Characteristics of Personality Disorders

If you’re not familiar with it, personality disorder is a somewhat controversial  diagnosis which essentially classifies people who we might otherwise called “extremely difficult” but to the point where they cause themselves significant life problems. Although there are 10 clinically recognized personality disorders, I focus on the two most difficult to treat, Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision [Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000] defines "personality" as: "… enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself … exhibited in a wide range of important social and personal contexts."
There are ten clinically recognized personality disorders, each characterized by socially abnormal feelings and behaviors that can create a life of instability.


Dramatic Personality Disorders: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic


Individuals with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions, distorted self-perception, and/or behavioral impulsiveness.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder - individual shows a pervasive disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder - individual shows a generalized pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and observable emotions, and significant impulsiveness.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder- individual often displays excessive emotionality and attention seeking in various contexts. They tend to overreact to other people, and are often perceived as shallow and self-centered.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder - individual has a grandiose view of themselves, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in various situations. These individuals are very demanding in their relationships.
Online self-survey for personality disorders

Anxious Personality Disorders: Avoidant, Dependent, Obsessive-Compulsive


Individuals with these disorders often appear anxious or fearful.
Online self-survey for personality disorders

Eccentric Personality Disorders: Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal


Individuals with these disorders often appear odd or peculiar.
Online self-survey for personality disorders

Learn About Your Treatment Options


My name is Dave Ebaugh. I've been helping people in the Portland, Oregon area with personality disorders and complex diagnosis for over 20 years. If you've tried outpatient treatment and it didn't help, or if you don't think counseling can help you, I encourage you to call me or use the form below to contact me with your questions about how my therapy approach can help you.