Effect on Others

Another robust feature is the strong effect those with a personality disorder have on others. This effect is not a response to their pathology but rather is indicative or pathognomic of their pathology. The older individual with a personality disorder has the same effect on others, and on the contexts of care, as does the younger individual with a personality disorder. Context refers here to where they are living, working, living their lives, and who is actively in their lives in these venues. Individuals who as younger adults leave us feeling ineffective and hopeless may evoke these same feelings in us when they are older. Individuals who when younger leave us feeling manipulated and angry may continue to have this effect when they are older. The presenting problem may be different (or maybe not), but our response to the individual will be remarkably consistent. Recognition and identification of this effect can be used diagnostically, and will be addressed further in a discussion of countertransference.

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