Lightbulb Moment


Lightbulb Moment - A Lightbulb Moment is the description many non-personality-disordered individuals use when they first discover the existence of personality disorders. For the first time, they have discovered a plausible explanation for the strange and frightening behaviors of a loved-one or family member who suffers from a personality disorder and learn that their situation is not uncommon. It is as if a light were just turned on.


Many friends and family of personality-disordered individuals struggle for years trying to cope with their loved-one's destructive and often chaotic behavior with no help. Knowledge about personality disorders is growing but there is still a significant gap between what has been learned and how much of that information has been provided to the people who need it most - the people who are caring for a person who suffers from a personality-disordered individual on a regular basis.

These people often feel isolated - having no family or friends who they can talk to openly about the situation or having nobody who really understands the confusion and frustration they feel.

Even among mental health professionals they may come into contact with, there may exist a professional avoidance that prevents that person from helping them effectively:

Professional Avoidance - Professional Avoidance of Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders describes a common reluctance among mental health providers to diagnose or treat individuals whom they suspect may suffer from a personality disorder.

When these people finally learn about the existence of personality disorders as a diagnosis and see many of the characteristics of their situation described and explained, there is often a great sense of relief. This is often referred to as the "light bulb effect" or "light bulb moment".

Potential Pitfalls of the Light Bulb Moment

While the Light Bulb Moment provides a welcome and much needed sense of relief to a non-personality-disordered individual, some Non-PD's make the mistake of thinking that all their problems will be easily solved now that they are armed with a diagnosis.

There are a large number of lightbulb moments described in our Introductions forum here: