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What Are Personality Disorders?

Updated on March 3, 2014

A personality disorder is “a long-standing, inflexible, maladaptive pattern of behaving and relating to others, which usually begins in early childhood or adolescence” (Wood, Wood, & Boyd 387). I have heard people use terms like narcissistic, schizoid, and antisocial.

However, I did not know these types of personality disorders were categorized into “clusters.” People who exhibit odd behavior (paranoid, schizoid; schizotypal) fall under Cluster A.

Those with erratic, overly dramatic behavior (narcissistic, histrionic, borderline; antisocial) get grouped into Cluster B. And those with anxious, fearful behavior (obsessive-compulsive, avoidant; dependent) are placed under Cluster C.

When I was about 10 or so I noticed that my relatives, mainly my aunts from my mother’s side, tried to label me as being antisocial. I was aloof and very seldom spoke to them.

However, my reason for behaving that way was not due to a personality disorder. In actuality, I avoided my aunts because they were extremely critical and unpleasant to be around. They very rarely had anything nice to say to me or the rest of my family; so I avoided them.

I think the best advice is not to jump to conclusions, I think if my aunts had actually known the definition of an antisocial personality they would not have been so hasty in their effort to label me.


  • Wood, S., Wood, E., Boyd, D. (2002). Mastering the World of Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson.


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