Everybody has a personality and thus every personality can be diagnosed into one of the ten types that one finds in the DSM. I am yet to meet a person who does not have a personality.
Personality type and Adaptation
Paranoid - The world is hostile so don’t trust anyone and deal with people by being angry and attacking
Schizoid - The world is scary so withdraw from it (people) and don’t show any of your feelings
Schizotypal - The world is scary so withdraw from it (people) and don’t think clearly by being a bit crazy
Antisocial - You can’t trust anyone & life’s unfair so take advantage of people and do what you like
Borderline - Relationships & life are very unreliable so frantically do anything to keep people around
Histrionic - I must be the centre of attention so I will be dramatic, flirtatious and highly emotional
Narcissistic - I have always been told that I am very important and the best so I will behave and feel like that
Avoidant - Life is scary and rejecting so I will withdraw and feel worthless
Dependent - I can’t cope with life and am worthless so I will cling to others and do what they tell me
Obsessive/compulsive - I have to feel in control of life and myself so I will be orderly and perfectionistic
So when working with people who have personality types the more abnormal or dysfunctional they are depends on how much they use their personality in self defeating ways. The goal is not to change the personality but to get the person to use its pluses and minuses in the most productive way for them in relationships and life. The more they do this the more normal or functional they are on the scale and the less they do this the more they are abnormal or dysfunctional on the scale.
A distinction can be made between personality disorders as one finds in the DSM and what are known as personality types. The personality types constitute about 95% of the population. The rest are what are called personality disorders which make up about 5% of the general population. However it is this small group that uses up many of the resources provided such as counselling, mental health services, hospitals, trouble with the law and so forth. So whist they are small in number one does often come across them because they fit poorly into society and thus they get noticed more often.
The personality disorder is what can be described as the person with a character problem. There is a flaw or problem with their basic character. The vast majority of people in society have basically a sound character and it is the psychological material on top of that which can be disturbed. This is what mainly separates the personality disorders from the personality types.
In Transactional Analysis terms the individual is said to have a third degree impasse.
1st - 6+ years, drivers
2nd - 6 months to 6 years, injunctions
3rd - 0 to 6 months, character, pre-verbal
1 degree impasse. Generally developed in later childhood through internalising verbal instructions (counter injunctions) such as please others, try hard. These are most accessible to awareness as the person can usually easily recall how they were delivered and by whom
2 degree impasse. Internalised in early childhood, often through non-verbal commands. Based on injunctions such as don’t grow up or don’t feel. Not so easily recalled as to how they were developed; however the person can usually identify with impasse conflicts
3 degree impasse. The earliest form of impasse, usually developed in the pre-verbal phase. Here the conflict is held in the body through tensions and psychosomatic complaints, or maybe experienced through symbolic images, for example, “I feel as if I am in a fog, lost, cold and alone”.
This views impasses developmentally. The type 3 impasse develops in the very young child, the type 2 in a less young child and the type 1 impasse in late childhood.
3rd degree impasse happens through the basic attachment between mother and child. It refers to how they relate each day and day after day, so the child is retraumatized consistently each day.
If mother has a problem with her C1 (or C0, A0, P0) then this gets communicated to the child each and everyday. She can’t fake it. In her Adult and Parent ego states she can learn and change her parenting styles but this cannot happen in her little C1 ego state as it is part of her character.
The mother who is depressed who each day can feed and look after son, but the son also knows mother is emotionaly bereft. He learns that he needs to take care of mother and she may some how leave him (die). So he develops a system where he feels of little worth and has anxiety day after day. thus his basic charater is formed in a way where it is dysfunctional.