The term ‘personality disorder’ can sound very judgemental. Your personality is the core of your self, and to be told it is ‘disordered’ can be very upsetting and undermining. However, we all have traits of some personality disorder, but it is when these traits interfere with our daily functioning and relationships to a significant extent that we might be suffering from a personality disorder.
Diagnostically a personality disorder is described as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates substantially from the norms of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in early adulthood and leads to significant distress or impairment. Many of these patterns of behaviour are related to negative early childhood experiences. These experiences cause patterns of distorted thinking and beliefs that may have been understandable in childhood, but do not work in adult life. The goal of therapy is to explore these distortions, understand how they arose, and find effective ways to overcome their influence on your thinking and behaviour. Different types of psychological therapies have been shown to help people with personality disorders. However, there is no single approach that suits everyone and treatment should be tailored to the individual.