While we can’t diagnose ourselves, or anybody else, with a personality disorder unless we are a licensed psychologist — it can be helpful sometimes to understand disorders and what causes them to form. A lot of the personality disorders are really self/other disorders. There comes a point in early childhood where people recognize that other people are separate from them. This creates a crisis of identity. There are a number of possible different results of this crisis.
Self/Other Crisis Results:
Healthy Personality – friendship and empathy between other and self.
Narcissists – replace Other with Self. if someone else is not like them, they try to eradicate the other or replace their own fantasy over the top of the non-self thing. They want to be the standard, best, thing, and anything around them has to serve and agree with that.
Borderlines – replace Self with Other. This is why borderlines have a constant need to be in relationship with someone else. They get their entire identity from the other. This usually backfires.
Schizoids – ignore others, live in self. Schizoids climb into self and for most part just ignore others, or create fantasy others to live inside their “self” with them. They don’t usually get into relationships, but when they do, they can cause others pain by making them feel irrelevant to their inner existence. (Note that both borderline and narcissistic personality disorder may be viewed as a more social coping strategy towards dealing with a schizoid pattern self/other schism.)
——– More Severe: Psychopaths – elicit pain in others and form a relationship around torture / pain / control. (This is different than game like BDSM elements of some normal relationships.) Rather than showing interest in being “the best” or most admired, they just want to be in total control, and their main means of measuring this is how much pain they can elicit in others. In their minds, pain is money.
Sociopaths – Other as Object. Sociopaths use others to get where they want to go; people only exist to them as far as how useful they are to achieve certain goals. People are stepping stones. This can often combine with narcissism, but doesn’t have to. —- This list is NOT scientific and my definitions differ from DSM, but is meant as a quickie guide to understanding some of the most commonly mentioned disorders. Most of what I have here is loosely oriented around object relations ideas and psychoanalytical approaches to dealing with the disorders.