November 27th, 2012

Department of Peace


Because I normally operate in an optimistic state of awe about everything around me, I can extol the virtues of such - the strength in doing so versus the timid, unaccomplished mess I imagine myself to otherwise be. Because this modus operandi has been so successful for me, my assumption has therefore been that those who normally operate under (any number or combination of) aggressive/contempt/apathy/pessimism are, if not unsuccessful, then at least unhappy. How can one be happy and apathetic? Or see the world with contempt and be at peace in one's heart?

What if the answer is familiarity? What if it is indeed "because" of how I respond to everything around me? Were I a different sort of fellow I might write, "Because I normally operate in a pessimistic state of disbelief about everything around I can extol the virtues of such?" A pessimist would see themselves as strong, and battle-ready, imagining themselves perhaps as a whimpering apathetic mess were they optimists. Perhaps they are on a quest to sway everyone to their side as they've discovered the path to true happiness?

Given the complexity and inflexibility of our given personalities - that which encompasses the tightly woven mesh of how we act/react at an emotional and logical level, identified by our attitude and how we choose to behave under many different stimuli - and given the many different types of personalities/personality combinations it wouldn't be accurate to say one is better than the other. In fact, it might be more accurate to see that our personality works best for each of us.

But what about personality disorders?

I wasn't kidding when I armchair-diagnosed myself with EPD in August. Wikipedia says that "Those diagnosed with a personality disorder may experience difficulties in cognition, emotiveness, interpersonal functioning or control of impulses," and are diagnosed in 40-60% of patients. That number comes from the personalities which seek out answers. Extrapolate that with 40-60% of the numerous personalities who don't. What makes us think we're not somehow in "the majority" of people? Anyone who is reading this probably has some form of personality disorder, yet depending upon personality type probably don't believe it, or don't care. Funny how personalities work, innit?

Personally my wife accuses me of being non-emotive. While I have a tendency to agree with her, I've been told by many others with different personalities that I am the most emotive person they've ever met. Which is it? Well, depending upon personality, it can be both. Perception. Expectation. I would say this blog represents the sum total of my very personal and sometimes highly emotive thoughts. Just because its not seen in my face or heard in my tone doesn't mean its not there. Perception. Expectation.

That said, I know people who do experience difficulties in cognition, difficulties in interpersonal functioning, and difficulties in control of impulses. This could be me! This could be any number of us! Surely everyone who has a personality can't have a personality disorder, so what causes one? Usually a traumatic event. Given what we know about the complexities of personalities, I would guess different people could experience the same "traumatic" event at the same time/place in their lives and we'd get many different results, some not even registering the event as traumatic, and others having the rest of their lives forever changed by it. So really, what's the big deal? Sadly, maladaptive coping skills. A big deal because now we have this person who is cognitively challenged, behaving inappropriately because of it, and thinking their behavior is normal.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders suggests, "The onset of these patterns of behavior can typically be traced back to early adolescence and the beginning of adulthood and, in some instances, childhood." Patterns of behavior. Ah. And this could NOT be me. It might NOT be any number of us. I used to read a lot of Joyce Meyer. One of her books started with her having awoke and the day was perfect! No one pissed her off, she didn't have any errant thoughts or begrudging/resentful feelings. In fact, she stated everything was as it should be in the world - then she got out of bed. Suddenly, all of that was subject to change.

Maybe Joyce Meyer has a personality disorder?

It would be foolish to dismiss the idea. Even having inconsistent patters of behavior during times of change and growth and not having suffered "truama" in my youth I considered it applicable to myself. What type of personality do you think would dismiss the possibility? Or perhaps only those with personality disorders would?