Script: The Basics of Psychology for Christian Ministry
Homework Assignments

4.9 Difficult personalities

Difficult personality types are disruptive, inflexible, and enduring personality patterns that impair a person’s social functioning.  Below is a selection:

Narcissistic personality: Characterized by an inflated sense of their own importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration. Narcissistic people often project confidence and authority and gravitate towards positions of leadership. Hidden behind their mask of extreme confidence is an extremely fragile self-esteem with an intense vulnerability to any criticism. Narcissistic people lack empathy and often take advantage of others. They feel empty and unfulfilled in their relationships unfulfilling. They elicit extreme reactions in others ranging between admiration and disdain.

Histrionic personality: Characterized by a distinctly dramatic flair, a pattern of exaggerated emotionality and intense attention-seeking behaviors. People with this personality style base their sense of self-esteem on the recognition by others, particularly people of status. People around them experience them as lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive, manipulative, and impulsive. They may be superficial and fickle, jumping from one commitment and one relationship to the next.

Obsessive-compulsive personality: Characterized by perfectionism and a need for order and neatness. People with this personality trait seek to impose their rigid standards on their environment and often feel righteous, indignant, and angry. They find it hard to express their feelings, have difficulties forming and keeping close relationships, and they tend to be isolated. Although they are hardworking, their obsession with perfection often makes them inefficient.

Borderline personality: Characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. People with borderline traits oscillate between chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness and intense anger, often followed by shame and guilt. They are struggling with impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, reckless driving, or misuse or overuse of substances.and. A hallmark of this personality style are frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment and unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization and devaluation (“splitting”). When they come under stress, they experience dissociative feelings, paranoid thoughts, or even brief psychotic episodes.

Dependent personality: Characterized by a tendency to become emotionally overdependent on others and try very hard to please others. People with this trait are needy, passive, and clinging. They have great difficulties making decisions without advice and reassurance from others. They avoid normal responsibilities by acting passive and helpless. Due to their strong fear of abandonment, people with this trait find it almost unbearable to be single and will often naïvely let others take advantage of them. Lacking self-confidence, they struggle to start projects or tasks and believe that they are unable to care for themselves.