Personality disorders are a growing problem in the United States. Recent NIH studies indicate that 20% or more of Americans suffer from one or more personality disorders. Author Bill Eddy points out that in his experience about half of “High Conflict Personalities” (or HCPs) involved in destructive divorce and child custody battles probably do have one or more full-blown personality disorders. The other half may not meet all the criteria for a full-blown personality disorder yet still show many traits consistent with troublesome personality disorders such as BPD and NPD.
I believe that about half of HCPs have a personality disorder and about half have some of these traits, but not a full personality disorder. This means that they are still difficult, but may respond more easily to approaches designed for people with personality disorders.
It helps to understand some of these traits, but it is important to not tell someone you think they have a personality disorder. They may become very defensive and angry with you, as defensiveness is a common characteristic of those with personality disorders and those just with traits.
I fully agree with Eddy’s advice about not telling a person they may have a personality disorder. To be clear, this is not because it is better for them but primarily because hearing this news seems to turn them into even more destructive abusers than they were in the first place. Even if you are only trying to help, they will probably interpret your words as dire threats and redouble their efforts to destroy you. There is also a substantial risk that you will be ridiculed for your reasonable beliefs by divorce industry “professionals” who have an agenda that does not make room for unpleasant truths unless they are stated by an expensive paid expert.