A collection of some of the most common reactions and responses to personality disordered behaviors that many of us have instinctively tried, sometimes over and over, but that have not been effective in most cases in helping improve our quality of life or the quality of life of those who have the personality disorder.
Abuse Amnesia - Abuse Amnesia is a form of cognitive suppression where an abuse victim has trouble remembering episodes where their boundaries have been violated.
Amateur Diagnosis - An Amateur Diagnosis is when a non-qualified individual confronts someone whom they suspect suffers from a personality-disorder and shares this belief with them, usually in the hope that this revelation will help to improve the relationship or the situation.
Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.
Codependency - A Codependency is a relationship in which an otherwise mentally-healthy person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected by an addiction or mental illness.
"Control-Me" Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.
Denial - Denial is the practice of believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Enabling - Enabling is a pattern of behavior, often adopted by abuse victims, which seeks to avoid confrontation and conflict by absorbing the abuse without challenging it or setting boundaries. The perpetrator of the abuse is thus "enabled" to continue their pattern of behavior.
Fix-It Syndrome - Fix-It Syndrome is when a non-personality-disordered individual frequently puts themselves in the position of a caretaker who is responsible for compensating for their personality-disordered loved-one's behaviors, cleaning up any messes created by their actions and fixing any problems arising from their mental health issues.
Fleas - When a non-personality-disordered individual (Non-PD) begins imitating or emulating some of the disordered behavior of a loved one or family member with a personality disorder this is sometimes referred to as "getting fleas".
Lack of Boundaries - the absence of rules, limits and guidelines for acceptable behavior. Inconsistent or intermittent reinforcement of consequences for inappropriate behavior is common among both abusers and abuse victims.
Intermittent Reinforcement - Intermittent Reinforcement is when rules, rewards or personal boundaries are handed out or enforced inconsistently and occasionally. This usually encourages another person to keep pushing until they get what they want from you without changing their own behavior.
Imposed Isolation - When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family.
JADE - Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain. To avoid circular conversations, don't Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain.
Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.
Obedience - In 1961 and 1962, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram performed a famous series of experiments which demonstrated that about 2 out of 3 people will perform a cruel action towards another person if instructed to do so by someone whom they regard as an authority figure. This demonstrated that most people are prone to doing something they do not want to do, even something they would normally regard as "wrong", just because they are told to do it by an assertive or authoritative person.
Rescuer Syndrome - Rescuer Syndrome is when a non-personality-disordered individual assumes that their own strength, skill and knowledge are adequate to compensate for a personality-disordered individual's behavioral issues.
Self-Doubt - It's common for people who have lived a long time in a highly charged environment with a personality-disordered individual to begin to doubt their own moral compass and their own mental health.
Stinkin' Thinkin' - The Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking - a popular list of common negative thought patterns from The Feeling Good Handbook, by David D. Burns, M.D.
Stockholm Syndrome - Stockholm Syndrome is when a hostage, kidnap victim or abuse victim develops a sense of loyalty or co-operation towards their captor or abuser, disregarding the abuse or the danger and protecting or sustaining the perpetrator.
Thought Policing - Any process of trying to question, control, or unduly influence another person's thoughts or feelings.