How Can We Help? What Can We Do?
People with personality disorders are very challenging. Many times they feel impossible. If you are the one with the disorder, I’m sure that you can attest to the fact that your emotions can be very hard to control at times. If you are associated with someone who has a personality disorder, life can be very difficult for you and your family. So how can we help? What can we do?
If you recognize yourself within one or several of the personality disorders, here are some things you can do to grow toward healthiness (not in any order).
- Own the diagnosis, and ask God to help you manage it.
- Humble yourself and confess the diagnosis to others, especially to your family.
- Ask forgiveness of them and others that you have hurt.
- Join a Christian 12 step group and work the steps within community.
- Accountability with a small group of people whom you trust and respect.
- Study the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders Fourth Edition).
- Study your childhood, talk to parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, family pictures, etc. to understand the culture within which you were raised.
- Get into therapy and a support group with similar struggles and go through a re-parenting experience.
- Invite your family to speak into your life when they see your personality disorder traits and characteristics surfacing.
- Learn to grieve and be angry at the people of the past who caused your pain and injuries.
- While you may never confront them directly, you may wish to write a letter (which you do not send) and / or share with a friend or therapist your true feelings and opinions.
- In some cases you may wish to confront those who hurt you, and this needs to be well thought through with good preparation and planning.
- Ultimately, forgiveness needs to be granted to them to free you from resentment or bitterness.
- Take each of the DSM IV Criterion for your personality disorder and trace it historically, mourn & grieve the reasons for its origins.
- Take responsibility to manage the symptoms and behaviors.
- Medication can help lower levels of anxiety, irritability, reactivity, mood swings and depression that often accompany personality disorders.
- Weekly family therapy to help your family learn new ways of relating, speaking and listening to each other.
- Individual therapy to help you learn ways of thinking, feeling and self regulating.
- Join a support group with others with same condition.
If you recognize someone that you love or are related to that has one or several of the personality disorders, here are some things that you can do to help them grow toward healthiness.
- Be a truth teller. Confront the person with the evidence that you see and show them the diagnosis and description from the internet or this newsletter.
- Go to a support group for spouses of those suffering from the disorder.
- Protect self and family. If violent or threatening behavior occurs, call 911, have an escape plan and a safe house / family to which you can flee. Tell them ahead what your problem is and ask them to be ready to receive you 24/7.
- Affirm your love for the person with the personality disorder.
- Draw boundaries and establish limits to the others’ behaviors and attitudes.
- Tell others, including church leaders what is going on in your house.
- Get into your own therapy to work on fear, assertiveness, victim thinking, boundaries, healing from your own hurt past.
- Create an intervention with a team to confront the spouse. If they will not listen, a legal separation may be necessary to get their attention.
- If they have committed adultery repeatedly and you cannot get them to repent and turn toward a healthy healing direction, divorce is an option.
- Learn to manage your own emotional reactivity.
- Invite and listen to deep hurts from their past and love them in their tormented souls.
- Your own internal growth will provide strength and containment which will help to create security for the other person.
While these lists are certainly not exhaustive, they provide a basis for growing, healing and protecting. I hope that they will be helpful.
Thanks and blessings,
Milan & Kay
Next week: Kay Will Be Giving You Some Valuable Relationship Tips.