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When you say someone is schizoid

Published: 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

I’m grateful my eccentricities can be explained. While never being diagnosed as having a personality disorder, my mental health issues have rendered me strange in the eyes and mind of many, including my own. 

Looking back, I think I must have been a severely dysfunctional person in every relationship I’ve had across my life’s entire spectrum. With appropriate and continuous intervention, I’ve become more sensitive to my difficulties and now limit my relations in order to control exposure and spare others the sometimes awkwardness. 

But I recall having a fierce exchange of words with an individual whom I considered (secretly) to be dysfunctional, who branded me “evil and wicked and in need of professional help” (which I was receiving at the time and which is exactly what I thought he needed). 

He, having accepted his life as normal, having justified his quiddity and having had his “dysfunction” sanctioned/buoyed by others, was sufficiently cocky to rush to condemnation, labelling me without regard to his own spoiling situation. He had more money and influence, too, so I guess he felt better-placed to judge. 

That’s the way of the world, unfortunately, and may the forces be with you if you’re in a subordinate situation with someone far removed from the reality that you may not just “be difficult” but may be genuinely in need of intercession/intervention. 

One psychiatrist suspected it was bipolarity because I could run the breadth of emotions in sub-ten timing. Another treated me for clinical depression for more years than I want to count, teaching me to temper my rage, too. 

“Schizoid” is what my subordinates, peers, managers, acquaintances and relatives said/say without education/information and therefore sans empathy/sympathy. 

For some, I remain as “just plain evil—a bossy bully, who’s always right.” Somewhere, someone wrote that my behaviour was that of “an old n*****”; and described me/my personality to others as “high-handed haughtiness, incontinent, cold-hearted, and fierce (and someone) who won’t hesitate to act vengefully, spitefully, or even wickedly to someone who has tried to be a genuine friend and helped in times of troubles.” 

I’ve been labelled “a case of pure hate and acting normal rather than love. (One) who can only love in the good times but when you cross her, all love cut short…as every member of her family has experienced—from her mother come down.” 

That judgment came close to the end of my deepest crisis yet, where for almost six months I suffered many things internally without the knowledge of what was happening and without reaching out. I was mostly reclusive and extremely pre-emptive. 

So, after another violent verbal confrontation I received a single-spaced, 14-page typewritten missive, which was addressed to others who read it and then gave it to me. The damage that was meant to be inflicted has never dissipated but I continue working to improve my mental health circumstances. 

Cluster B category of the Personality Disorders (PD) is called the dramatic, emotional and erratic cluster, and includes Antisocial PD, Histrionic PD, Narcissistic PD, and Borderline PD. These disorders share problems with impulse control and emotional regulation. 

The Antisocial PD is characterised by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of other people that often manifests as hostility and/or aggression. The aggressive features of this personality disorder make it stand out among other personality disorders. 

Deceit, theft and other serious violations of standard rules of conduct and manipulation are also central features. In many cases hostile-aggressive and deceitful behaviours may first appear during childhood and include acts such as bullying or intimidation. 

They may have a reckless disregard for property—they set fires—and often place themselves in dangerous or risky situations. They frequently act on impulsive urges without considering the consequences. This difficulty with impulse control results in loss of employment, accidents, legal difficulties and incarceration. 

People with Antisocial PD typically don’t experience genuine remorse but can feign remorse when it’s in their best interest to do so (such as when standing before a judge). They take little to no responsibility for their actions. In fact, they will often blame their victims for “causing” their wrong actions, or deserving of their fate. 

The Histrionic PDs are attention-seeking individuals, flamboyant, and theatrical, with exaggerated emotional expression (the so-called “drama queens”). They must be the centre of attention, are quite flirtatious or seductive, and like to dress in a manner that draws attention to them. 

Yet simultaneously, their emotional expression is vague, shallow and lacking in detail and may be deemed disingenuous and insincere. They can appear flighty and fickle. Their behavioural style often gets in the way of truly intimate relationships, but it’s also the case that they’re uncomfortable being alone. When they are in relationships, they often imagine relationships to be more intimate in nature than they actually are. They are suggestible, that is, easily influenced by other people’s suggestions and opinions. 

• (Diagnostic information courtesy: http://www.dsm5.org/)