Warning: naughty language ahead!
It wasn’t the six foot five, 300 pound man with a smashed frontal lobe who could only say one thing—“Fuck!”—in a really loud voice as he banged on the nurse’s station, trying to get close enough to hurt us.
Nor was it the women who, during a fist fight I tried to break up, punched me in the stomach while I was five months pregnant that made my decision to leave abnormal psychology behind the doors of the psychiatric unit, and out of my psyche.
It was the sweet 15-year-old girl, named after a flower, and victimized by her mother’s harsh demeanor who took her hand and shoved it hard on my chest and right out the door of the career I had spent a decade building. Not literally, of course.
She rallied for my condolences for the sweet and tainted little girl lost somewhere inside of her who just wanted to be hugged and played with, and who had never gotten the chance to be touched by the grace of love. When I reflected back to her the exact story about her mother and childhood that she had told to me, slap, slap, slap, right across my energy field as if a lion had met me in the center of my spine: “You fucking bitch! How dare you talk about my mother as if she would hurt me! She would never hurt me!”
It was that girl.
It was the category the field of medicine likes to call “personality disorders” that got me. I’m intuitive and I didn’t know enough back then about how to not get roped in energetically.
Back then, we heard “ego” was basically only recognized as a Freudian term for the bridge between our angel self and our devil self, keeping the balance for the sake of living a life as a human. My interpretation of course. It wasn’t until my personal work and research outside of academia that I came to understand what the ego is really all about.
Put simply, the ego is a man-made cognitive structure that imprisons us in our own fears. It’s a faulty system of thought that tricks us into believing our human brothers and sisters are out to get us. The ego naturally believes we must attack them first in order to survive. It uses fear and separation to protect itself. It’s likely that someone, who hasn’t explored the ego from a vantage point higher than the ego itself, isn’t even aware of how asinine the idea of using separation and fear is to protect us. The ego subconsciously pushes us outside of the circle of all of our deepest wants (connection, intimacy, safety, vulnerability, freedom, bliss) by pushing everything away that could bring us these things by dressing them up as things that might harm us, that we should fear.
The ego worships death, it just doesn’t know it. It worships the ending of things, escapism, control, and it feels like it’s going to die every time we inch closer to tearing its foundation down by embarking on our soul work.
We are not our egos.
But, it’s a slippery slope not to dive in deep when we are in relationship with someone who operates a majority of the time from their ego.
Thus, though I don’t work under the paradigm of diagnosis in my private practice or personal relationships, I do know that “personality disorders” are a real big pain in the ass. They are a real thing.
What a personality disorder is, from my perspective, is exactly what it says: a personality that faultily creates fear patterns which result in needing control, energetic consumption and fearful behavior. Basically though, it boils down to control and the desire to keep the ego itself in place.
In someone with a personality disorder, this manifests itself in extreme defenses—whether they’re hot and cold behaviors, denial, attack, or extreme projections onto their fellow humans. One thing a faulty, egoic pattern of a disordered personality will not do, is take honest responsibility for its part in creating chaos. It’s a bitchy blamer and even if it voices acceptance of responsibility, it’ll likely go right back to its patterning the next day involving a different scenario or person to play along in its disordered mechanisms.
People who engage with those suffering from a disordered personality by defending their own position often feel victimized and confused, and ultimately, by being on the receiving end, disordered themselves. Essentially, when defense is met with defense, all parties are disordered. The problem is, most people aren’t aware that the disordered personality has a foundation made of defense with hollow insides. We spend our time wallowing in their projections and misdeeds as if “we” are their victim or their prey. We give them power over us simply by letting their actions confuse and undermine our own authority over ourselves.
When the girl who shifted my desires for career choice engaged me in her victimhood, when she engaged me in her projection that I was in the wrong for restating exactly what she had just said to me, that was a defense against her having to take responsibility for the portrayal of her mother. Roped into her victimhood, I might have wanted to defend her and when the tables turned toward me, she triggered my own defense responses on the road of self preservation. I left work that day wondering what mistake I had made that had caused her turn on me.
A cloud of confusion that we’re unable to articulate is what we tend to carry in our heads when engaging with the disordered personality. To make sense of their game, we play it—whether by engaging with them, or in our own heads. We don’t give ourselves permission to see that their beliefs and actions are their own which have next to nothing to do with the essence of who we are.
We take responsibility for their disordered behaviors and projections. We question what would make someone behave that way, or lie, or make deluded choices. The problem is, in order to even begin to comprehend what their game is about, we ourselves would have to be in a fear state. That is when we ourselves, become disordered.
That’s the vibration we need to move away from in order to be more like our true, spiritual nature.
I’ve sat in enough 12-step meetings to stand firm in the belief I’m through with identifying as an addict for this same reason. I am not an addict. What I am, is a divine being who at one point was operating in fear—and that fear’s defense was carelessness.
And they —people with personality disorders—are not their disorders.
We do not have to correspond with those who suffer from a disordered personality believing that we have to “fix” them, that we need to fix ourselves to meet their expectations, or that we need to understand their reality to solve their fear, or their disorder. Whatever kind of relationship we are in with someone who has traits of a personality disorder, whether it be a lover, a mother, an old friend, or a student, we are granted the option to recognize that they are not their personality.
Author: Stacy Hoch
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman