7 Signs Your Mom May Have A Personality Disorder, According To Experts
If someone close to you has a personality disorder, it can be somewhat challenging. While it's very possible to have a good relationship, it will take a lot of patience and understanding. But what happens if the person with the personality disorder is your own mother? According to experts, it can affect you in a number of different ways.
"When a parent has a personality disorder, it can be extremely difficult for their children," Dr. Darrel Turner, president of Turner Psychology, tells Bustle. "This is particularly true when it's the mother. When a child grows up with a personality disordered mother, the maternal model for that child can be toxic. This can skew the child's sense of what is 'normal', appropriate and responsible."
There are many different types of personality disorders, which are divided into "clusters." Each cluster has its own triggers, symptoms, and characteristics. For instance, someone with an avoidant personality may stray from interactions with others in order to prevent failure. Someone with a paranoid personality disorder may have trouble trusting anyone, even family members. Those with a narcissistic personality disorder will have a hard time connecting and truly caring about those close to them unless they serve a purpose. Because of this, Dr. Turner says, children will be at a much higher risk of some type of abuse.
Here are some signs your mom has a personality disorder, according to experts.
1. She Has A Tendency To Split The Family Apart
If your mom's personality disorder has her needing to feel important, she'll always want to be kept in the loop at all times. "If you don’t include her, she'll go against you and may ostracize you," licensed professional counselor, Ritu Reimer, tells Bustle. If you have siblings, she may even say or do things that will pit you against each other so she's always the one everyone goes to.
2. She Uses The Silent Treatment A Lot
Giving the silent treatment is a manipulation tactic people use to punish and control. According to Reimer, the silent treatment is one of the go-to tactics moms with personality disorders typically use. "The silent treatment may occur when you tell your mom that she's wrong and/or choose not to follow her advice," she says.
3. She Withholds "Love" Or Other Things You Value
If your mom supports you financially and uses that against you in any way, she may have a personality disorder. The same can also be said if you feel like you need to earn her love. "Children raised by a personality disordered mother are conditioned to provide the reactions and responses their mother would like to see," Reimer says. You learn early on that you need to act a certain way in order to "survive." In some cases this creates a codependent dynamic between parent and child.
4. She's Never The Bad Guy
Some people with a personality disorder have a hard time taking responsibility for their actions. If they're already struggling with fears of being unlovable or being seen as a bad person, it's easier to place blame on others. If your mom has a personality disorder, you may have learned early on to never point out your mom's faults. Nothing is ever her fault. "If you accuse her of wrongdoing in any way, you may experience punishment (i.e. the silent treatment)," Reimer says. "If she does take responsibility, she'll likely say she was a 'victim' who made a mistake' or 'had no idea.'"
5. She Lacks Boundaries
"Mothers who have personality disorders have poor boundaries," Christine Scott-Hudson, Licensed Psychotherapist and Owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. There's no such thing as privacy when it comes to her. She has to know every single thing that's going on in your life. If you tell her things that are meant to be kept quiet, expect for everyone to know. According to Scott-Hudson, you'll know you have poor boundaries in your relationship with your mom because spending time with her will leave you feeling "overwhelmed, manipulated, trapped, controlled, discounted, bulldozed, and silenced."
6. She's Overly Critical
Some people with a personality disorder may have this strong need to control. If you grew up with a mom who criticized or controlled your decisions, you may have never learned how to trust yourself. According to Scott-Hudson, this can cause you to become indecisive as an adult or a total perfectionist. It can also cause you to rely on your mom to help you make decisions that you should be making for yourself.
7. Her Feelings Always Come Before Anyone Else's
If your mom does things that go against every maternal instinct, Scott-Hudson says she may have a personality disorder. For instance, she may act out in a certain way because she's jealous of you. She'll try to compete with you, put her comfort before yours, or put you down whenever you're feeling good. Overall, your relationship with her can only be described as toxic. "Hurt people, hurt people," Scott-Hudson says. "If your mother continually creates toxic situations for you, she may have a personality disorder."
It's important to remember, though, that a professional diagnosis needs to be made to evaluate if your mom does have a personality disorder. And if this is true, it doesn't make her a "bad" person. More often than not, people with personality issues do the best they can. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can really do to change your mom. Only she has the power to get the help that she needs. All you can do is work on yourself. Therapy can help you heal, give you strategies on how to deal with your mom, and help you develop healthy relationship patterns moving forward.