Personality Patterns

Personality Patterns/Disorders (DSM IV)

Personality traits:

well ingrained ways in which people experience, interact with, and think about everything that goes on around them.

Generally Personality patterns/disorders are present since early adult life. All people have components of these patterns but are not considered disorders until they accentuate to the point of impairing one’s normal life functioning, or cause distress. There are 10 disorders divided into 3 clusters. 301.84 Passive-Aggressive pattern/disorder has been removed since DSM III and put into an appendix to await further study.


Cluster A (odd cluster)

People with cluster A personality patterns/disorders can be described as withdrawn, cold, suspicious, or irrational. 301.00

Paranoid: suspicious and quick to take offense. They often have few confidants and may read hidden meaning into innocent remarks. 301.20

Schizoid: care little for social relationships, have a restricted emotional range, and seem indifferent to criticism or praise. Tending to be solitary, they avoid close (including sexual) relationships. 301.22

Schizotypal: interpersonal relationships are so difficult for these people that they appear peculiar or strange to others.

They lack close friends and are uncomfortable in social situations. They may show suspiciousness, unusual perceptions or thinking, eccentric speech, and inappropriate affect.


Cluster B (dramatic cluster)People with cluster B patterns/disorders tend to be dramatic, emotional, and attention-seeking. Their moods change rapidly (mood swings) and are often shallow. They often have intense interpersonal conflicts. 301.70

Antisocial: irresponsible, often criminal behavior of these people begins in childhood or early adolescence with truancy, running away, cruelty, fighting, destructiveness, lying, and theft. In addition to criminal behavior, as adults they may default on debts, or otherwise show irresponsibility, act recklessly or impulsively, and show no remorse for their behavior. 301.83

Borderline: impulsive, make recurrent suicide threats or attempts. Affectively unstable, they often show intense, inappropriate anger. They feel empty or bored and they frantically try to avoid abandonment. They are uncertain about who they are, and lack the ability to maintain stable interpersonal relationships. 301.50

Histrionic: overly emotional, vague, and attention-seeking. Need constant reassurance about their attractiveness. They may be self-centered and sexually seductive. 301.81

Narcissistic: self important and often preoccupied with envy, fantasies of success, or ruminations about the uniqueness of their own problems. Their sense of entitlement and lack of empathy may cause them to take advantage of others. They vigorously reject criticism, and need constant attention and admiration.


Cluster C (anxious cluster)

People with cluster C patterns/disorders tend to be anxious and tense, and are often over-controlled.

Avoidant: these timid people are so easily wounded by criticism that they hesitate to become involved with others. They may fear the embarrassment of showing emotion or of saying things that seem foolish. They may have no close friends, and they exaggerate the risks of undertaking pursuits outside their usual routines.

Dependant: need the approval of others so much that they have trouble making independent decisions or starting projects. They may even agree with others whom they know to be wrong. they fear abandonment, feel helpless when they are alone, and are miserable when relationships end. They are easily hurt by criticism and will even volunteer for unpleasant tasks to gain the favor of others.


Compulsive: perfectionism and rigidity. They are often workaholics and tend to be indecisive, excessively scrupulous, and preoccupied with detail.

They insist that others do things their way. They have trouble expressing affection, tend to lack generosity, and may even resist throwing away worthless objects they no longer need.

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