Yes, you should to look at who you attract, but more so which behaviors you are attracted to and why.
Are You Dating a Narcissist?!?!
Does Your Ex Have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)?!?!
Everyone Thinks Their Ex is a Sociopath — How Can You Be Sure?!?!
Any of these screaming headlines sound familiar?
The popularity of these buzz-words has been climbing steadily for a good while now, and not without reason. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Anti-Social Personality Disorder are truly harrowing mental health conditions. That is exactly the problem though. These labels are the names of serious diagnoses of mental illness and should not be assigned liberally and without merit by anyone who is not trained, skilled and licensed to do so.
Contrary to the myths developing in relationship advice columns, people with personality disorders are not evil. They have a mental illness. They are not willfully behaving badly. They are behaving the way their brain tells them to.
According to the DSM-V, “Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating markedly from those accepted by the individual’s culture. These patterns develop early, are inflexible, and are associated with significant distress or disability.”Don’t like ads? Become a supporter and enjoy The Good Men Project ad free
These disorders are so difficult to define, describe and properly identify that a search for them on the website for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) only says “Will add description later.”
So how can you know if the person you are dating or divorcing has a personality disorder or if they are just a real jerk?
The answer is…..
It doesn’t matter.
If someone is hurting you physically or manipulating you emotionally, you must stop allowing them to do so. It doesn’t matter if the reason for their behavior is that they have a personality disorder, their mom was mean to them, or you look like the kid who bullied them in middle school.
People can be dangerous even if they are not “evil.” No matter how much empathy you feel for their own struggles, you do not deserve to be mistreated or abused.
Once you have been through a relationship with an emotional manipulator, if you do the admittedly hard work of reflecting back on the behaviors they displayed at the beginning that were indicators of the need for an end, you will see a few or many of the following flags were present.
- An intense, sometimes urgent, courting period.
- Pressure to commit to an exclusive relationship before you knew each other well or felt totally comfortable doing so.
- Tendencies toward jealousy, explained away with overflowing compliments about how desirable you are, or statements about how “you just don’t get how guys/girls really are.”
- Subtle put-downs, often disguised as friendly advice or constructive criticism.
- Dismissive responses to your feelings and your accomplishments.
- Qualified apologies for bad behavior.
- Your gut tells you that something is off.
Remember that just because you thought you liked someone, accepted a date with them, paid for a few of their meals, had sex with them, told them you love them or anything else, you are never under any obligation to continue to see someone who makes you feel bad or uncomfortable in any way. No one knows better for you than yourself, and if someone is trying to tell you that you are wrong about how you think you feel run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.
Already been through a relationship with an emotional manipulator and wondering how you will ever trust yourself again? Click here to find out how you can: How to Rebuild Self-Esteem After Divorcing a Manipulator.
Photo credit: Flickr/tBACDi