Diagnosis: Passive Aggressive- The DSM-5

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders

Earlier this year, the American Psychiatric Association forming a DSM revision committee, finally published the DSM-5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The revision has been many years in the making since the last revisions to the DSM-IV, the DSM-IV-TR. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the DSM is like the “Holy Grail” of mental illness diagnosis.

One of the easiest changes to recognize is that instead of being titled “DSM-V” as the others have been, this volume has been titled “DSM-5” so as to make it easier for simple additions or revisions, such as DSM-5.1.

Unfortunately, the DSM-5 has not helped us who are victims of other people’s personality disorders such as the Narcissist, or the Passive Aggressive. When the “Powers That Be” were originally deciding what to include from the old DSM-III and DSM-IV, they came extremely close to removing Narcissistic Personality Disorder just as they basically have the Passive Aggressive. Instead they have moved these disorders to a section of their own in which it’s a little cloudy. Under the guise of “needing further investigation or explanation” these are not concrete diagnoses.

While we, as spouses or Significant Others are fighting so hard to get the help from someone who is educated and understands what we are going through, it seems as though the world of psychiatry/psychology are becoming more and more ambiguous.

I recently added to the “Recommended Reading List”  Tina Swithin’s book regarding her custody battle against her Narcissistic husband. She is fighting for better education of the court system and the people that hold children’s lives in their hands. Unless these people fully understand what they are up against, they will continue to make poor decisions when it comes to custody in divorce cases.

Billy Eddy, author of the book “Splitting” and President of the High Conflict Institute is working diligently to get more people educated in personality disorders.  He believes education should start in law school and be mandatory continuing education.

If you are hunting for a therapist as part of your support system, remember that they are going to be working for you. Ask them if they are familiar with what ever personality disorder you’re having to deal with such as passive aggressive or narcissistic. There is hardly anything more frustrating than going to a therapist for help, only to find out he/she is charmed by your spouse just as you were originally, and they too have no idea what has happened.





Obama- A Passive Aggressive Narcissist?

Pres. Obama

What’s he thinking?

You think Obama’s a passive aggressive narcissist?

I want to start this out by saying 1) If I offend anyone, that is not my intent. 2) I mean no one any disrespect including the President and/or his wife.

Sometimes it’s just fun to let your mind wander, which mine has over the last several days. Actually it’s probably been longer than that, since for some reason this president seems to be able to push through what he wants with or without Congress.

I don’t care if you’re a fan of Obama or not, I would think we all would agree that he is definitely a narcissist.  I think he has a fully overgrown image of himself and his abilities (that he doesn’t need Congress). It’s like a King and his subjects. What’s unfortunate is that we, the American people keep reinforcing that image.  It’s just a bit scary because the branches of the government were originally designed to be a “checks and balances” for each of the other branches. (Didn’t mean to go on a political rant there. Just sayin’..)

I also think that most of us here are experienced enough to know that personality disorders have a way of overlapping, especially for passive aggressive personality disorders. Do you ever wonder if Michelle has to put up with a passive aggressive at home? LOL.

I guess if you’re Michelle and you ask the President to do something and he doesn’t do it, she could just ask one of her 21 assistants, or someone on the White House wait staff. Actually, as I’m talking this out, what would you ask the President to do that you couldn’t get done by someone else, except posing for “family moments” or sex. LOL.

And what about withholding sex? During my research there is a lot out there that says this is highly possible, but then who can you believe? So many people that claim to be close to the President or close to the First Lady just want to see their big mouths in print. The National Enquirer does state the First Lady did visit a lawyer 3 different times to discuss the possibilities of divorce. The National Enquirer you say, but hey, they have broken more stories when everyone else was saying “hogwash”. For all the “hogwash” you don’t hear of them getting sued a whole lot for misinformation. (I know, they’re just a rag).  LOL.

Believe it or not, I started this a few days ago and really didn’t mean it to come out on the eve of Obama’s second inauguration but here we are.

It’s been fun just to think about. What are your thoughts on President Obama being a narcissistic passive aggressive?


New Passive Aggressive Behavior Unpredicted

Since we moved, I have run up against a new passive aggressive behavior that I never predicted. The passive aggressive boyfriend appears to be afraid to leave the house! What the heck? This place is terrific, and every time I venture out I explore a little more, learn more where things are located, etc. I am truly shocked. When we moved to our last place, it was him that learned his way around first, and quickly. I mentioned him going for a Sunday paper the other day and he says he’s “still kind of nervous”.

My mistake I guess was buying his beer and cigs. He really hasn’t had to leave the house, but I won’t make that mistake again. We are so centrally located, he almost couldn’t get lost.

What the passive aggressive has managed to accomplish with this new behavior is that now one of the things he used to do for me without a moment’s thought, has turned into one more thing that I do.  He has applied for work here, but he hasn’t even ventured out to see where it is. Since he could apply on line he figures that’s all he has to do for now I guess.

Is this how a passive aggressive turns into a recluse? I’m really worried about him. My job now is to come up with ways to get him out of  the house, at least for awhile. As I said, this is one passive aggressive behavior I never would have predicted.

As If Passive Aggressive Personality Disorders Don’t Exist..


Credit to "thetwentyfirstfloor.com" for illustration

As if Passive Aggressive Personality Disorders don’t exist wasn’t bad enough the last time they revised the DSM handbook (guide for psychiatrists and psychologists called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but now they are discussing a new ‘DSM-5‘.

They are discussing turning ‘personality disorders‘ into ‘personality types’ and eliminating another 4 personality disorders. It is already so hard for us to find a therapist that truly understands passive aggression, because it’s not in their DSM-IV. As I have mentioned before, if you’re looking for a therapist to help with a passive aggressive spouse, child, parent, you need to interview the therapist well before you start paying for their time. Many simply will not recognize that the problem actually exists.

Originally they were going to eliminate 5 personality disorders from DSM-5, paranoid, schizoid, histrionic, dependent, and narcissistic. They now have decided to keep ‘narcissistic‘ and eliminate the other 4. This will make it even harder on us, the ones seeking help because many of our passive aggressives overlap categories. Once DSM-5 comes out, the above personality disorders will not even be acknowledged any more.

If you would like to know more, you can visit DSM-5.org If since dealing with your particular passive aggressive you have been exploring the different personality disorders, you may find this very interesting. They also have a section of public comments. Though it is closed for new comments as of June of this year, it is interesting to read what others have to say.

Passive Aggressive, Sociopath, or Both?

passive aggressive manA friend of mine brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, that she thought the passive aggressive man she’s involved with may be a sociopath. She came to this conclusion after reading an article on the subject.

According to clinical psychologist and former Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Martha Stout, about 1 in every 25 people in America is a sociopath. Maybe not the murdering kind, but definitely the kind without social conscience. I have to admit after reading the article and doing the research, I myself can see similarities that could cause one to think this could be one of those over lapping, combo personality disorders. In many instances it looks like the Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder and the Sociopath Personality Disorder could very well go hand in hand.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way or any form a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or any kind of degreed therapist. This is just my personal observation based on my own research. I am not saying that every passive aggressive is a sociopath (although sometimes in my own mind I may think it. LOL).

The Passive Aggressive Personality is usually caused from an environmental dysfunction in childhood such as drug or alcohol addicted parents, or any type of environment where it wasn’t safe for them to express their anger and frustration.  There appears to be evidence however that the upbringing of a sociopath has little or no effect on them. Like a passive aggressive elements of a sociopath’s personality first become evident at a very early age, but they appear to be due to biological or genetic factors. According to the book for medical diagnosis, one can not be diagnosed as a sociopath until the age of 15 or older, yet as stated above, there have probably been signs through out earlier childhood.

Now for some of the similarities. It is truly amazing at different points in the discussion concerning both personality disorders.It’s also pretty scary.

Let’s start with an easy one. Most of us know what makes a sociopath a sociopath is a lack of conscience. According to expert Robert Hare, author of the book “Without Conscience” the sociopath lacks guilt.

They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with others.

Passive aggressives also see themselves as victims. Everything that happens to them is someone else’s fault. They cannot feel remorse or empathy for others because they never believe the problem is them.

Lets try another one.  According to the psychopathy checklist of H. Checkly and Robert Hare, a deep seated rage is at the core of the sociopath. They see others around them as targets and opportunities.  With the passive aggressive, they too have a suppressed anger that they have never learned to or been allowed to express openly. This is what leads to the covert abuse and sabetoge of their victims (us).

This is getting kind of long, but lets go for number 3.

According to Martha Stout who wrote “The Sociopath Next Door”, most sociopaths would be described as “the most charming, charismatic, sexiest, or maybe the most interesting” person you ever met. Isn’t that a common reason we end up staying in a marriage or relationship with a passive aggressive for so long? Sure there are exceptions, but for the most part don’t they drive us crazy until we’re ready to walk and then they charm us back in for another period of time? In most cases didn’t we fall in love with them because they seemed so loving, so caring, until we married them or got involved? Doesn’t it really feel a lot of the time that it’s just a game to them? That’s how it is with a sociopath. It is a game. A game purely of manipulation.

There is more, and I may do a part 2 to this, but this is long enough for now. If you like, follow the link above to one of the articles regarding sociopaths and do some of your own comparisons. Then, if you would, come back and share your stories with us. Like I always say, we’re here to learn, get encouragement, and to help each other.

Avoidant Personality or Passive Aggressive?

What is the difference between Avoidant Personality Disorder and Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder? To tell you the truth, as I research it, passive aggressiveness is a form of avoidant personality. The two could go hand in hand. The one thing about AvPD is it is actually listed in the medical book that therapists go by for diagnosing, the DSM-IV. Passive aggressive personality disorder has been removed as the definition was too vague. They are still working on it, but in the meantime so many of these disorders seem to overlap.

Like Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder, AvPD often stems from childhood, although it’s usually first noticed in early adulthood. It is associated with perceived or actual rejection by parents or peers during childhood. (This sounds so much like the causes of passive aggression) Just like the passive aggressive, many people diagnosed with AvPD have had painful early experiences of chronic parental and/or societal criticism or rejection. The need to bond with the rejecting parents or peers makes the person with AvPD hungry for relationships, but their longing gradually develops into a defensive shell of self-protection against repeated criticisms.

Avoidant Personality Disorder and Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder are so close, that one doctor, Psychologist Theodore Millon identified four subtypes of avoidant personality disorder. One of those was the-

* conflicted avoidant – including negativistic (passive-aggressive) features

The conflicted avoidant feels ambivalent towards themselves and others. They can idealize those close to them but under stress they may feel under-appreciated or misunderstood and wish to hurt others in revenge. They may be perceived as petulant or to be sulking.

How many of us live with someone just like that? LOL

People with AvPD are preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these individuals will choose to be lonely rather than risk trying to connect with others. This would help to explain the reason we feel so emotionally disconnected from the passive aggressive.

The symptoms of AvPD are:

* Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
* Self-imposed social isolation
* Extreme shyness or social anxiety in social situations, though feels a strong desire for close relationships
* Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus
* Avoids interpersonal relationships
* Feelings of inadequacy
* Severe low self-esteem
* Self-loathing
* Mistrust of others
* Emotional distancing related to intimacy
* Highly self-conscious
* Self-critical about their problems relating to others
* Problems in occupational functioning
* Lonely self-perception
* Feeling inferior to others
* In some more extreme cases– Agoraphobia
* Utilizes fantasy as a form of escapism and to interrupt painful thoughts

Except for the “Agoraphobia” part, doesn’t that sound like it could be taken right out of the passive aggressive‘s handbook? LOL. Many of them may try to hide their feelings of inadequacy by being overbearing or aggressive, just like many people with inferiority complexes will cover it by being arrogant and obnoxious. Notice the “emotional distancing when it comes to intimacy” and “avoids physical contact because it is associated with pain”. Doesn’t that sound like “no sex”?

One thing I hadn’t thought about, but now I remember seeing it, is that people with AvPD excessively monitor their own internal reactions when they are involved in social interaction. However, people with AvPD may also excessively monitor the reactions of the people with whom they are interacting. The extreme tension created by this monitoring may account for the hesitant speech and taciturnity of many people with AvPD; they are so preoccupied with monitoring themselves and others that producing fluent speech is difficult, which would explain why sometimes it takes a passive aggressive some time to put the words together to strike out. Now, I don’t see this particular trait often in passive aggressives to the point of interrupting their speech, but I can see where it would come into play. Of course they are always monitoring our reactions so they can see if they are getting to us or not.

And last, but not least, the similarity when it comes to treatment. As it is hard to “fix” the passive aggressive because they won’t admit anything is wrong, or they manipulate the therapist, people with AvPD will start avoiding treatment if they lose trust in the therapist or feel a fear of rejection. There again, treatment actually being effective is pretty slim.

Stomping Out Passive Aggressiveness

Stomping out passive aggressiveness one partner or spouse at a time (or at least how to cope). LOL. Big announcement! On January 19th I will be joining Nora Femenia, Ph.D and owner of the site Creative Conflicts and Passive Aggressive Husband in a teleconference, and you’re all invited! I’m so excited! This is my very first one. I’ve attended many, but usually on the audience end. This time I’ll be with her on the call answering what ever questions you may have regarding coping or living with your passive aggressive spouse or partner. It will start at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern time. Here’s the link to sign up and ask your question if you have one. It’s completely FREE of charge. (You may have telephone charges from your local company).

She’s also launching a new book at the same time. She’s offering it at 50% off to attendees plus 2 free sessions (calls) with her. So if your questions don’t all get answered at the teleseminar, or you think of something after it’s over, it’s still possible to speak with someone who understands.

Here’s the link again http://passiveaggressivehusband.com/ask/ So go on over and sign up! I am so looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you get a lot of useful information out of the conference.

Feel free as always to leave any comments below, and be sure and share this with anyone you know who may be going through a lot of the same stuff we are.