How do people become dysfunctional
What is a dysfunctional personality?
When you ... have depression or anxiety it is often pretty clear. You feel nervous or depressed and that misery is very on your mind. But what does it mean to have a dysfunction? Personality? This is a much more complicated question.
First, like so many terms in psychology and psychiatry, the term personality is complicated. A useful working definition of personality is "the organized, developing, psychological system within an individual". The question that arises from this definition is what these systems are and how they are organized. One useful scheme divides psychological systems into three broad levels; 1) temperament; 2) characteristic adjustments; and 3) identity. Temperament refers to a person's general characteristics and dispositions, and five main classes of traits have been identified (extroversion, neuroticism, adequacy, conscientiousness, and openness). As soon as someone turns 25, their characteristics generally stabilize. Characteristic adaptations relate to the way people characteristically adapt and react to their surroundings. Recently I have argued that there are five systems of adaptation, namely 1) the habit system; 2) the experimental system; 3) relationship system; 4) defense system and 5) justification system. The final level of personality is your identity, which relates to the broad constellation of beliefs and values that an individual has about himself, others and the world, and how these are merged into a self-narrative that shows their existence in relation to others justifies.
What is a dysfunctional personality? Let us first consider what we mean by the word "functional". An individual is functional when they are able to work effectively towards achieving valuable goal states in the face of the stressors and benefits to which they are exposed.
When clinicians think about the functioning of their own personality, they are looking at two broad areas in particular: identity and interpersonal relationships. So the question of what a dysfunctional personality is largely depends on how the individual functions in these areas, especially when faced with stressors. There are certain things to look for.
When testing identity, the following areas can be assessed: 1) The degree of integration and integrity in self-image, especially under stress or coercion; and 2) the ability and quality of self-control. A healthy / resilient (also known as functional) identity is characterized by a general level of self-acceptance and compassion, the ability to have reasonable boundaries with significant others, the ability to tolerate a range of emotions while maintaining a consistent sense of self Ability to accept oneself, reflect on and narrate one's own experiences accurately, and the ability to recognize and experience different states of the self, but not to become unglued, overly conflicted, or dramatically inconsistent when responding to the pressures of such different states. In addition, a functional identity is associated with the ability to effectively set goals over the long term and live by internalized standards that serve as guidelines but feel that they own those standards and are not overly rigid or inflexible about them.
It follows that an unhealthy / vulnerable (also known as dysfunctional) identity with problems of appreciation and acceptance, fragmentation, the difficulty of tolerating strong emotions, the lack of harmony between feelings and self-image, the presence of self-states that lead to associated with it are unpredictable or contradicting actions, rigidity and the inability to control oneself effectively according to internalized goals and ethical standards.
When examining how people's relationships work, the following areas can be assessed: 1) The level of empathy and ability to depict others in a complex, nuanced manner; and 2) the quality and intimacy of relationships with other people. An individual with a healthy or functional relationship system feels valued by important others, expresses attachment and compassion, and has a portfolio of strong, long-term relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. They can work together effectively and demonstrate an ability to value other experiences, are able to harbor conflicting feelings (eg, guilt or anger) without being overwhelmed, and share how others perceive them and how their actions matter play in social exchange.
In contrast, someone with dysfunctional relationships has significant problems building lasting, intimate relationships, has difficulty empathizing with others in complex and effective ways, often has no insight into their own roles in conflict and the responses it evokes Difficulty trusting or having compassion for others and generally feeling devalued by important others.
There has been a strong push for the DSM-5 to replace the current categorical system of different personality types (e.g. narcissistic, borderline, avoidant, etc.) with a multi-dimensional system that characterizes the functioning of the personality in the way described above. On 11th In the hour, those in charge of the DSM-5 decided not to go with the dimensional approach. Hence, the approach outlined above is not institutionalized as it might have been. Still, it is important that the concept of personality function be formulated for both clinicians and laypeople. It is also important to know that, as described above, functioning exists on a continuum and that depending on the circumstances, other people and stressors can be very different. A person can be relatively functional in some contexts and quite dysfunctional in others.
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