Hi everyone! In this video I will be discussing personality disorders. Specifically if disorders and traits can be changed. I have a video dedicated to personality disorders if you are interested. [Personality Disorders] Personality disorders are a group of mental health disorders in which an individual has a long-term pattern of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that generally develop early and are inflexible. In other words, they are characteristics that make up your personality and who you are. So, they can be very difficult to change.
But, let’s discuss if they can be changed at all. Our personality is what makes us who we are. Other people may not like, we may not even like it. So, in order to better accept ourselves and have others accept us, many times we try and change who we are. As we age, our personality naturally changes. But the truth is, when we try to change our personality it is not so easy. Like breaking a habit or addiction.
As an example, when someone identifies as gay, is that a conscious decision, or is it just who they are attracted to? The answer is obviously the latter. Do people who identify as straight choose to be straight, or is it just who they are? Again, it’s the latter. So, changing personality traits is much like this. It’s who we are, we cannot change it. Along the same lines, if you are gay and you try to be straight, denying that you are gay, it will result in stress, denial, and many other negative emotions. So, one has to accept themselves, even if they do not like it, or problems will arise.
Our personality is primarily shaped by how we were raised, our childhood. This is where many personality disorders come from. For instance, it’s been shown that those with borderline personality disorder tend to have had a childhood of abuse, trauma, abandonment, among other things. This shapes them into developing characteristic such as an intense fear of abandonment and paranoia, thinking everyone will betray them.
It’s not their fault they are like this. They cannot change the way they are so easily because it is who they are. Yet, so many other people can citizen someone with any kind of disorder because they do not understand it. They think the behavior can change just by thinking differently. They do not get why someone thinks like that. They do not see how this behavior could have developed. Judgment is something we all do and it is very hurtful.
There is always a reason why someone has a personality trait or disorder. Many times, we do not even know we have a disorder until we hear from others, “Oh, you’re weird. There is something wrong with you.” Once we recognize and accept we have something going on, we need to realize why we have it, and where it came from. It didn’t come out of nowhere. We are the way we are for a reason. As well as find a positive outlet and coping mechanism that can benefit versus hinder.
Discovering & Coping
Let’s discuss how we can realize and come to terms with our personality traits. First and foremost, there are parts of our personality that we will never know about or acknowledge. Others may see it so clearly, but we do not see it ourselves. Everyone has traits they are unaware of. Learning to be introspective and look at yourself objectively, form a third person, is the only way to understand what others see in you. Though, this is limited.
In order to do this, you need to take a step back from your own views, attachments, and emotions. Anything you are holding onto, let it go. Look at yourself from an unbiased point of view. The negative emotions we have towards ourselves are stronger than that of what others think of us. If we can learn to let go of those emotions, to not be attached to them so strongly, we can realize that those negative thoughts and feelings are getting in our way of happiness and fulfillment.
One needs to truly learn to accept themselves for who they are because there are many things that are not so easy to just change about yourself. If you take a step back from the negative emotions you hold towards yourself, and look at who you are from an unbiased point of view, you will realize that you are fine the way you are. Introspection is very handy at discovering these sorts of things. It may seem very difficult at first, but the point is that it is not impossible.
Let’s look at an example of how to change a personality trait. Well, not necessarily changing the trait, but changing how it is affecting you, and how you are coping and dealing with it.
Let’s say you were neglected as a child and you developed a trait that you always need attention and constant reassurance that you are accepted and loved. You lie and deceive people to get your way. You are an attention seeker to an extreme. You dress provocatively, flirt with strangers, act dramatically, get upset and cry when you do not get your own way. This is your personality, this is who you are. There is a reason why you are like this. You need to come to the conclusion why you are doing this and change how you are dealing with this personality ‘defect.’
Now hypothetically speaking, let’s say the individual in question is me. I’m doing those things and don’t know how to stop it. If I try and change my behavior, it’s going to backfire since I am creating resistance and denying my personality. Trying to change the fundamentals of my character.
What I need to do is learn to recognize and accept my behavior first and foremost. I may not like it, but it’s who I am. I don’t want to enter into denial, nor do I want the behavior to become worse. So, I need to learn to accept that this is me, my behavior.
Next, while I may not be able to change my behavior, I can change how I am approaching this personality ‘defect.’ Instead of using my attention seeking ways to draw attention to myself, deceiving people for my own personal gain and satisfaction, I can use it to help others. Personally, I have a natural ability to help people, so I can use my attention seeking and deceptive ways to benefit them. The satisfaction would be mutual instead of one-sided. We would both get something out of the experience.
But, this is all theoretical and how I would approach it. Everyone is different. You may find different solutions. You still have the personality traits since they cannot be changed so easily, but you are approaching the behavior, the end result, differently, positively.
Positive thinking is extremely crucial as well. When you believe something, it happens. Positive thoughts manifest into a positive outcome, negative thoughts into a negative outcome. Believing in yourself is key above all else. [Positive Thinking]
So the question is, can personality disorders and traits be changed? The answer is both yes and no. While they cannot be changed directly, our attitude towards them and how we deal with them can change. Turning something negative into something positive for instance.
It’s always best to keep an open mind and think before judging someone. Main reason being is that negativity can make someone feel worse and cause more of the kind of behavior you criticized them about in the first place. What they truly need is acceptance and support. And by realizing this, you can help them accept themselves and their personality so they can use their negative traits with a positive outcome, instead of a negative one.
So, I hope this video was informative. Thanks for watching!