There are ten to twenty personality disorders that are ways that the personality tends
to get stuck. Dependents tend to depend on others too much and Schizoids tend to
isolate too much. Paranoids tend to be very suspicious and blame others. Avoidants
tend to be very fearful and blame themselves. Schizotypals develop strange thought
systems and behaviors systems all their own. Paranoids and Avoidants and Schizoids
and Schizotypals tend to spend too much time alone. Paranoids because they do not
trust others, Avoidants because they feel inadequate, Schizoids because of a lack of
interest in others, and Schizotypals because of the dissociation of their thoughts and
beliefs from those of others.
Dependents and Histrionics and Borderlines and Compulsives tend to spend too much
time with others. Compulsives because of compulsive and obsessive feelings of
obligation and duty to job and position and social and governmental roles.
Dependents because of compliance and conformity to others and involvement with
others in a subordinate capacity, a compliant role. Histrionics because of the need to
get attention and dramatize, to get others to listen to them and be emotionally
influenced by them. Borderlines get romantically involved, get into self destructive
public behavior, get into to public and private romance, addictive behaviors, and
trauma and drama. Borderlines do a constant self destructive approach and
avoidance, fission and fusion because of the lack of effective personal boundaries.
Antisocials and Narcissists are all about "me." For Antisocials, it is about getting what
they want to get and doing what they want to do regardless of the effect on others.
For Narcissists, it is all about being the most important, the best and the most
beautiful, the focus of attention, the special person.
These ten are the key personality disorders, but there are four more that are
sometimes seen. The Antisocial and Paranoid and Narcissist can breakdown into the
Sadist and the Dependent and Avoidant and Compulsive into the Masochist. Paranoid
and Sadist tendencies can mingle with the Masochist and generate a Negativistic
Passive Aggressive type. The Masochist, Avoidant, Dependent and Borderline types
can break down into a Depressive personality.
The Greek and Roman Gods and Goddess were the personality disorder types of the
ancient world. Zeus-Jupiter was an elitist Narcissist. His wife Hera-Juno was the
archetype of the suspicious Paranoid. Aphrodite-Venus was the archetype of a love
addicted Borderline and Ares-Mars of the Sadist and Antisocial that does not care
who sufferes from his violent behavior. Apollo was a Narcissist that could suddenly
turn Sadist. His sister Artemis-Diana could also be Sadistic, but she was most often
off by her self in her Schizotypal world of wild things and strange thoughts.
Athena-Minerva, virgin goddess of wisdom, had a Schizoid aspect and was also a bit
Paranoid at times. Her partner at the table of the gods on Mount Olympus was
Hephaestus-Vulcan, a god with Compulsive tendencies that kept him at work making
things for the Olympians. Hera-Vestia, goddess of the hearth, was the Dependent
personality type, doing her job and keeping out of the way of the others. Her partner,
Hermes-Mercury was much more the Histrionic, tricking the other gods and
sometimes making a public show of himself. Demeter-Ceres showed herself self to
be the Masochist in her public complaints about the capture of her daughter
Persephone by Hades. Her partner in Olympus was Poseidon-Neptune, a god that
showed some Avoidant tendencies in his desire to hide away in the deep parts of the
The personality disorders associated with the Compulsive orientation seem to be
balanced more toward the basal ganglia, striated bodies, and hippocampus of the
brain, while the Antisocial and Borderline association seems to be more centered in
the amygdala and limbic areas. The Dependent and Borderline disorders seem to be
focused more on the parietal occipital and temporal lobe association areas. The
Narcissistic, Sadistic, and Antisocial disorders seem to have greater strength in the
motor areas of the frontal lobes, the Histrionic in the verbal expression areas of the
left hemisphere such as Broca's in the motor cortex. Avoidant and Schizotypal
disorders seem to be centered more in the right hemisphere of the cerebrum and
Histrionic and Narcissistic in the left. In general, the left appears to be more manic
and the right more depressive.
The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Fourth Edition, Edited by Harold I,
Kaplan and Benjamin J. Sadock, 1985, has a section on the personality disorders by
George E. Vaillant and J. Christopher Perry, (op. cit. pp. 958 - 986) that provides a
good account of the historical genesis of the current system of classification. Major
influences on our notion of the disorders has come from works such as W. Reich,
"Character Analysis," (1949) and T. Millon, "Disorders of Personality: DSM-III Axis II
(1981). The second edition of the American Psychiatric Associations "Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-II) divided personality disorders into:
cyclothymic, schizoid, explosive, obsessive-compulsive, hysterical, antisocial,
passive-aggressive, and inadequate. The German psychiatrist Kurt Schneider divided
personalities into Depressive, Insecure (dependent), Compulsive, Fanatic (paranoid),
Affectionless (schizoid), attention-seeking (histrionic), liable (borderline), etc.
Kaplan and Sadock describe the following disorders: Schizoid (emotional coldness
and aloofness, indifference to praise or the feelings of others), Schizotypal (magical
thinking, superstitious, clairvoyance, social isolation, illusions, odd speech,
hypersensitivity to criticism, metaphorical speech, imaginary relationships, Histrionic
(dramatic, reactive, intensely expressed emotion, craving for activity and excitement,
irrational outbrusts and tantrums), Narcissistic (grandiose, self importance,
preoccupied with fantasies of success and power, wants constant attention and
admiration), Antisocial (delinquency, lying, thefts, vandalism, violation of rules,
frequent job changes, irresponsible behavior, failure to care for children, failure to
accept social norms), Borderline (impulsive behavior in regard to sex, substance
abuse, overeating, unstable relationships, shifts of idealization and devaluation, lack of
control of anger, identity disturbances, mood instability, intolerance of being alone,
suicidal actions and self destructive behaviors), Avoidant (hypersensitivity to rejection,
social withdrawal, low self-esteem, shy, desire for affection but fear of rejection, need
for uncritical acceptance), Dependent (subordination of needs to others, lack of self
confidence, passively allows others to assume responsibility for self, inability to
function independently, sees self as helpless and stupid), Compulsive (restricted
ability to express warm and tender emotions, perfectionism, excessive devotion to
work, indecisiveness, insistence that others submit to the compulsives way of doing
things, stubbornness, orderliness, perseverance), Paranoid (suspicious, mistrusting,
hypervigilance, guardedness, pathological jealousy, overconcern with hidden motives),
Passive-Aggressive (resistant to demands for adequate performance, procrastination,
dawdling, stubbornness, forgetfulness, ineffectiveness, intentional inefficiency, covert
obstructionism, retroflexed anger). In addition, a Masochistic personality is
addressed as a possible subtype (preserves relationships not in best interest involving
attachment, dependency, inhibited aggression, repetitive punishment of the masochist).
Using the above, we have developed a system of six polarities: narcissistic to
avoidant, antisocial to compulsive, paranoid to borderline, histrionic to schizoid,
schizotypal to dependent, and masochistic to sadistic. Of this system, the most
difficult is the masochist to sadist and possible passive aggressive, depressive, and
cyclothemic subtypes. We have a tendency to develop the passive aggressive as a
bridge from the sadistic to the masochistic and dependent but this result is uncertain.
More clear is our ability to identify the more important disorders to the eight trigrams,
avoidant to Lake, histrionic and borderline to Thunder, antisocial to Flame, sadistic,
passive aggressive and narcissistic to Mountain, paranoid and schizoid to Wind,
schizotypal to Heaven, compulsive to Water Pit, and dependent to Earth. In a similar
fashion we can match the disorders to the pairs of Greek gods and goddess, Hestia
as dependent, Hermes as histrionic, Zeus as narcissistic, Hera as paranoid, Athena
as schizoid, Hephaestus as compulsive, Demeter as masochistic and Poseidon as
avoidant, Artemis as schizotypal and Apollo as sadistic to narcissistic.
In our dodecahedron of Chinese elements and their opposites, Schizoid would be
atmosphere and Histrionic would be thunder, Schizotypal would be sky and Dependent
would be earth, Narcissistic would be fire and Avoidant would be rain, Paranoid would
be salt and Borderline would be water (salt dissolves). Sadistic would be electricity
and Masochistic would be metal, Antisocial would be wood (unwanted selfish weeds
growing) and Compulsive would be river.
There are personality traits that can be found by factor analysis. For example, in the
text cited above (op. cit. p. 475), there is a table of personality traits derived by factor
analysis (from R. B. Cattell, Personality theory derived from quantitative experiment.
In Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry). Of the factors listed in this table as a
series of opposites, a number correlated fairly well with the personality disorder
oppositions discussed above, thus, suspicious to trusting (paranoid to borderline),
conscientious to expedient (compulsive to antisocial), imaginative to practical
(schizotypal to dependent), reserved to out-going (schizoid to histrionic), assertive to
obedient (sadistic to masochistic),placid and confident to apprehensive (narcissistic to
If we place these traits on the edges between the eight trigram faces of our
personality disorder octahedron, other traits will fill in the polarities at each vertex.
The polarity from the Self vertex to the Social, Self-sufficient to Group joiner, and from
the Fixed vertex to the Flux vertex, Controlled to Casual, from the Whole to the Part,
Shy to Venturesome. In our trigram system Self-sufficient is top line youngest son
yang and Group joiner is top broken line youngest daughter yin. Shy is middle line
middle son yang and venturesome is middle broken line middle daughter yin.
Controlled is bottom broken line eldest daughter yin and casual is bottom line eldest
Theodore Millon's second edition of Disorder of Personality, DSM-IV and Beyond,
Wiley, 1996, breaks personality disorders down into subtypes, using these subtypes it
is easy to find pairs of opposed personality traits that fit each of the 12 dodecahedral
faces of the polarities of the five Chinese Elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and
Water (opposed to River, Rain, Sky, Electricity, and Salt) moving around the Thunder
to Atmosphere (Wind) polarity. Atmosphere can be a Depersonalized Schizoid and its
opposite, Thunder, a Theatrical Histrionic. Earth can be an Accommodating
Dependent and Sky a Insipid Schizotypal, Metal can be a Possessive Masochist, it
can be beaten down into a Morbid Depressive, but its energy can be transformed so
that both the Abrasive Negativist and the Explosive Sadist can connect to Electricity
as the oppositional polarity. Water can be an Impulsive Borderline and Salt can be its
Obdurate Paranoid opposite. Wood and be an aggrandizing Antisocial of the
Covetous type and River can be its straight and narrow Puritanical Compulsive
opposite. Fire can burn you as an Unprincipled Narcissist can burn you, but Rain will
put out the fire, but rainstorms can generate outbursts and moodiness that dampens
your self confidence that generates the Conflicted Avoidant and the Phobic Avoidant.
One interesting system would connect the intolerant aspect of religion with the
personality disorders. Protestant Christianity would be the public religious institutional
version of the Histrionic. Orthodox and Catholic Christianity would be the Borderline.
New Age Christianity would be the Narcissistic. Aryan Brotherhood Christianity and
the Nazi type would be the Sadistic.
The Sunni Moslem would be Dependent and the Shia would be Masochistic. National
religions like Judiaism, Zoroasterianism, Confucianism and Shinto would generally be
Compulsive. Taoism, or Daoism, would be Avoidant, along with most aboriginal and
nativistic religions, such as the ways of the Hopi and the Navaho. Hinduism would be
Schizotypal. Jainism and Yoga, along with some forms of Buddhism, would be
Paranoid. Zen Buddhism and Yoga would be Schizoid. Atheism and religious
skepticism would be a version of the Negativistic and Passive Aggressive.
How much of this is territoriality, the need for individuals, for groups, for kings and
kingdoms to stake out their own systems of ideas that will work as totems and
symbols, that will differentiate their gang, their team, from the opposition, from the
other party, the other faction? How much of this sort of differentiation is an automatic
response of a human brain that has evolved as an organ that monitors social
interactions and social status systems?
Schizotypal Hinduism can be found in the highlands and in tropical monsoon forests
and Histrionic Protestantism in temperate lowlands like coastal Georgia and Carolina.
The skeptical and the Negativistic emerges in dissected coastal areas like New
England and Britain and the Compulsive and Dependent in interior river valleys like the
Nile, Indus, Tigris and Euphrates, etc. Geography is not without its effect on the
process. The Dharma religions have compulsive patterns based on the regularities of
the monsoon rains. The Near Eastern religions tend to believe in irrational jealous
gods that distribute good things in ways similar to the jealous and irrational distribution
of rainfall by passing thunder storms. Thus, the Near East believes in a jealous and
irrational Jehovah, Allah, while monsoon rain watered South Asia tends more to the
Dharma and Karma of birth and rebirth, the endless cycles driven by the law of Duty
If social patterns are driven by external geography, personal patterns are driven by
the internal geography of the balance of patterns in the brain. The amygdala and
hypothalamus represent structures the brain uses to regulate its raw energy. The
hypothalamus attempts to control the physiological states of the organism, the need to
eat and drink, the balance between excitation and rest. The amygdala attempts to
regulate emotional states generated by crisis conditions, the need to fight or flee.
These crisis conditions can stir up the brain like a thunder storm in the desert. When
a personality is dominated by them, it can become a Thunder personality, can get
stuck in the Histrionic personality disorder. Or it can use the motor cortex as a means
to discharge the energy, either in an explosive outburst (Sadistic), an aggressive act
done impulsively (Borderline if self destructive, Antisocial if self aggrandising,
Narcissistic if supportive of status and image, drowning in Water, feeding selfish
Wood, building self proclaiming Fires).
The striated system, the basal ganglia, deal with reward and pain. They can get
stuck in pleasure rewarded, pain avoiding compulsive behaviors. If fear of pain is the
issue, Avoidant, if pattern repetition, Compulsive, if imitative of the behavior of others,
Dependent, if passive to pain, Masochistic. (A Rain of behavior dampening impulses,
a River of patterned response, the Metal of shared electrons that binds impulses to
The cingulate area of the Frontal lobes and the orbitofrontal cortex can serve as
regulators of emotion and behavior. When these regulations are very loose and
peculiar, the person becomes Schizotypal. When they become disconnected from the
amygdala and hypothalamus, the person becomes Schizoid. When the motor
inhibitions are too intense, the person becomes Paranoid. (Drawn up into the Sky of
the frontal lobes, like a disconnected Atmospheric gas, Schizoid, crystal and intense,
as crystals of Salt).
Here we see the opportunism of nature, its push to explore every possibility, to
develop a personality, a society, an orientation for every possible public and private
environment that might emerge. The personality disorder, the dogmatic theology
disorder is a state of rigidity that prevents effective adaptation and effective change.
Rather than use these opportunities for growth and learning, the personality
disordered person, the ideologically disordered society finds a narrow grove to hide in
and once established refuses to come out.
Western society tends to get stuck in the social equivalents of the Narcissistic,
Histrionic, and Borderline. These are the orientations that go with the marketing
orientation that is currently the predominant economic approach in the Western world.
This focus places the West in a thought pattern that emphasizes the fact oriented left
hemisphere of the cerebrum and the areas of the frontal lobe of the cerebrum
responsible for speech and communication. In Greek mythology, it would be the gods
Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, and Aphrodite, in Roman mythology Jupiter, the Sun God,
Mercury, and Venus. In art it is the Expressionist temper. In the academic, it is
business first, supported by science, technology, education, journalism, music, and
various useful arts and crafts.
The time when theology ruled as queen is long gone, also the day of metaphysics and
philosophy, as well as classical art and architecture. The pragmatic has triumphed
over theory and expression over ideal form.