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What Is Personality Disorder? | The Three Clusters Explained

Personality Disorder Manipulation

Personality Disorder Manipulation - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

  • Most of us know someone, we believe, could be struggling with a personality disorder. Often we don’t have a name for it, but a good one would be personality disorder manipulation.
  • People with a personality disorder often know how to manipulate! We recognize it from the way they have a tough time regulating their emotions.
  • We may also notice how people with a personality disorder swing from one mood to the next – we even see behavioral problems.
  • Someone with a personality disorder is quite different from the person who just experiences the usual ups and downs in their mood.
  • A personality disorder can be serious at times and lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • If you have family or friends with a personality disorder, there are therapies, support, and medication.
  • There are natural ways to manage the symptoms.

What Is Personality Disorder?

The American Psychiatric Association defines it as: “A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.”

A manipulative personality disorder involves patterns of behaviors and thoughts over a long-term period – behaviors and thoughts that are usually inflexible and unhealthy.

These can turn into behavioral patterns that can cause serious problems at work or home with relationships.

It is because these people have trouble with how to deal with the everyday problems and stresses that come their way, and their relationships with others are often stormy.
The symptoms will be different for each person with a personality disorder, ranging from mild to severe.

What Causes a Personality Disorder?

Causes a personality disorder
Research shows that a personality disorder can be the result of genetics, parenting skills, peer influences, or abuse. There are other factors, too.

Long ago, people thought that those who suffered from manipulative personality disorder were evil, lazy, and not okay.

But studies suggest that the above causes can contribute to the development of obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic, or other personality disorders.

Interestingly, researchers have studied a malfunctioning gene[1] that causes the obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Other clinical studies indicate that genetics can contribute to anxiety aggression, or fear – all traits that resemble a personality disorder.

Let’s Look at the Three Clusters and Types of Personality Disorders

There are ten different personality disorders[2]. These are what make up the three clusters and types of personality disorders. Each cluster, which we’ll discuss below, has similarities within each cluster. These three clusters are:

Cluster A – the odd, eccentric type of people
Cluster B – the dramatic, emotional, and erratic types of people
Cluster C – the people who are anxious and fearful

Sometimes, a person can be diagnosed with more than only one personality disorder.

Research has shown that personality disorders that are in the same cluster can co-occur with another personality disorder manipulation. See how co-occurrence emerges in greater detail.

Cluster A – The “Odd” Or Eccentric Type Personality

These are people who suffer from social awkwardness and social withdrawal symptoms. Their symptoms bear a strong connection to relatives who have schizophrenia; the disorders just being less extensive than the schizophrenia personality. Cluster A personality disorder has these types:

  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

All the above have behaviors that appear to be eccentric or unusual to others, which can often lead to social problems.

These people usually prefer to be alone, they don’t usually want or enjoy close friendships – they often have inappropriate response reactions to what others say or do.

Cluster A types have relationship issues because they are suspicious, detached, and peculiar – scared of being deceived or exploited by friends, family, or others.

They show personality disorder manipulation symptoms like angry outbursts and display secretive, cold, and jealous behaviors.

Cluster B – The Emotional, Dramatic, and Erratic Personality

Erratic Personality
Cluster B personality disorder involves people who battle to control their impulses and emotions.

It’s almost impossible for these people to have healthy, happy relationships. Their emotions are extremely impulsive and intense – being overly dramatic, promiscuous, law-breaking type personalities.

They also display antisocial personality disorder, which can already be showing up in childhood – they disregard rules and social norms and show a lack of empathy for others.

The four typical personality types displayed by the Cluster B personality disorder are:

  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder

Cluster C – The Anxious, Depressive, and Fearful Personality

Whatever disorder you have in Cluster C, you could either cling to people or avoid them. There are three types of personality disorders in this cluster:

  • Dependent personality disorder – You cling to the few important people in your life, losing your self-confidence, even being submissive toward them, and not being able to make your plans
  • Avoidant personality disorder – you avoid people because you are afraid they will criticize or reject you. You fear disappointing them
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder – You might push people away to show you are in control and order, following the rules no matter what, particularly the ones you have made for yourself, etc. to the point of stubbornness and single-mindedness.

Diagnosis of the Above Personality Disorders

Symptoms personality disorder
When you feel that you or someone might have a personality disorder, it will require a mental health professional to diagnose it.

The health specialist will look at long-term patterns of how you function as well as your personality disorder manipulation symptoms.

Diagnosis is also made in people who are over the age of 18. For those below 18, they are not typically assessed as their personalities are still in the developing stage.

Signs and Symptoms Personality Disorder Manipulation

In the past century, care for those who were mentally ill or those who suffered from personality disorder manipulation was practically non-existent.

People with the symptoms were sent off to alms-houses or prisons, and other people would avoid them. Below are just some signs today that might suggest a person has a personality disorder:

  • Fear of being abandoned – Just something innocent of a loved one arriving home late from work can trigger intense fear or feelings of abandonment
  • Intense, short-lived relationships – Sometimes, they believe they are in love with someone who can make them whole again – then they are quickly disappointed. Friends and family then suffer from emotional whiplash, which are mood swings known to be personality disorder manipulation
  • Unclear, shifting self-image – Sense of self is unstable – sometimes they feel good about themselves, and then they hate themselves
  • Impulsive, self-destructive behavior – They often engage in sensation-seeking and are harmful when upset
  • Self-harm – They often act out with suicidal behavior
  • Extreme emotional ups and downs – One minute they are happy, then they are down and depressed
  • Feelings of emptiness – They have a void inside them and indulge in things like food, sex, or drugs to satisfy, but they aren’t satisfied
  • Enragement with a short temper – Often, these symptoms can be the warning signs of a nervous breakdown
  • Out of touch with reality – Appearing spaced out

Treatment for Personality Disorders

Treatment for Personality Disorders
It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to diagnose a personality disorder without a medical assessment.

You need to seek professional help because it can be confused or overlap with other conditions. A mental health professional will need to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis.

  • Talk therapy with a qualified therapist – This is one of the best treatments. Experts believe that weekly therapy, involving education about the disorder, family support, and social and emotional skills training, can treat most manifestations of personality disorder manipulation.
  • Medication – Many people with personality disorders believe that pharmacologic treatment will fix everything. Unfortunately, research shows that it is not so helpful. The FDA hasn’t even approved any drugs for the treatment of personality disorders. But that is not to say medicines don’t work. Look at the list of medications that your therapist or doctor might prescribe for you. If you want to clarify some things, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
  • Alternative therapy – Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM is an effective remedy for personality disorder manipulation symptoms. It may require exercise and the use of plant-based supplements.

Risk Factors, Complications, and the Significance of Helping Someone

There are certain risk factors and complications to consider before you try certain medications.

Some medications can worsen symptoms of personality disorder manipulation. Some medications can also be habit-forming.

Remember that antidepressants are sometimes associated with an increased risk for suicidal thoughts, particularly in young people.

Psychotherapy[3]remains the standard treatment approach for personality disorders.

To help someone with a personality disorder, assist them to manage stress with strategies, such as deep breathing, exercise, progressive muscle relaxation[4], and visualization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Toxic people, like psychopaths, manifest personality disorder manipulation and control. This study shows their toxic characteristics[5]. They make other people feel shocked, confused, worried, and anxious.

This happens because they are unable to deal with everyday events – they fight back by becoming angry and emotional. They will even shut down and become neglectful, like angry, sulky children and adolescents rebelling against their mommy. You can see it when things don’t go their way – they will sulk and blame and lie their way out.

A personality disorder can develop as a way of coping with troubling situations or a lot of stress in your life. Some people who were abused or neglected as children can develop a personality disorder. It’s their way of coping with the fear, anxiety, and pain around them.


There isn’t a single treatment that is suitable for every person who suffers from a personality disorder.

The right route for you will be all about your symptoms, medical history, and response to the available treatments.

All are most effective when they go along with personality disorder manipulation psychotherapy. Your doctor will know what is right for you.

Start by observing self-care, which is about taking care of your diet, exercise, sleep, daily routine, and relationships. You aren’t alone in this, and there is help.

Even though personality disorders are hard to treat, dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive therapy can help.

Because people with personality disorders think abnormal thoughts and sometimes experience abnormal behaviors – these keep them from functioning well.

Whatever personality disorder you have or whatever cluster group you fall in, the personality disorder manipulation symptoms don’t go away on their own – they require treatments.

Today, psychologists and researchers are finding wonderful new ways and approaches to treat these hard-to-treat personality disorders.

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