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Personality Disorders

There are many destructive myths about personality disorders and the people who suffer from them. At the heart of personality disorders lie difficulties in emotional processing, self-image, and interpersonal attachment. Feelings can be so overwhelming and intense that they physically hurt, and can be activated by small, sometimes trivial-seeming, triggers. This can lead to extreme behaviours, such as emotional outbursts, sudden onset of rage, lack of empathy, delusions of grandeur, overly seductive behaviours, or threats of self-harm and suicide. Such behaviours are typically not deliberately attention-seeking or manipulative, but rather a result of an intensely chaotic inner world at the time. Quite often, triggers are more present with loved ones, which can result in unstable intense romantic relationships. 

Some symptoms of personality disorders include:

  • sudden extreme distress or rage, for example when a loved one withdraws 

  • quickly changing emotions

  • overly seductive or intimate behaviours

  • a chronic sense of emptiness

  • uncertainty around sense of self

  • constant fear of abandonment

  • engaging in extreme behaviours when in an emotionally triggered state, which afterward seems completely different to usual self or values

  • inflated sense of self

  • fixation on success, control, power, or appearance

  • desire for admiration or attention

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Histrionic Personality Disorder

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Emotion Regulation

  • Attachment & Intimacy

  • Safety 

  • Anger

Standard Session - 50 minutes ​

Psychotherapy can be highly effective for personality disorders, helping individuals to build tolerance for intense distress, explore some persistent negative thoughts and fears, solve past traumas, and replace dysfunctional coping behaviours with healthier resilience strategies. Just like with any other mental health disorder, individuals struggling with personality disorders can heal and lead fulfilling lives. It is crucial to combat stigma around personality disorders to ensure more people get the help they need. 

Check out some of Dr. Terrighena's blogposts on mental health below...

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