Personality Disorders (Part 5)

Fearful and Anxious Personality Disorders

Last week we talked about Histrionic and Narcissistic Personality Disorders and I asked you to think if you’ve seen or know anyone fitting the description.

Perhaps you said to yourself, “I can’t think of seeing any lately?

Ever heard of “Cougars?”  No, not four footed type but the two legged 40+ year old females who stalk 20+ year old guys (called “Cubs”).

There are TV shows, cruises and even a “Ms. Cougar Pageant” which promotes this new fad.

It’s guaranteed that you’ll find a good percentage of Histrionic and Borderline Personality disordered females within the contestants.  They have a desperate need for attention with self image based upon turned heads and adrenaline producing flirtatious encounters. I’m quite sure that if you offer sex to the average 20 year old male without a moral compass, he’ll take it.  Quite sad actually, and he’s not asking “Why?”… he’s just asking when and where.

This week we are discussing Cluster C:  Fearful and anxious personality disorders.  They are:   Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive – Compulsive Personality Disorders.

“Avoidant Personality Disorder” is  a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative criticism. They comprise .5-1% of the general population and up to 10% of the clinical patients. Four or more of the following may confirm a diagnosis:

  • Avoids occupations with significant personal contact because of fear of criticism, disapproval or rejection.
  • Unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked.
  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of fear of being ridiculed.
  • Preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations.
  • Inhibited in new social situations due to feelings of inadequacy.
  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, inferior to others.
  • Reluctant to take risks or to engage in new activities because they may prove embarrassing.

“Dependent Personality Disorder” is a pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of.  This is one of the most prevalent personality disorders with mental health clinics.  Five or more of the following point to the possibility of diagnosis.

  • Difficulty making everyday decisions without advice or reassurance from others.
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life.
  • Rarely disagrees with others for fear of loss of support.
  • Difficulty initiating new projects due to poor self confidence in judgment.
  • Will go to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support.
  • Feels helpless when alone, because of fear of not being able to care for self.
  • Quickly seeks others to care for him or her when a relationship ends.
  • Preoccupied with fears of being left alone to take care of self.

Is it possible that many of our prisons might contain some of these sad individuals? And most certainly, some who would be identified as the “victim” love style would fit this disorder as well.

“Obsessive – Compulsive Personality Disorder” is a pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, efficiency and interpersonal closeness. They comprise about 1% of the population and 3-10% of those presenting in mental health clinics.  Four or more of the following may point to a diagnosis.

  • Preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.
  • Shows perfectionism that interferes with completion of a task.
  • Devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.
  • Over conscientious, scrupulous and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics or values.
  • Unable to discard worn out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value.
  • Reluctant to delegate tasks, unless others submit to his or her exact way of doing things.
  • Adopts a miserly spending style toward self or others, money is something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.
  • Shows stubbornness and rigidity.

OCPD is different than Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is an anxiety disorder.   OCD folk, like the TV show “Monk” are people who need to straighten, polish, arrange, wash hands, create daily rituals, and count things.  They do this for their own self soothing … finding relief through rituals.  In contrast, people who are OCPD are very controlling of others.  God says through the Apostle Paul:

“I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.
For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness,
so now present your members as slaves to righteousness,
resulting in sanctification (Romans 6:19).”

It is possible to escape these injurious patterns, yet with much work.  A slave is only and totally devoted to the one he or she serves.  Here, God is calling for a relentless pursuit and total dedication to doing what is right.

Thanks and blessings,


Milan & Kay

Next week: We will discuss two things.  The first is what specific steps can be taken to grow out of these conditions and the second is what you can do if someone you love has a personality disorder.