You’ve probably heard words like “narcissist” and “borderline” thrown about.
But you’ve probably never heard those words used in a kind way.
Why is that?
It’s because personality disorders come attached with SO MUCH stigma, even within the mental health field.
I worked in a large east coast hospital a few years back–in an inpatient mental health unit, mind you–where doctors and nurses regularly dismissed, and even made fun of, patients with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
To put it mildly, it was awful to witness and hear things like this coming from medical professionals claiming to be operating in a healing capacity.
But it didn’t surprise me.
Because personality disorders are difficult.
When someone wants all of your attention and then pushes you away as soon as you provide it, it can be infuriating.
When someone makes it all about them and manipulates you with their words and actions, it can be maddening.
You don’t have to be a trained physician to know that some kinds of personalities are really challenging to deal with.
And this is exactly why we must talk about it more.
Because, the important thing to remember is this:
People who happen to have personality disorders are human beings too. No matter what they do or say, people with personality disorders were also let down by the mental health system in ways big and small.
Which reminds me, I also worked in a middle school mental health program, and something awful happened there as well.
Challenging students started to get labeled as likely having conduct disorder, which is one step away from antisocial personality disorder in the minds of laypeople and medical professionals alike.
Even if this WAS NOT the diagnosis–and it doesn’t really matter if it was or not–once a kid was labeled as such, he was deemed irredeemable and largely pushed to the side by the school system.