All of us have healthy and sick aspects of our personalities. It’s more or less normal to be nuts. Life takes its toll. Life wounds all heels and all of the rest of us too. I am not sure if there are any truly healthy people. If you went through 25,000 people, you might find one healthy person. I had a therapist once who told me that he had dealt with 20,000 in his career, and he hadn’t met one healthy person yet. He was of the opinion that there was no such thing. The general idea then would be to try to be least nuts and the most healthy that you can be and banish ideas such crazy, sane, unhealthy and healthy.
Sure we all have disordered personalities, but some people have personalities that are so disordered that we say they have a problem. We do not like to dole out diagnoses like candy, and there has been a strong movement nowadays to avoid pathologizing normal behavior. It’s a huge backlash against the DSMization of mental illness or the medical model as they put it. But I am a fan of the medical model. In my work, I have found that it is pretty much valid.
We call something a disorder if it making you miserable or seriously impairs your ability to function. It also may well be getting in the way with other people as others may be reacting badly to your disorder.
In the case personality disorders, these folks generally think they are fine and that there is nothing wrong with them. The problem is with everyone else.
So who says they’re nuts? Well the problem is that in the PD’s we are dealing with a personality that is so far along the disordered spectrum that even other people start thinking that there is something seriously off about this person’s personality. It has to be pretty bad as humans are tolerant folks, and most of us are aware that we’re at least a bit nuts themselves. People with PD’s are abrasive, annoying and exasperating and often cause a lot of impersonal chaos and drama. In other cases, the PD makes it very hard for the person to function socially. The person seems so strange and weird that others simply do not wish to deal with them. We think this is a problem because the PD is seriously getting into the way as far as functioning.
There continue to be arguments about the validity of some disorders.