The list below contains descriptions of some of the more common traits of people who suffer from personality disorders, as observed by family members and partners. Please note that these descriptions are not intended for diagnosis. No one person exhibits all of the traits and the presence of one or more traits is not evidence of a personality disorder.
1. Abusive Cycle - This describes the characteristic rotation between destructive and constructive behavior that typically exists in dysfunctional relationships.
2. Alienation- Interfering or cutting a person off from relationships with others. This can be done by manipulating the attitudes and behaviors of the victim or of the people with whom they come in contact. The victim’s relationships with others may be sabotaged through verbal pressure, threats, diversions, distortion campaigns and systems of rewards and punishments.
3. “Always” & “Never” Statements - These are but rarely true.
4. Unresolved anger – The belief that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
5. Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
6. Baiting and Picking Fights - The practice of generating a provocative action or statement to obtain an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another person.
7. Belittling, condescending & patronizing speech - Giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness.
8. Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
9. Bullying - Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.
10. Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a “worst case scenario” and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.
11. Chaos Manufacture - The practice of unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.
12. Cheating - Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.
13. Chronic Broken Promises - Repeatedly making and then breaking commitments and promises.
14. Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no real resolution.
15. Cognitive Dissonance - The discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values.
16. Confirmation Bias - The tendency to pay more attention to things which reinforce your beliefs than to things which contradict them.
17. “Control-Me” Syndrome - A tendency to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or “acting-out” nature.
18. Denial - The practice of believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
19. Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.
20. Dissociation - A psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.
21. Divide and Conquer - A method of gaining and advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.
22. Emotional Abuse - Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of fear, obligation or guilt.
23. Emotional Blackmail – Using threats and punishments to control a person.
24. Engulfment - An unhealthy level of attention and dependency on a spouse, partner or family member. It comes from believing that we only exist within the context of that relationship.
25. Entitlement - An unrealistic expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.
26. Favoritism - Giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a group of peers.
27. Fear of abandonment - A pattern of irrational thought which causes a person to think that they are in imminent danger of being rejected or replaced by someone else.
28. Feelings of Emptiness - A chronic and acute sense of nothingness or emptiness, so that their own existence has little worth or significance to them.
29. Gaslighting - The practice of systematically convincing an individual that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false.
30. Harassment - Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior.
31. Hoarding - Accumulating items to an extent that it becomes detrimental to quality of lifestyle, comfort, security or hygiene.
32. Holiday, Anniversary & Memory Triggers - Mood Swings triggered or amplified by emotional events such as family holidays or significant anniversaries and events.
33. Hoovers - A Hoover is where an abuse victim gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.
34. Hyper Vigilance - The practice of maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.
35. Hysteria - An over-reaction to bad news or disappointments.
36. Identity disturbance – Having a distorted or inconsistent self-view.
37. Imposed Isolation – May be caused by an abusive person who does not want their victim to have close relationships with others. Often, isolation is self-imposed by abuse victims, who out of a sense of shame or guilt, fear the judgment of others.
38. Impulsivity - The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.
39. Infantilization - Treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age.
40. Intimidation - Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.
41. Invalidation - Encouraging an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.
42. Lack of object constancy - The inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.
43. Low Self-Esteem - Having negative self-views which are inconsistent with reality.
44. Manipulation - Baiting an individual or group into a certain response or reaction for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.
45. Masking - Covering up one’s own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.
46. Mirroring - Imitating another person’s characteristics, behaviors or traits.
47. Moments of Clarity- Spontaneous, temporary periods when a person with a personality disorder is able to see beyond their own world view and can, briefly, understand, acknowledge and begin to make amends for their dysfunctional behavior.
48. Mood swings - Unpredictable, rapid, and dramatic emotional cycles.
49. Narcissism - A set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy/
50. Neglect – a form of abuse where the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
51. Objectification - The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.
52. Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior - Characterized by an inflexible adherence to arbitrary rules & systems or an illogical affinity to cleanliness and orderly structure.
52. Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.
53. Parental Alienation Syndrome - The process by which one parent uses their influence to make a child believe that the other estranged parent is bad, evil or worthless
54. Parentification - A form of role reversal where the child of a personality-disordered parent is expected to meet the emotional or physical needs of the parent or siblings.
55. Passive Aggressive behavior- Expressing negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (such as through procrastination and stubbornness).
56. Pathological lying: Persistent deception to serve one’s own interests.
57. Perfectionism: Holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unsustainable or unattainable standard.
58. Physical Abuse: Any form of voluntary behavior by one individual which promotes pain or discomfort on another or deprives them of necessary health and comfort.
59. Projection: Attributing one’s own feelings or traits onto another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.
60. Sabotage: Disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.
61. Scapegoating: Singling out one person for unmerited negative treatment or blame.
62. Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia: The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.
63: Self Harm: Also known as self-mutilation, self-injury or self-abuse. It is any form of deliberate, premeditated injury inflicted on oneself.
64. Self-Loathing: An extreme self-hatred of one’s own self, actions or one’s ethnic or demographic background.
65. Shaming: The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.
66. The Silent Treatment: A passive aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal messages.
67. Splitting: The practice of thinking about people and situations in extremes and regarding them as completely “good” or “bad”.
68. Stalking: Any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.
69. Testing: The practice of repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to the relationship.
70. Triggers: Small, insignificant or minor actions, statements or events that produce a dramatic or inappropriate response.