Acting In


Acting In behavior refers to a subset of personality disorder traits that are more self-destructive than outwardly-destructive.


Personality-Disordered Individuals often behave in ways that are destructive to themselves and to those around them. When a behavior or trait is more self-destructive than outwardly-destructive, that behavior or trait is sometimes referred to as "acting-in".

People who suffer from Cluster A (odd or eccentric) personality disorders Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) & Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) more typically engage in "acting-in" behaviors.

People who suffer from Cluster B (dramatic, emotional, or erratic) disorders - Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) Borderline personality disorder (BPD), Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) & Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) more typically engage in "acting-out" behaviors.

People who suffer from Cluster C (anxious or fearful disorders) - Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) Dependent personality disorder (DPD) Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) more typically engage in "acting-in" behaviors.

Examples of Acting-In Behaviors

Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.

Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.

"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.

Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.

Depression - People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with symptoms of depression.

Dissociation- A psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.

Escape To Fantasy - Taking an imaginary excursion to a happier, more hopeful place.

Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.

Identity Disturbance - A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view

Low-Functioning - A Low-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is unable to conceal their dysfunctional behavior from public view or maintain a positive public or professional profile.

Low Self-Esteem - A common name for a negatively-distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality.

Mirroring - Imitating or copying another person's characteristics, behaviors or traits.

Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.

Perfectionism - The maladaptive practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unattainable or unsustainable standard of organization, order, or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in other areas of living.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Selective Competence - Demonstrating different levels of intelligence, memory, resourcefulness, strength or competence depending on the situation or environment.

Self-Harm - Any form of deliberate, premeditated injury, such as cutting, poisoning or overdosing, inflicted on oneself.

Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.

Self-Victimization - Casting oneself in the role of a victim.