is thought to be driven by negative affects such as anger in response to some transgression (Harmon‐Jones & Sigelman, 2001). Anger is experienced as an unpleasant emotional state often associated with the approach motivational system (Harmon‐Jones, 2004; Harmon‐Jones, Schmeichel, Mennitt, & Harmon‐Jones, 2011; Threadgill & Gable, 2019a). Approach motivation, or the impetus to move toward some goal or object, is a fundamental dimension of affective states (Gable, Neal, & Threadgill, 2018; Gable, Threadgill, & Adams, 2016; Harmon‐Jones, Harmon‐Jones, & Price, 2013; Pizzagalli, Sherwood, Henriques, & Davidson, 2005; Ridderinkhof, 2017; Threadgill & Gable, 2018a2019b). Much research has associated anger with approach motivation (for review, see Carver & Harmon‐Jones, 2009). For example, anger is associated with approach‐motivated urges (Dollard, Miller, Doob, Mowrer, & Sears, 1939; Harmon‐Jones, Price, Peterson, Gable, & Harmon‐Jones, 2013), approach‐oriented patterns of physiological responses (Jameison, Koslov, Nock, & Mendes, 2012) and relates to more approach‐motivated traits such as self‐assurance, strength, and bravery (Izard, 1991; Lerner & Keltner, 2001). Moreover, neural regions associated with approach motivation are activated during situational anger (see Gable & Poole, 2014; Gable, Poole, & Harmon‐Jones, 2015; Harmon‐Jones & Gable, 2018, for a review).

Past work has suggested that retaliatory aggression can be approach‐motivated. Harmon‐Jones and Sigelman (2001) found that, after an insult, participants who had greater left frontal alpha asymmetry, a neural correlate of approach motivation, engaged in more aggressive behavior. In contrast, participants who were led to believe that they could not act on their anger by taking actions to resolve an anger‐inducing event showed less left frontal alpha asymmetry than those who did expect to be able to resolve an anger‐inducing event (Harmon‐Jones, Sigelman, Bohlig, & Harmon‐Jones, 2003), suggesting that the ability to rectify an angering‐situation is approach‐motivating.

Other work has shown that participants rate aggressive responses after being provoked as more pleasurable than unjustified aggression (Ramirez, Bonniot‐Cabanac, & Cabanac, 2005). Chester et al. (2016) found that greater sensation‐seeking mediated the relationship between dopamine receptor gene polymorphisms (which is associated with reward seeking behaviors) and previous history of aggression. Additionally, retaliatory behaviors are associated with activity in the ventral striatum, a key component of the reward system in the brain (Chester & DeWall, 2018). Together, this work suggests that approach‐motivated anger is related to both aggressive behaviors and the experience of positive emotions, such as pleasure after aggression.

Based on this past work, an important next step in understanding revenge is to examine how anger impacts the experience of winning the opportunity for revenge. It seems likely that simply winning the opportunity for revenge may elicit emotional responses similar to the pleasant feelings elicited by partaking in revengeful behaviors. No past work has examined how anger impacts the rapid neural reactions to winning the opportunity to partake in revenge‐seeking behaviors. Therefore, we conducted two studies in which participants were made angry by an ostensible aggressor. Participants then engaged in a novel aggression paradigm where, on some trials, they were able to seek revenge against the offending individual, while, on other trials, participants simply beat their opponent in a reaction time game. The present studies sought to shed light on transitory reactions to winning the opportunity to seek revenge against a transgressor. To examine these momentary reactions to winning the ability to get revenge toward an angering situation, we examined the reward positivity (RewP), an ERP component that evaluates outcomes as either positive or negative.

Posted in Adultification, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Empath, Enabler, Machiavellianism, Oedipus Complex, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

Types of Personality Disorders

DSM-5 groups the 10 types of personality disorders into 3 clusters (A, B, and C), based on similar characteristics. However, the clinical usefulness of these clusters has not been established.

Cluster A is characterized by appearing odd or eccentric. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

Overview of Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster B is characterized by appearing dramatic, emotional, or erratic. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

  • Antisocial: Social irresponsibility, disregard for others, deceitfulness, and manipulation of others for personal gain

  • Borderline: Intolerance of being alone and emotional dysregulation

  • Histrionic: Attention seeking

  • Narcissistic: Underlying dysregulated, fragile self-esteem and overt grandiosity

Overview of Cluster B Personality Disorders

Cluster C is characterized by appearing anxious or fearful. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

  • Avoidant: Avoidance of interpersonal contact due to rejection sensitivity

  • Dependent: Submissiveness and a need to be taken care of

  • Obsessive-compulsive: Perfectionism, rigidity, and obstinacy

Overview of Cluster C Personality Disorders

Symptoms and Signs

According to DSM-5, personality disorders are primarily problems with

  • Self-identity

  • Interpersonal functioning

Self-identity problems may manifest as an unstable self-image (eg, people fluctuate between seeing themselves as kind or cruel) or as inconsistencies in values, goals, and appearance (eg, people are deeply religious while in church but profane and disrespectful elsewhere).

Interpersonal functioning problems typically manifest as failing to develop or sustain close relationships and/or being insensitive to others (eg, unable to empathize).

People with personality disorders often seem inconsistent, confusing, and frustrating to people around them (including clinicians). These people may have difficulty knowing the boundaries between themselves and others. Their self-esteem may be inappropriately high or low. They may have inconsistent, detached, overemotional, abusive, or irresponsible styles of parenting, which can lead to physical and mental problems in their spouse or children.

People with personality disorders may not recognize that they have problems.

Continue reading “Types of Personality Disorders”

Posted in Adultification, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Empath, Enabler, Machiavellianism, Oedipus Complex, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS, Sociopath

Diagnostic Taxonomy / 15 Personality Spectra

The Millon Fifteen Personality Styles/Disorders and Subtypes

The following lists the most recent and complete of the 15 normal and abnormal personalities derived from the Millon Evolutionary Theory. Each includes first the normal prototype or personality style (e.g., retiring), and second, the abnormal prototype or personality disorder (e.g., schizoid).

Continue reading “Diagnostic Taxonomy / 15 Personality Spectra”

Posted in Adultification, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Empath, Enabler, Machiavellianism, Oedipus Complex, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS, Sociopath

Personality Disorders in Modern Life, 2nd Edition

Abnormal Behavior and Personality 3

Early Perspectives on the Personality Disorders 14

The Biological Perspective 17

The Psychodynamic Perspective 22

Summary 35


The Interpersonal Perspective 39

The Cognitive Perspective 48

Trait and Factorial Perspectives 54

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 57

Summary 72


On the Interactive Nature of Developmental Pathogenesis 77

Pathogenic Biological Factors 78

Pathogenic Experiential History 88

Sources of Pathogenic Learning 90

Continuity of Early Learnings 101

Sociocultural Influences 112

Summary 116


The Assessment of Personality 118

Psychotherapy of the Personality Disorders 134

Summary 147


From Normality to Abnormality 155

Variations of the Antisocial Personality 158

Early Historical Forerunners 161

The Biological Perspective 162

The Psychodynamic Perspective 166

The Interpersonal Perspective 168

The Cognitive Perspective 172

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 175

Therapy 182

Summary 184


From Normality to Abnormality 191

Variations of the Avoidant Personality 193

Early Historical Forerunners 198

The Biological Perspective 198

The Psychodynamic Perspective 201

The Interpersonal Perspective 203

The Cognitive Perspective 206

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 210

Therapy 217

Summary 220


From Normality to Abnormality 227

Variations of the Compulsive Personality 229

Early Historical Forerunners 235

The Psychodynamic Perspective 236

The Interpersonal Perspective 240

The Cognitive Perspective 244

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 247

Therapy 255

Summary 257


From Normality to Abnormality 263

Variations of the Dependent Personality 265

Early Historical Forerunners 268

The Psychodynamic Perspective 270

The Interpersonal Perspective 273

The Cognitive Perspective 275

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 278

Therapy 284

Summary 289


From Normality to Abnormality 295

Variations of the Histrionic Personality 297

Early Historical Forerunners 301

The Biological Perspective 302

The Psychodynamic Perspective 304

The Interpersonal Perspective 311

The Cognitive Perspective 315

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 318

Therapy 324

Summary 327


From Normality to Abnormality 333

Variations of the Narcissistic Personality 337

Early Historical Forerunners 342

The Biological Perspective 343

The Psychodynamic Perspective 343

The Interpersonal Perspective 349

The Cognitive Perspective 355

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 358

Therapy 366

Summary 369


From Normality to Abnormality 376

Variations of the Schizoid Personality 377

The Biological Perspective 380

The Psychodynamic Perspective 383

The Interpersonal Perspective 386

The Cognitive Perspective 390

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 392

Therapy 398

Summary 401


From Normality to Abnormality 408

Variations of the Schizotypal Personality 409

Early Historical Forerunners 412

The Biological Perspective 414

The Psychodynamic Perspective 416

The Interpersonal Perspective 419

The Cognitive Perspective 423

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 425

Therapy 430

Summary 433


From Normality to Abnormality 439

Variations of the Paranoid Personality 442

Early Historical Forerunners 445

The Biological Perspective 448

The Psychodynamic Perspective 449

The Interpersonal Perspective 455

The Cognitive Perspective 458

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 463

Therapy 471

Summary 475


From Normality to Abnormality 481

Variations of the Borderline Personality 482

The Biological Perspective 488

The Psychodynamic Perspective 490

The Interpersonal Perspective 495

The Cognitive Perspective 502

The Evolutionary-Neurodevelopmental Perspective 505

Therapy 511

Summary 516


The Self-Defeating (Masochistic) Personality 520

The Sadistic Personality 530

The Depressive Personality 539

The Negativistic (Passive-Aggressive) Personality 548


Continue reading “Personality Disorders in Modern Life, 2nd Edition”

Posted in Alienation, Oedipus Complex

How do narcissists react to criticism?

The narcissist is forever trapped in the unresolved conflicts of his childhood (including the famous Oedipus Complex). This compels him to seek resolution by re-enacting these conflicts with significant others. But he is likely to return to the Primary Objects in his life (parents, authority figures, role models, or caregivers) to do either of two:

  1. To “re-charge” the conflict “battery”, or
  2. When unable to re-enact the conflict with another.

The narcissist relates to his human environment through his unresolved conflicts. It is the energy of the tension thus created that sustains him.

The narcissist is a person driven by parlously imminent eruptions, by the unsettling prospect of losing his precarious balance. Being a narcissist is a tightrope act. The narcissist must remain alert and on-edge. Only in a constant state of active conflict does he attain the requisite levels of mental arousal. Continue reading “How do narcissists react to criticism?”