Rigidity of Character Structure and Limited Repertoire

Another core feature of personality disorder is the individual's "Johnny-one-note" quality regarding perceptions, point of view, affect, and behavior. This means that anything that elicits a strong response is experienced as one dominant affect or cognition: All perceptions are colored by the filter of this theme. For some, the cognitive theme is "suspicion." Thus, people and experiences are perceived as threats or potential threats unless proven otherwise. For others, all affect is experienced in the spectrum of "anger," ranging from frustration and annoyance to outright rage. For yet others, relationships are experienced as "hierarchical and judgmental," with the individual always being found wanting. Historically, a dominant affective filter colors their response to others, defining interpersonal relationships as limited or absent, strange or strained, inconsistent or unreliable, disconnected or fused, subordinate or dominant, protective or dangerous. As a consequence, these older adults tell a history of difficult or limited relationships with others.

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