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When Does Trauma Become A Disorder: Who are they Protecting?

Updated: Jun 14

There are three groups of what are categorized as Personality Disorders.

Cluster ‘A’ are known as the “odd eccentric cluster”

· Paranoid Personality Disorder

· Schizoid Personality Disorder

· Schizotypal Personality Disorder

The common features of cluster ‘a’ personality types is social awkwardness and social withdrawal

Cluster ‘B’ are known as the “dramatic emotional and erratic cluster”

· Antisocial Personality Disorder

· Narcissistic Personality Disorder

· Borderline Personality Disorder

· Histrionic Personality Disorder

The common features of cluster ‘b’ personality types is impulse control and emotional regulation.

Cluster ‘C’ common features are intense anxiety and fear.

· Avoidant Personality Disorder

· Dependent Personality Disorder

· Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

These disorders are not personality types. They are not personality traits. They are ingrained, rigid ways of thinking that not only impact the person affected but anyone who comes into their orbit.

Within clusters there is significant overlap between disorders e.g., a Malignant Narcissist is someone diagnosed with Anti-social Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There can also be overlap across clusters, e.g., Paranoid Narcissist.

Out of the 10 Personality Disorders Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) are the most disputed. The reasoning behind this is “hysteria” or rather the legacy of hysteria.

There is no doubt that “hysteria” became “histrionic”. The mind rebelling against the confines of what woman is told she is, can do, must behave, is secondary. It is a neurosis. It is not a personality disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder is not merely an extreme form of neurosis nor is it an extreme case of histrionic behavior. It did not evolve from hysteria the way histrionic has. Histrionic Personality was introduced into the DSM in 1968. “HPD is the only disorder that kept the term derived from the old concept of hysteria.” (

Borderline Personality Disorder was first identified as a formal diagnosis in 1980. Previously, it had been misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. However, it most closely resembles PTSD “as it may be the natural consequence of the brain’s response to stress”.[1]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been researched, discussed, documented etc to the point we see narcissistic traits in everyone and everywhere. Narcissism is now celebrated as a virtue, as brave, it is a rite. Perhaps, this is due to narcissism being seen as a predominately male trait.

But what about its sister disorder? Why do we accept narcissism as a Personality Disorder but reject the uncontrollable, manipulative, sadomasochistic emotions of some women, as a Disorder?

I have been hesitant on commenting on the Amber Heard -v- Johnny Depp case. The main reason being when you are a child of NPD / BPD parents you learn to shield yourself from the shitstorms these couples create. Although, shitstorm is the wrong phrase… “twister” would be a better word to describe being forcefully caught in their path. Leaving you bruised, shattered, dazed. Sometimes even broken. While they continue. Never acknowledging the havoc. Never seeing the damage.

My mother told us how lucky we were to have her as a mother. My mother would tell us how lucky we were that she loved us so much. My mother would make us promise that we would never leave her. My mother would sit us down in front of my father and ask, “if we were to separate who would you live with?” She would test our loyalty. My mother would often berate us as my father beat us. They made a good tag team. My mother would tell us “I would do anything for my children.” Apparently, that didn’t include leaving my father.

My mother has abandonment issues. She has never left my father. This is not to say she didn’t have opportunities to leave him. She just never did. She has had affairs. I know because there are no boundaries. There is only one person of importance as far as she is concerned and that is her. Although, it was her children left bruised, shattered, and broken she is the victim. She demanded a cult like obedience rather than happy children. Her mantra, “If she was happy, we would be happy”. She was never happy.

One of the big issues a BPD has is trust. They do not trust anyone. How can they when they don’t trust themselves. Not even their children. They demand proof. Always. There is a demand for affirmation and adoration 24/7.

By the time I was 10 others were telling me how “weird” my mother was. By 11 I was smoking. By 13 getting very drunk regularly. At 14 I was raped for the first time. By 15 I was cutting myself. Crying every morning I woke up that I was waking up. By the time I was 20 I felt worthless, completely broken and suicidal. I entered a very dark period of my life. I put myself in dangerous situations. I attracted and was attracted to the dangerous people. I slept with men and women. Anyone who showed me the slightest ounce of affection. Thankfully, at the age of 29 I read an article by Suzanne Moore remembering Andrea Dworkin. Soon after I read “Pornography – Men possessing Women” and shortly after that I entered therapy. I am forever grateful for the writings of not just Andrea Dworkin and Suzanne Moore but also to the women their writings introduced me too.

In the last few weeks, I have noticed the silencing of women who speak about BPD. I have been one of them. I can discuss narcissism as much as I want. But, when I discuss BPD I have been told, I’m lying, victim blaming, misogynistic, heartless, not a professional. As a child of a BPD mother being told that my abuse should be put aside to recognize her trauma so others can score points in a “battle of the sexes” is insensitive and cruel. To ignore the personality, disorder some women live with by purely reframing it as cPTSD gives the BPD woman more material to manipulate others with.

Q: What is the difference between BPD and NPD?

A: Emotions.

BPDs cannot regulate their emotions while NPDs have smothered theirs. Failing to recognize this is a disservice to all women and children. We are living in a cluster b society at present. When do we, after acknowledging the cause, hold the person accountable for the consequences of them manipulating their trauma? When do we say I understand your trauma, but you are still responsible for your behavior and the consequences of that behavior? Because it seems in some cases we can’t. It seems when discussing the malignant personality disorders that affect women there must

always be a caveat of some sort around trauma.

This is not to dismiss women’s trauma. Neither is it about excusing abusive men. It is not about the sadomasochistic dynamics of an NPD / BPD relationship as in the case of Heard -v- Depp. It is about being able to fight for the rights of all women while also acknowledging that some women do have a malignant form of BPD. That these women do work against other women; do manipulate women by using their trauma; do hurt their children. Knowingly. Because these are the women who are fighting against us. BPDs have no love for their daughters or other women. They view women as the competition, their children an extension. They are the mothers sending their children to the trans doctors, celebrating the operations. They are doing what they do best, centering themselves in their children’s lives. Controlling it because they cannot control their own. They are the mothers willing to sacrifice their children for admiration. They are the mothers’, and they are the handmaidens of the Queer Movement.

[1] Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship – Christine Ann Lawson (

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