Living with a personality disorder is indescribably hard. The stigma attached to it causes those who suffer to feel ostracized, and many just dismiss them as "crazy". Once they're able to adjust to it, it makes life so much easier, and strengthens their confidence, mental health, and even relationships.
Accepting the diagnosis is the first step.
"I was recently diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder (I'm 28). I grew up with the massage that intimacy = surrendering all control to the other person, and I was never able to trust my parents or family members because I knew they were more concerned about themselves than me. As an adult I've always tended to lose myself in relationships, lose sight of my own wants and needs and form myself around the wants and needs of my friends and partners whilst feeling resentful for being unable to show the "real" me to anyone.
Currently I have no real friends because I find that it exhausting, and I have a boyfriend but I hate the way I absorb his values and opinions and I miss being in touch with my true self like when I'm single. I desperately want to have meaningful relationships in my life, but I can't escape the impulse to become subservient to whomever I allow close to me, and I end up resenting them as their identities take hold of me. I don't want to be alone, but alone is the only way I feel in control of myself.
I can't say I'm a "success story" because I only recently received this diagnosis and I still have a lot to work on, but at least I know what I'm dealing with now, and for me success will consist of learning how to actually share my true thoughts/feelings/opinions/ with people (which is really hard), how to end a relationship that doesn't suit me rather than suiting myself to my relationships, and learning to trust myself even when others disagree with me. I think I have a long road ahead."
BPD is a struggle.Giphy
"I've been with my boyfriend for 5+ years, and was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder about 2.5 years into our relationship.
Before my diagnosis, even though we got along amazingly, communicated well, and were generally happy; I would find myself throwing toddler-like tantrums at any perceived or imagined slight. I hated this about myself. I thought I was a bad person because I just couldn't control myself. My partner happens to be an amazing people reader. He seems to just naturally pick up on people's personality and intentions as easily as I notice hair colour. He was nothing but understanding. Even though we had little knowledge of mental health, we both knew something was "off," and he was a constant support as I sought out treatment.
I was diagnosed with BPD and given a therapist who specialized in PTSD in veterans. It turns out my "flair-ups" were somehow similar to a PTSD flashback. I was taught a bunch of techniques to use when I felt myself starting to flair out. It was also the first time I realised that my parents had been incredibly emotionally negligent, to the point where I hadn't actually learned to deal with emotions. What was accidentally taught instead was that if I am angry or sad, I am about to be yelled at.
It's taken 3 years, but I've found the right combo of meds, I'm not "cured," and I'm definitely not perfect. But I don't have "flair outs" anymore. Sure I sometimes raise my voice when I shouldn't, or get into a stupid argument with my boyfriend, but I'm working on myself every day and we're super solid, and super in love.
I'm actually typing this beside him aboard a ferry on our way to (what will hopefully be) our new life. In 3 hours I'll be doing the entrance exam for a college program that I'm really excited about, and afterwards we're checking out the shop he'll be managing in September. We have a cat and a dog together, we illustrated a book together, found a 20,000 year old fossil together, and forage together at least once a week."
Don't give up.
"I have schizoid personality disorder and it's really not that interesting. I was also diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia so those took priority. I didn't even realize I had it until I reread an old document years later. There's no real treatment for it but finding out helped me understand myself better. Also, if you get a mental evaluation done you should really get a professional to interpret it.
I haven't had much success but I haven't really tried either. After being diagnosed, I've accepted that someone would have to be damn near perfect for a relationship to feel worth it for me and that person might not exist. I'm alright with that for now."
The diagnosis is the first step.
"Literally ALL my relationships were a hot mess before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2017. I had been through 3 divorces, broken up with my daughter's father, and totally messed up a perfectly fine potential LTR with someone I really did like very much.
Meds, therapy, a DBT therapy app on my phone, and an awareness of what is "me" and what is "BPD" and I have so far managed to not make any horrific mistakes in my current relationship - he's amazing and I'm pretty motivated to spend the rest of my life with him.
What helps the most other than meds has been learning to self-soothe. I cannot stress that enough. If I feel afraid of being abandoned, I can't put that off on him other than maybe ask for a bit of extra reassurance. I had to learn to give myself positive self-talk and to learn and practice grounding and coping skills. He's there to support me and accept me, not fix me or be a punching bag for my insecurities."
Talk about a stigma.Giphy
"Diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder a good while ago. It hasn't prevented me from having good relationships with people; I'm fairly charismatic and likable. I realize saying that is a bit... on the nose... but genuinely, I don't believe that it has ever been the reason for any of my relationships ending.
At my therapists' behest, I do make sure to tell anyone that I get in a serious relationship with that, yes, I've been diagnosed and these are some behaviors that you should watch for. I'm manipulative, and it's hard not to be. You figure out how people are going to react to things in the course of normal interaction, and once you know that, how do you not press the buttons that get the reactions you want?
Sometimes it can be a hurdle, having a partner watching for manipulative behavior even when there isn't any, and I really have to try to understand my partner's emotions, but aside from that, I've had plenty of good relationships since being diagnosed."
That's what a supportive partner looks like.
"I was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy) about a year and a half ago. it was... rough.
I was scared, but everyone around me was scared too. Of me. The few people I had actually been able to make bonds with were scared of me. Hell, my own parents were scared to even talk to me.
My wife, though, she wasn't scared. She was a bit startled, of course, but she wasn't scared. I asked if she was, and she told me that she's known me for so long, she always knew me and loved me the way I am. For who I am. (She is the only person I've ever dated, after all.) She said she knew I wouldn't change just cause of a piece of paper from a doctor. I gotta say, a little kindness during tough times can even warm the heart of a sociopath."
Love is a powerful thing.
"Diagnosed ASPD by multiple mental health professionals, and I pretty much fit the mold of sociopathy to a T.
I say "pretty much" instead of "completely" because of the relationship I have with my fiancé. I met her almost three years ago, and immediately felt a whole bunch of weird emotions I'd never felt before as soon as I saw her for the first time. I was 22 at the time, and I had never loved, cared about, or been emotionally invested in another person for the entirety of my life. I faked it when necessary but I had pretty much given up on ever feeling love or compassion for another person.
She changed all of that. She is the only human being on this planet that I care about. I would do absolutely anything for her. I treat her with the utmost respect and humanity. I do not manipulate her. I do not lie to her. I do not lead her along through the use of fear, intimidation, and/or psychological manipulation... but rather with my most genuine attempts at love and kindness.
Sometimes I fall short... she's aware of my diagnosis and it sometimes bothers her that I don't treat anyone else in my life the way I treat her. But I do, and always will, try my damn best to treat her like a queen. Because she is.
We've been together for almost two years and we're both extremely happy in our relationship. My current therapist is continuously blown away by the fact that there's one overwhelming exception to my otherwise-textbook antisocial behavior. After growing up almost completely devoid of human emotion, empathy, or compassion, developing these feelings was initially quite scary. I wouldn't trade them for anything, though. Love is pretty cool."
"I have Schizoid Personality Disorder. I'm 48. I've not dated since 1992. If she hadn't asked me I probably never would have dated but my curiosity got the best of me. I'm also chronically unemployed.
I've never been able to keep a job mostly because I don't build relationships with my co-workers. School was a disaster probably for the same reasons. I don't seem to be interested in things the way other people are so I'm impossible to motivate."
"Schizoid Personality here. What are these relationships you speak of? /s
Relationships haven't changed, but knowing how other people think makes getting by easier."
"To say I've had a diagnosis or two, been through the ringer a bunch, and have had to deal with the repercussions of that would be an understatement. What I can say though, is when I finally addressed it to the people I trust and care about it lifted a great weight.
I guess my advice would be just own it, don't sugar coat, joke about it, and overall let love ones know you recognize the behavior and move forward with the assumption that it was a learning experience and people progress. Often it makes you a much better person."
The key to any successful relationship is communication.
The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.
But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.
Curious to hear examples of what those might be, Redditor FamiliarFarmer8356 asked:
"What's something you wish you could tell your partner without upsetting them?"
If there is conflict, there is a way to discuss and address the issue in a civil and respectful manner.
Things Just Happen
"Every bad thing that happens doesn't require someone to be blamed for it. And that someone doesn't always have to be me."
A Cornerstone Of A Successful Union
"One of the cornerstones of a good marriage, is knowing how to argue. I’d actually say that before a couple get married, they should check how their potential partner behaves in an argument. What are they like when they get angry. It’s important because no two individuals are going to agree all the time. And on those occasions, it’s important to remember not to belittle the other. Deal with the issue at hand. And especially, don’t argue in front of the kids. You have no idea how much lasting damage this causes."
"All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership."
It's Not That Deep
"please stop complaining about everything."
"If you keep seeking out reasons to be miserable, you will find them."
"I'm tired of being dragged down with you."
There's no need to get defensive when there's something to discuss.
It's Not About You
"That some days I’m just tired from class and work and just want some me time, it’s not that I hate you my social battery is just running out."
"Her first reaction to something adverse doesn't have to be anger."
In The Words Of A Pirate
"In the wise words of captain Jack Sparrow sometimes:"
'the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude toward the problem.'
It Takes Two To Tango
"That I wish she’d be more independent so she didn’t need my help for everything outside the house."
"That it’s a little disturbing how aggressively he drives when he’s grumpy… heavy on both gas and brakes, zooming in and out of traffic, swearing at people who make mistakes… very unlike him."
Sometimes the truth hurts when talking about members of the family.
A Real Assessment
"That her mother is not a good person."
"I told my husband that it's not that his family is nosy and overbearing, it's that I hate watching him cave and negotiate as if they have a right to behave like this, and I really hate when I'm the bad guy for wanting reasonable limits."
"It got worse, then it got better, FYI."
"His parents are greedy, selfish people and treat him like an atm."
There's definitely a fine line between withholding your thoughts to protect the person you love and being brutally honest.
If coming clean isn't going to resolve an issue, then it might be better to suck it up and deal with whatever frustrations you have about the other person.
It's up to you, but make sure the delivery doesn't come from a place of rage if you do decided to be totally transparent about your negative thoughts.
Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.
What is a "black sheep" anyway?
It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.
Redditor Frozen_yoghurt123 asked:
"Who is the 'black sheep' of your family?"
I'm the black sheep or at least I'd like to think so.
"Probably my dad's cousin, who went to prison for murdering his lover's husband."
DW_555Oh My Wow GIFGiphy
"My Dad. He is the only one of 6 siblings who wasn't a huge f**k up. And yet, before my Grandma died she stated that he was her 'biggest disappointment.' He is estranged from his surviving siblings... not by his choice. It honestly blows my mind."
"Toxicity is often a group mindset thing; people don't want you to leave because they are dysfunctionally co-dependent on each other and need each other to justify their own shortcomings in life. A lot of the 'family loyalty' stuff is typically shouted loudest by those who are the least good idea to stay loyal towards."
"My great uncle who stole my great grandfathers identity, stole a couple million dollars, and ran off. No one even knew he was alive until my great grandfathers funeral in 2009. No one has seen him since. My grandma started to cry because she honestly thought he was dead."
"Everyone else just kind of nodded on his direction and went on with the rest of the funeral. I just remember being very confused because I was 9 and I had never met this guy who my dad pulled me aside and told me he was my great uncle. It was a few years later that I got the full story."
"According to my mean aunt, the 'matriarch' in her own mind, it's my twin brother because "he doesn't care about family now that he's a doctor." (He's a resident. Chief resident. He works ridiculous hours and spends the rest of the time recovering from work.)"
"According to my ex-MIL (who still counts because she's Son's grandma), it's me, for divorcing her son."
"According to everyone else, it's Mean Aunt. The rest of us are warm and caring and compassionate. We have our moments; all of us have been accidentally thoughtless or done something selfish once in a while, but we're not deliberately mean and snarky all the time."
"My immediate family are the black sheep of the entire family."
DarthDreganJohn Stamos Cheers GIF by GrandfatheredGiphy
Sounds like everyone has a little black sheep in them.
"By now, my brother for cutting off everyone because he prefers his rude, selfish, paranoid, narcissist wife over all of us."
"My wife is the black sheep of her family in the sense that she's the only one who isn't a rude, selfish, paranoid narcissist."
Lvcivs2311Joe Dirt Brother GIFGiphy
"Me. My granddaddy told me 'I’ve only had the sheriff knock on my door two times in my 80 years, and both times he was looking for you! 'I did some dumb sh*t, caused a little trouble, burned a few bridges but always managed to stay out of jail. Partly because my sister has kept an attorney on retainer for me since I was 16."
"My younger brother (2nd of 4) is a compulsive liar and it got him in a lot of little trouble as a teen, then he told his wife he graduated a big college when we're not even sure if he got his GED because he failed to graduate HS, went to some GED school and eventually just stopped going."
"IF he graduated college, he never mentioned he was going in the 4+ years it takes nor mention graduation or have a diploma. He's not a bad dude, but now family time is super awkward when he and his wife are talking about 'their' college team."
The NOT good girl...
"My aunt's daughter. She’s been in jail for drugs, stolen money from my aunt and other family members to use on drugs and physically abused my aunt. My aunt has tried getting her help, but nothing has worked. She’s just not a good person, and everyone in my family, except my aunt, doesn’t want anything to do with her. I haven’t seen her in 8 years now, and I’m happy about that."
"A former nun - my great aunt - left the religious life and got married. She called herself 'the black sheep of the family' because her habit was black."
Back2BachExcited Julie Andrews GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein OrganizationGiphy
Well the black sheep sound like the most interesting family members.
Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.
There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.
A good steak.
A home repair.
The things that make you say...
"I tingle all over."
Redditor OldAboba asked:
"What is the best non-sexual physical feeling you’ve ever felt?"
Adele. Adele live. She sends me.
FloatingRelaxed Exit Strategy GIF by Hannah Bronfman Giphy
"I got a professional full body (everything but my man parts) massage a few years back for the first and so far only time at a spa after the recommendation from a coworker. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few days."
Through your nose...
"Sneezing when you're sick. Then you get that about 20 second feeling of breathing through your nose again and you like ahh that's what I aspire to at the moment."
"Or the very last sneeze of your illness. During a fire drill in high school, I was ambling out after fighting a head old for a few days. The alarm was killing my head which was already throbbing from the sinus pressure."
"I was nearing the field, well away from my classmates, when I cough/sneezed out a huge, green loogie - cleared it about three feet, no icky trail - and by the time I was walking back to the building I was feeling pretty much back to normal. No more head cold after that. Never had something like that ever happen again where there was such an abrupt end to the head cold."
"Right after a migraine goes away. It's almost a spiritual experience."
"This was going to be my answer. I was in the ER one time for a really bad migraine. They gave me what they called a 'migraine cocktail.' When they pushed it through the IV I could feel the cold liquid make its way through my body, up to my head. Once it hit my brain, the migraine was gone. It was pure ecstasy. Even better was that cocktail had Benadryl in it so I fell asleep not long after and slept so good."
"That stretch til you shake when you wake up."
"I once stretched too hard in the morning and got the worst calf cramp ever... it looked like a prune and I thought I would die from the pain. Couldn't stretch in bed for months afterwards out of fear it would happen again."
"When you move over 50, it turns into that stretch til you put your back into a muscle spasm that lasts days."
The ItchScratching Feel Good GIF by 60 Second DocsGiphy
"I had a cast and splint on both my legs for 2 months. When they cut it off, they scratched my legs for me and the itch was just top notch! Yeah."
Itching an itch can change a life.
YUM!Emma Stone High Quality GIFGiphy
"When you're starving all day and devour a bomb a** meal."
Sleep for Life
"When you’ve been up for 20 hours+ and finally get into bed and you just know it’ll be the best sleep of your life."
"But man, after 36+ hours, the body sort of aches and it's hard to fall asleep despite being completely exhausted. Then the restless legs kick in... ugh. I do agree that a 20hr-ish stint is amazing to cuddle into, especially if you don't have to get up at any specific time the next day."
"Makes it better when you’ve been sleep deprived for weeks and know you have NO PLANS tomorrow and can sleep as much as you need."
"When you're absolutely busting for a pee and you can finally go!"
"Apparently there’s a thing called a 'pee-gasm' that people (usually women) have that causes an orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a while! I’ve definitely experienced this and I’ve intentionally waited a while so I could have that good feeling... lol."
I Can Hear!!
"The feeling of water leaving your ear after being there all day."
"I had some impacted earwax for a week in one ear, and when it finally got removed it was the best feeling in the world. Initially it was like having a tv or radio in my ear that only had static, but then I could hear. Good god, I could hear. It was amazing."
"Oh man, and it’s WARM from being in your head, and the warmth makes the sensation of leaving even better."
A Good Restdog puppy GIFGiphy
"Sleeping in a warm blanket in winters."
"Or sleeping in a cold blanket in summer."
I am enthralled by all of those things.
People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.
And when it is requested, think before you speak.
People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."
Redditor Gold-Ad-2827 asked:
"People with mental disorders: What do you hate being told the most?"
I hated being told to just smile. You smile and go away.
Duhseth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"It's all in your head. Where else would it?! My colon?"
"Everybody goes through that."
"This saying makes my blood boil. Or the 'I was that age once too ya know' yeah no sh*t you were that age once. And just because you were that age once doesn’t mean we have the same experience."
"They try to minimize it."
"You're worried? Just stop."
"You're sad? Just don't be."
"You're compulsively binge eating? Eat less."
"Thanks for that stellar advice."
"Or even better, 'Just do it!' As if ADHD paralysis can be stopped with a can-do attitude."
"I get so frustrated when people treat the idea of 'holistic medicine' as some kind of woo. How does it escape so many people that the body works holistically? Even a lot of doctors seem to ignore this. It's very frustrating when you have 2 or 3 or 4 illnesses that are all affecting each other, and your 'physical health' is held distinct from your mental health, and nothing anyone is doing to treat you works because no one's looking at the whole system."
"I just got a lecture from a psychiatrist I am seeing about nutrition, and he apologized to me for doing so but I told him, 'No, I appreciate it. Do it for all your patients.' because it told me he's trying to look at the whole picture and actually fix what's wrong. It gave me faith in him."
RelaxCalm Down Golden Girls GIF by TV LandGiphy
"You need to calm down."
"Never is the history of calm down has calm down ever caused anyone to calm down."
Calm down. I hate that one. You calm down.
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"When they try to give me tips on what to do, like bruh as if I didn't already try that."
"You don't look sad. No crap... that's so I can avoid having this conversation. Also depression isn't 'being sad' like people think."
"God, I hate this. It's because saying 'I'm depressed' has been standard for people expressing that they're slightly unhappy about something dumb like not getting enough croutons on their salad or some crap. Now that's just what everyone assumes you mean when you say you have depression."
"'Stop being lazy.'"
“'Lazy' is when you don’t want to do anything at all. 'Executive disfunction' is when you can do everything at all, but that one easy quick thing that you do want to do just makes you and your brain freeze completely days ahead. I’m tired of people not understand that even when I explain and look at me like I’m bullshitting instead."
Ways to Cope
"Maybe you should try praying harder. I did, He prescribed medication."
"Praying is a way to cope for a lot of people, I think. That's totally fine, but insisting on praying in lieu of getting real help or actually addressing the issue is when it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously detrimental."
"Religious people will bypass everyone’s cultures, identity, views, and feelings just to be right and make a point. it’s disgusting. I read somewhere that real so called Christianity is all wrong. The real faith is from the Aramaic history and all the meanings were misinterpreted and the stories and all were made up by Catholics wanting to control their people. Yuck."
'contamination'Disgusted Season 6 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-NineGiphy
"As someone with OCD with a lot of attention to 'contamination', having someone try to explain contradictions in why I'm doing something that is technically unclean when I wouldn't do something that is technically clean due to OCD. There are a few doorknobs that I will not touch no matter how much you clean them in front of me and I know it makes no sense, if it made sense I wouldn't have OCD i'd just be cleanly."
Stop trying to be an armchair therapist. Be empathetic to people first.