It is helpful to realize that personality disorders exist on a continuum, and also that the following three personality types can all exist in one individual and at different degrees of intensity. That is to say, personality disorders are not mutually exclusive.
In addition to this, all personality disorders contain elements of narcissism; in particular, are the traits of limited insight and empathy.
Keep in mind, that no matter what the diagnosis, every person is unique regardless of his or her mental and emotional condition. The following traits are based on the perspective of those involved in relationships with personality disordered individuals.
I hope this table is helpful for distinguishing the differences between the three disorders.
|Lacks empathy||Acts like (s)he has empathy||Devoid of empathy completely|
|Has five primary personalities:||Has many different personalities, here are some examples:||Has the following personalities:|
|Has the following primary characteristics:||Has the following primary characteristics:||Has the following primary characteristics:|
|How relationships are viewed:||How relationships are viewed:||How relationships are viewed:|
Poor attachment with primary caregivers in childhood; might have been given everything, such as in the case of a spoiled child, yet was not attended to emotionally.
Extremely chaotic childhood; abandonment from mother and/or father; learned to manipulate and seduce rather than have a healthy interpersonal connection.
Often experienced early infant attachment trauma/ abandonment and/or severe child abuse and neglect. An alarmingly-disproportionate number are adoptees, signifying early childhood attachment trauma.