Profile photo of

Tolik, I suppose my current (non-cookie cutter) mood is showing through here, but I’m just going to say it anyway. It’s always a good idea to know enough about what you’re talking about before expounding in detail – unless it’s liberally sprinkled with sufficient tentative statements, disclaimers about not knowing all the facts, etc. Anybody’s entitled to an opinion, it’s just wise to not state one as if it’s fact, without having sufficient knowledge to back it up.

There’s a huge difference between what’s called “traits” and what finally qualifies as a disorder. Yes, EVERYONE can find certain personal “traits” that show up as pieces of all sorts of disorders, syndromes, etc. That does not make them mentally ill, and in fact IS what keeps us all from having cookie cutter personalities and dispositions.

To qualify for a personality disorder label, one must go FAR beyond what’s considered a normal range of personality variation. One can exhibit many of the traits of a disorder, and still not qualify for having the label applied to him/her. Sadly, people go on the internet and read articles about the various versions of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) – now up to DSM-5, after a long reigning DSM-IV (they even did away with Roman numerals this time – WHEE!). They read through short, shaded sections in each diagnosis, “see” various “traits” in individuals they know or live with, and then apply the label, CERTAIN they’re right, because they “read it in the DSM-whateverversion.” Even according to the DSM, in a statement right in the front, it is NEVER to be used in cookbook fashion, nor should it be used by any that are not significantly educated and experienced in the mental health field.

Is it misused within the professions? Absolutely. For many of the reasons you mentioned? No question. But to dismiss the severity of those that cross over the line and are legitimately diagnosable as a personality disorder, is to terribly misunderstand (and therefore dangerously underestimate) some people. And they can be so very, very charming and believable. Am I qualified to diagnose Obama or Trump? Absolutely not – because I have never met either one, let alone interviewed them. But have I drawn strong tentative conclusions based on many observed behaviors and statements out of their mouths? Yep! And those two scare me – Obama even more than Trump. Trump is at least out for his own gain, and likely has no agenda to specifically dismantle the constitutional republic. Obama? I’ve already given my belief about his agenda. But yes, there is a massive difference between personality traits (which we all have in varying degrees), and full blown, diagnosable personality disorders. To dismiss the difference is to seriously underestimate the negative potential of certain individuals.