Function of Binding

The function of binding refers to the inhibition of the more mal-adaptive behaviors of the individual with a personality disorder.

With the loss of another who has served this function, it is understandable that the personality disorder will become more apparent or reappear after a comparatively quiescent phase. For example, someone in a close relationship with an individual with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder may recognize the early warning signs of a rageful explosion and know how to be able to ward these off. Another example might be an adult woman who assists her mother with Avoidant Personality Disorder, disallowing ("binding") the maladaptive fearful and avoidant tendencies by being with her for initial contacts with others, and progressively withdrawing unreasonable support.

These critical functions of buffering, bolstering, and binding can be served by roles as well as relationships. For example, a job which relies on the individual's marked obsessional traits, when lost, might well leave these same traits undirected and unutilized, and the obsessionality then becomes maladaptive (by degree or object). The trait itself is not maladaptive, but the trait is applied in a maladaptive manner (by degree or object). This concept has important implications for treatment planning, and is discussed more fully in Chapter 11.

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