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really really difficult to get along with?
people get along with others. There might be the odd bit of friction between a
person or two, but for the most part, most people get along.
is a sub-group of people however, that donít seem to get along with almost
anyone. These persons tend to project blame onto others for their conflict and
may also cause others to feel guilty for not meeting expectations in the
relationship. Further, some of these people while feigning interest in others,
are really only interested in meeting their own needs. These people can be
manipulative, self-serving and very distressing to others. If they themselves
are distressed, it is only due to the reaction of others, or for others not
attending to their demands. They tend not to be distressed about their own
behaviour. In fact, when confronted on their own behaviour, they are quite
unable to see a problem with themselves and treat the confrontation as a serious
attack. They are incredibly adept at making excuses that continue to exonerate
themselves while making it seem like everyone else is the problem.
you explore their childhood, one often sees a history of abuse or abandonment.
There may have been parental alcohol or drug abuse and violence in the home.
These persons may have been subject to many moves in childhood and care by
multiple alternate caregivers.
persons may have a personality disorder. A personality disorder is a psychiatric
diagnosis given to adults whose behaviour brings them into conflict with many
persons and society. Their behaviour presents as frequently troublesome,
inflexible and persistent. There
are many behaviours common to persons with a personality disorder. When clusters
of certain behaviours are seen in the same person over time, different types of
personality disorders are identified. Hence 10 distinct types of personality
disorders are distinguished and there are mixed types. Some persons are loud
or dramatic, others cause rifts in relationships between other persons with
themselves seeking to be in the middle, some may flaunt the law, believing it is
their right to do so and others make everything seems about themselves. These
characteristics relate to the histrionic, borderline, antisocial and
narcissistic personality disorders.
disorders cannot be treated with medication, although someone with a personality
disorder may have another disorder such as depression or anxiety, which can be
treated with medication. The personality disorder itself may be treated by
psychotherapy; however, many persons with personality disorders are treatment
resistant. In other words, the psychotherapy does not work and the personality
disorder continues. The reason many are treatment resistant is due to the nature
of the personality disorder. Another feature of the disorder is the inability of
the person to view themself realistically. They have tremendous difficulty or
may be fully unable to realistically appraise or see their own behaviour as
troublesome. Therefore, they are quite unable to accept it is they who have the
problem and needs the help.
who live with someone with a personality disorder may come to believe they have
the problem, rather than the person with the disorder. The one with the
personality disorder is so good at projecting blame and their version of reality
and are so inflexible, that others are drawn into accepting blame and feeling
guilty. Hence treatment for the family and friends of the person with the
disorder becomes paramount. Treatment or counselling is aimed at educating the
family and friends as to the nature of the disorder and at helping these persons
form strong boundaries to protect from the intrusions of the one with the
disorder. Some family members or friends may also have to distance themselves to
be self-protective and others may need coping strategies to manage situations as
when they need to be near the person with the disorder.
you are having difficulty with someone as described above and even if they do
get help, get help for yourself. Describe the situation to the therapist and
seek education, guidance and support to manage the relationship and make choices
as to how you will cope and decide what is acceptable for you. You are allowed
to be independent of the person with the disorder, regardless of the
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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