Friday, October 25, 2019

If you want to give your kids the best chance at success in life you should strive to raise them free of all personality disorders.

I don’t think there is enough research going on between personality disorders and how those who have them are prone to use drugs and prone to end up in poverty or homelessness. However, there are lots of studies that go the other way. In other words, lots of people blame poverty and homelessness on creating personality disorders. But in my humble opinion, I think that kind of thinking is putting the horse before the cart. I think personality disorders are the cause (the root of the problem as it were) and the problems growing from this toxic root are poverty, drug use, and homelessness.

According to various psychology outlets and papers, there are ten kinds of personality disorders. They are as follows: 1) Paranoid personality disorder, 2) Shizoid personality disorder, 3) Schizotypal disorder, 4) Antisocial personality disorder, 5) Borderline personality disorder, 6) Histrionic personality disorder, 7) Narcissistic personality disorder, 8) Avoidant personality disorder, 9) Dependent personality disorder, and 10) Obsessive Compulsive personality disorder. If a person gets even one of these into their heads (let alone a whole bucketful) I think it increases a person’s chance that they will 1) get into illegal drugs in their adult life, or 2) end up unable to support themselves as an adult, or 3) both. It’s strange to think about, right?

So, why then did I start thinking about this? Let’s chalk it up to personal experience. I work and associate with a lot of people who struggle to “independently” support themselves, and I’ve noticed a trend: a lot of them are assholes. Many of them are terrible communicators, and this terrible-ness extends to avoiding communication altogether, ghosting, or lack of explanation and follow-through. Many of them exhibit toxic levels of narcissism by “splaining” away on various topics as if I were an uneducated slob. They can be bossy and rude. Many of them post a ton on social media, are very active on Instagram, as if every aspect of their lives was celebrity-worthy. Many post antagonistic things on social media as if begging others, “Come fight me, bro!” I suppose this behavior could be called, “Trolling,” but I’d also say it comes from a place of bitterness. Many of them cannot be counted upon to help out with manual labor requests, even though they have all the time in the world to do so. Many of them ask to borrow money with no intention of paying it back. Many of them are perfectionists, meaning nothing is ever good enough for them. They find a way to criticize just about anything. Many of them are ungrateful and undependable. And many of them act entitled as if they were prima donna’s in their own opera. Many of them are okay with casual exploitation. Quite a few measure value in physical appearance only, and this is usually because they have come to value this about themselves for whatever reasons.

This idea of mine grew out of all of the above experiences and with me asking a question: why are my interactions with people who struggle to support themselves so profoundly negative? You see, this flies in the face of what I was taught: that poor people were humble. I have found over and over and over that this is not the case at all. Then I picked up a report about homelessness and read a line that I had previously encountered before (and just never processed what it was actually saying to me): “Personality disorders in the homeless population are two to four times as prominent as those found in the general population.” This wasn’t a “new” thing, but my understanding of what that one line said was like a light bulb turning on in my head. It’s the personality disorder that created the homelessness, and not the other way around. I thought poverty and homelessness was the trauma that resulted in the personality disorder, but I don’t think that’s actually what’s going on here. And it makes so much sense with regard to the reality in which I live.

For example, no one I know (including myself) has fun working with people who have personality disorders, because (for want of a term that encapsulates what this means in practice) they are assholes. To explain it another way, it’s hard to work with a “jerk” (using another synonym), because they are abusive. It takes a very special person to sign-up to being psychologically and emotionally abused every day by another person. So these people with personality disorders end up being unsuitable for the workplace (and for a lot of life actually), which leads to casual and illegal drug use and the partying lifestyle (and generally heading straight for “rock bottom”).

In other words, I think personality disorders in adults are a gateway to illegal drug use and unemployment. And the thing is, no one talks about treating personality disorders as a solution (or nipping budding personality disorders in young people). What I see are people trying to address the symptoms, i.e., things like housing, donations, and the drug trade. But it also makes me think that this is all we can do as a society, because personality disorders are very difficult to cure or treat. For example, professionals are not even on the same page as to the cause of personality disorders in the first place, because it (potentially) can be anything in the environment. Is it parenting? Is it a social group that forms around a child at school? Is it commercialism and capitalism? Is it competition? Is it bullying? Or is it all of the above? Is it something I haven’t listed? If I were to give any advice to a parent, it would be this: raise a child to adulthood without any personality disorders, and you will give your child the best chance you possibly can for them to succeed. But as my friend has pointed out, when I told her my observation and idea, “How the hell do you do that in today’s world?” This comes from a mom who did everything she could to raise her daughter right, and guess what? Her daughter is brimming with personality disorders. Because of these personality disorders, the daughter is probably (and unfortunately) headed for rock bottom at some point. It’s like you can see the train wreck coming, and there’s no way to correct the course.

I do know people who are (to my knowledge) free of personality disorders, and they are a delight to be around and all of them are successful by every measure we have today to view such things. Is it a coincidence? I think not. And the fact that I know people who are free of personality disorders makes me believe that it’s possible to raise children to adulthood without them. I just can’t tell you how to do it. However, it seems like an awfully important goal to strive for, and one that (I believe) is not talked about enough when it comes to what it takes to independently support oneself in today’s society and to achieve some measure of fulfillment with regard to one’s life. “Don’t get infected with any personality disorders, folks,” is easier said than done.


  1. So Donald Trump should be homeless?

    1. LOL, that's a funny thought. Not sure where you got that from in regards to what I was talking about, but to reiterate, personality disorders are more prevalent (2 to 4 times) in those living in poverty or who are homeless than in the population that isn't. Which means that above a certain income level, you still run into people with personality disorders, it's just not as common. For the record, two to four times is very high. Narcissistic personality disorder affects 4% of the general U.S. population, which many psychologists believe Donald Trump has. To put that in perspective that's about 1 in 20. Among those living in poverty or homeless, it can be 1 in 10 or higher, which is a huge jump.

    2. The old joke is that if you're poor you're "crazy" while if you're rich you're "eccentric."

  2. This is profound entry, Mike my dear, and you raise a thorny issue about how much we as individuals are responsible for what happens in our lives. But any parent who has more than one child can testify that all babies are born with different personalities. So when is it nature and when nurture? One thing I've noticed: so called "New Age" (I kinda cringe using the term) spirituality ideas/advice or whatever emphasize self-responsibility to an almost extreme degree. I can disagree with some of the stuff, but have also been struck by the truth in its emphasis that we attract most of the bad or good things that happen to us. Don't like your life? Then change yourself to change your life. This is a tough philosophy but can also be liberating because it gives power to the individual.

    One other thought: Possibly the highest rates of opioid addiction are in West Virginia, and while the poverty and unemployment there are often blamed, no one talks about personality disorders. Is there also a surplus of such disorders there? Or is this an example of how psychologists love to categorize human traits to the detriment of a more complicated truth.

    I do like how you simplify these categories by summing up that many of these personality disorder people are just plain "assholes." Now that's a truth.

  3. But are personality disorders nature or nurture? Will you develop one if you live in a household with one? Would telling parents this stress them out even more?