Love our Articles? Be the first one to read our newest Articles.

Physical Hurt By Parents in childhood Can lead an Individual to Personality Disorder!

20 Jan 2016

Personality is a common term that we don’t hesitate to use in our day-to-day conversations. Calling someone ‘paranoid’ or ‘borderline’ or ‘histrionic’ just takes a moment but do we realize the reality behind what these terms actually mean?

Personality disorders refer to deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving that are inflexible and generally lead to impaired relationships with others. They are rigid and pervasive and hence cause serious problems and impairment of functioning for those who are afflicted with these disorders. The way in which they differ from personality traits or minor personality disturbances is that to be diagnosed as a personality disorder, a behavioral pattern must cause significant distress or impairment in personal, social, and/or occupational situations.

Personality disorders are present in 10 to 15 percent of the adult population. Most individuals with personality disorders lead almost normal lives and often only seek treatment during times of increased stress or social demands. Most people can relate to some or all of the personality traits; the difference being that it does not affect most people's daily functioning to the same degree it might for someone diagnosed with one of these disorders.

Symptoms of Personality Disorders

Several broad categories of personality disorders exist, each with a defining characteristic. Disorders can co-occur, and symptoms can blur together. Some of these symptoms include eccentric behavior, dramatic or erratic behavior, and anxious or fearful behavior. As someone who is suffering from personality disorder, you may be experiencing one or more of the following-

·         Suspicion that everyone is out to hurt them

·         Avoiding social interaction completely and being indifferent to social cues

·         Noted disregard for the rights 

·         Fear of abandonment, self-harm, extreme mood swings, chronic feeling of emptiness

·         Overly dramatic or emotional way, usually to draw attention

·         Inflated view of self or importance, often at the expense of others

·         Feelings of inadequacy, hesitant to express feelings

·         Difficulty functioning without the aid or encouragement of others

·         Compulsion to engage in repetitive behaviors or thought patterns


Childhood Abuse and Personality Disorder

Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. As smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness. Among the causes cited for personality disorders, one that is implicated most often is childhood abuse. Both verbal and physical abuse seems to play a role. Children whose parents screamed at them, told them they didn’t love them or threatened to send them away were three times more likely as other children to suffer from personality disorders in adulthood. Physical abuse has been seen to lead to elevated antisocial and depressive personality disorders. Similarly, children who undergo sexual abuse are more likely to suffer from borderline personality disorder in adulthood. Not only abuse, childhood neglect is also implicated as a causal factor, being four times as likely to cause personality disorders in adulthood. Family instability and lack of parental affection and supervision during childhood and adolescence predict dependent and passive-aggressive personality disorders in adulthood. Childhood maltreatment, on the other hand, predicts increased risk for antisocial personality disorder during early adulthood.

Chronic maltreatment or child abuse sets the stress system of the individual on high alert which over the long term, increases risk for psychological problems including personality disorders. This dysregulation of the system leads to intensified feelings of anxiety, or fear or lack of pleasure. Further, traumatization as a child leads to retreat into isolation or displaying clingy behavior as an adult. There is a tendency to either be in the position of power, where they “inspire fear and loathing” or to be in the subordinate position where they feel helpless and behave submissively.


Impact of Personality Disorders

People with personality disorders exhibit poor impulse control and have a propensity to substance abuse. They find it difficult to start or maintain relationships, or work effectively with others. As a result, many may feel hurt, distressed, alienated and alone. They may have an increased withdrawal from socialization, have mood swings and are even more prone to depression. They may have suicidal thoughts; the risk of suicide in someone with a personality disorder is three times higher than average. There may even be a decline in physical health due to lack of care. They may also find themselves in legal conflicts as they are unable to keep out of trouble.

Personality disorders affect how a person thinks and behaves, making it hard for them to live a normal life. They may be very inflexible and may not understand why they need to change, as they do not feel they have a problem.



Personality disorders are very deep-rooted, and therefore, are difficult to treat or "cure”, but they can be helped to manage their difficulties.


Medication is often used, but mainly to control other, associated symptoms. Medication can help control risk and stress but does not have any long term impact on the personality disorder itself.


Psychodynamic therapies are seen to be more useful for people with personality disorders. These therapies aim to help them understand their feelings and to find better coping mechanisms. They address specific aspects of thoughts, feelings, behaviour or attitude, and do not claim to treat the entire personality disorder of the person.



Although there are no tips to intervene with personality disorders, you can start by doing the following in your therapy sessions and daily life-

·         Be honest about yourself and your problems.

·         Accept responsibility for solving your problems, even if you did not cause them.

·         Think about and monitor your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

·         Be open to change and stay motivated.


You can also start with-

·         Practice breathing exercises often.

·         When a comment upsets you, wait atleast five seconds before responding, and repeat ‘calm down’ in your mind several times.

·         When you are feeling angry, stop and ask yourself how a family member or friend may look at the same issue differently.

·         Try not to use terms like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘awful’, and ‘horrible’.



Personality is an integral part of an individual and hence more resistant to change. However, keeping in view, the huge impact it has on daily living, it’s important to engage in therapy to begin the process of change and take a step towards a better life.


If you have identified with the symptoms above and/or if you have faced tremendous agony due to physical abuse by your own parents or members in the family, you can get complete help from 



To check the availabilty of all our doctors & psychologists for online consultation click here 


To know more about ePsyClinic's e-Mental wellness specialty clinic. Click here 




About ePsyClinic: We are an Indian health company that is now Asia's largest Online Clinic for Mental, emotional, professional and pregnancy wellness. We have India's top psychiatrists, gynecologists on our panel along with most professionally trained psychologists. Our experts’ receive special training for an effective online management and treatment of various mental health, emotional health, pregnancy health and addiction issues.




Tags: #personality disorders #parental abuse