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Hollywood Personality Disorders
What is a personality disorder? Glad you asked!

In essence, it is a mental disorder where instead of the problem being your brain setup, mood, disconnection from reality, or pointless habits, you simply behave in a way that makes adjusting to life difficult. Lots of people do this, so it's important to recognize that everybody has these traits to one degree or another. They're called personality styles when they don't cause problems.

Note that personality is sometimes considered the psychological immune system. Indeed, those with personality traits like behaviors that are often antagonistic towards others or a tendency to take things too personally are more likely to show mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. Such disorders are often the reason why someone with a personality disorder would seek treatment in the first place.

Any behavior can be justified depending on what situation you're put in. It's believed these people act the way they do because as a child they were overexposed to situations where the behavior had survival value, reinforcing it. So they never learned to shift gears when the situation calls for it. Genetics usually only ensure that the childhood environment doesn't have a blank canvas to work on, but sometimes people literally were born that way. If you really want a better grasp of these disorders, it helps to get a basic understanding of evolution and the process of natural selection. Thinking about how this behavior would be useful in a low tech hunter-gatherer society tends to help too.

Things to keep in Mind

The comorbidity of these disorders leads to confusion. Looking at a personality as a story and each disorder as a different genre that can overlap with other ones can help to understand it better. Keep in mind that even if somebody meets the criteria for one personality disorder they can still meet the criteria for a personality style of one of the other disorders. If two of the disorders look like they'll cause similar behavior, the underlying reasons for the behavior in each is different.

No two people with the same mental disorder act exactly the same, and just because a behavior is reported to be common in a mental disorder doesn't mean everyone who has the disorder will behave that way. Hollywood Psych and SoYouWantTo.Develop Character Personality note  are useful to keep in mind.

Also, although the specific personality disorders list traits, a personalty disorder is more defined by the inability to get along with others than specific personality traits. When most people encounter a situation they will experiment with different things (some things they're reluctant to try and some things not so much) until they find something that works for them and everybody involved. People with personality disorders will keep doing the same thing regardless of results.

While it can be a trying experience to be around people with these disorders, keep in mind that Real Life people suffer from these disorders. Laymen should abstain from "diagnosing" real people and the diagnosing of fictional people done here should be considered, at best, informed speculation rather than definite fact. No Real Life Examples, Please! unless professionally diagnosed.


Disorders

    open/close all folders 

    Paranoid Personality Disorder 

Most of us know not to be offended when we see the Alpha Bitch, Jerk Jock, or Big Man on Campus walking down the street. Not so with these people. They're suspicious of everybody's motives and don't know who to trust. Those afflicted undergo immense emotional torment from failing to form close bonds with people. Their ability to appreciate the aesthetic value of something, such as the quiet and tranquility of a day at the park, is reduced or nonexistent because they're busy examining every minor detail for nonexistent proof that others are trying to sabotage them.

People who were repeatedly backstabbed, or have a Humans Are Bastards perspective, can be prone to this.

Like the narcissist they see themselves as the victim and have difficulty in recognizing their role in the discomfort of others. The difference is that narcissists want the company of other people, when they bring praise, and actively attract people to themselves. Paranoids don't like the company of other people because those people will more than likely take what little this unfair life decided to give the paranoid person. The way in which they cause discomfort is also different. With narcissists people would rather spend their time and energy doing others things such as getting to the solution of the problem. With paranoids people tire of the accusations and wish they'd be more of a team player.

Some studies suggest the paranoid personality disorder is part of the schizophrenic spectrum and some suggest PPD has connections to delusional disorder but not schizophrenia. Like delusional disorder someone with paranoid personality disorder can be a high functioning case of The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. Cult leaders have a good chance of having paranoid personality disorder or grandiose delusional disorder instead of schizophrenia.

When this personality disorder leads to some good things, see Properly Paranoid.

Examples from various media

Comic Books
  • Rorschach from Watchmen views the world as one big cesspool of criminals and degenerates. His obsession with fighting crime is such that he seldom bathes or even eats or sleeps, and he suspects nearly everyone of being guilty of something. To be fair, though, he lives in a world where Nixon is serving a fourth term as President, the government has a god-like being at its disposal, and one of the wealthiest industrialists in the country is plotting to unleash a genetically-engineered monster on New York City, so it's not like he has no reason to be paranoid.

Live-Action TV

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder 

The Narcissist is It's All About Me personified. These people expect to be treated like a God in your life, despite the fact that they don't do anything and possibly make things worse. Be very careful when calling these people out on it. They've been known to use emotional manipulation to boost their enormous ego.

A healthy sense of narcissism helps us withstand criticism, insults, and spring back from periods of self-doubt and detrimental anxiety (especially the ones the paranoid, avoidant and dependent are likely to suffer). It does so by telling us to ignore our own faults and the consequences of our actions. Pathological narcissism is when a person's need for admiration and special treatment is so extreme that it gets in the way of them forming close bonds with others. Too much narcissism causes people to procrastinate, become lazy, refuse to admit they made a mistake, become incapable of putting themselves in other people's shoes, turn into a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, or become a victim of Pride. People who display constant, excessive narcissism are said to have narcissistic personality disorder.

There is some controversy as to what type of childhood narcissists had. Some researches believe that narcissists where overvalued by their parents, while others think that they had a dismal childhood.

People in a manic mood will also show a greatly inflated sense of self-esteem. However, a person in a manic mood will also have a lot of energy and will have an elevated mood, whereas a narcissist will be in a chronic state of depression. Also, a manic mood is by definition a state different from a persons normal mood, and the person will eventually return to an even mood, or possibly a depressed mood where self-esteem will come down.

The narcissist leans towards feeling they have an unalienable right to being privileged as opposed to the paranoid, antisocial, and passive-agressive personality disorders where they try to rationalize their behavior away.

A narcissist has some similarities to the Antisocial Personality in their selfishness, but they are not blind to others' emotions (although those emotions do come second to their own). While many of their actions are selfish in motive, narcissists can still be very friendly, outgoing and generous people. They may for example offer to pay for a meal, anticipating compliments for their generosity, or that they will be perceived as having more disposable income (making them a better person). However if they believe they will not be acknowledged for good behaviour, they usually won't make the effort.

They also feel friends and social activities are important. While friends are utilised mostly as ego buffers, this is not just through complimenting the narcissist, but also through the popularity perceived by having many friends. They can also come in handy for taking tiresome and strenuous tasks off the narcissist's shoulders.

Premodern concepts include the ancient Greek Hubris which meant excessive pride leading to or simply occurring before a fall. The contemporary view of narcissists is they're annoyingly unable to see this dynamic repeating itself in their lives.

See also Small Name, Big Ego, The Prima Donna, Spoiled Brat, and Inferiority Superiority Complex.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga
  • Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion believes herself to be the number one pilot and insists that others treat her that way. Because of this, she has only one friend; Hikari.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note develops a full on god complex and doesn't take criticism well. He has no friends at all; he has pawns and enemies.
  • Father from Fullmetal Alchemist. Hohenheim identifies the entire conspiracy to become God as overcompensation for Homunculus' original form, when he was perpetually trapped inside a flask and forced to serve the King of Xerxes. This is also true to a lesser extent for Pride, although he mainly serves as The Dragon for Father.

Comic Books
  • Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog: Scourge the Hedgehog (aka Evil Sonic) does not merely have Sonic's large ego, but cranks it Up to Eleven with a desire for power and respect (or fear; both are fine), and a solid belief that the world owes him a favour just for gracing it with his existance.
  • Doctor Doom: An egomaniac that talks in the third person. He's especially bad when his arch-enemy, Reed Richards, is involved.
  • Lex Luthor: His intelligence coupled with his refusal to care about those who are not extensions of himself and his ability to identify with beings like Brainiac and the Joker identifies him as a sufferer of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  • Sunset Boulevard: Norma Desmond didn't take her descent from super stardom well. She hired a former director as a butlter and reads fake fan mail. Eventually she goes completely delusional when she can't accept that the world doesn't revolve around her.
  • The Crucible: Abigail Williams sends her town into hysteria because she can't accept that her crush is Happily Married to someone else.
  • The Lion King: Scar says as much in his Villain Song: "The king undisputed, respect and saluted and seen for the WONDER I am!"

Literature
  • Peter Pan thinks the world of himself. In the animated sequel, Jane said he can fly because he's full of hot air.

Live-Action TV
  • Dr. Cox from Scrubs is the greatest doctor of them all, a diagnosing machine, this fabulous thing. Too bad his personal life is in shambles. The show has also delivered An Aesop when showing how a little bit of confidence is not necessarily a bad thing and goes a long way towards making their patients feeling at ease.

Religion and Mythology
  • Satan in the versions where he becomes jealous of God and rebels against him. Milton would say that he preferred to rule in Hell because he couldn't rule in Heaven.

Western animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : Azula is very competent when she's sure of herself which leads to a high opinion of herself. When her "best friends" betrayed her she became increasingly narassistic and paranoid.

    Dependent Personality Disorder 

Having its origins as a pathetic variation of moral insanity, this disorder causes people to be afraid of doing anything on their own out of fear of failure and always wanting someone there to hold their hand. When on their own, either through freezing up or lack of training, these people are useless. When their emotional crutch is with them they might gain competency, but they are still nowhere close to reaching their full potential. Under a certain age this is to be expected, so it's a requirement that you must be eighteen years or older to be diagnosed.

Both the dependent and narcissist want others to take care of their needs, but the dependent is able to realize others have needs too. The dependent can become overly submissive, with dependents frequently remaining in an abusive relationship. Worse, an abuser will usually lower the dependant's self-esteem further to make them even more dependant.

Adaptive variations derive huge satisfaction from working as a team. They feel out of their element when having to go it alone but they can stand on their own if they have to.

The Yandere archetype is an example of this trope: the female character is so dependent upon the love of her obsession that she is willing to threaten and kill in order to win or keep their boyfriend.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Wrath from the 2003 anime version. The lack of affection he receives eventually drives him insane, and leads him to believe that Sloth is his mother, to whom he literally fuses himself together so he will never be abandoned.

    Borderline Personality Disorder 

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Mother nature creates mental defenses that aren't important for survival. Indeed, suffers of this disorder often show chronic depression and anxiety disorders. Often times this disorder will be diagnosed after someone threatens or attempts suicide. Borderlines often report a history of childhood trauma. Prospective studies (those that interview people before the disorder starts) have shown that abuse correlates to the development of BPD, but is not necessary for its development. Some conceptualize the disorder as trauma based, calling it Complex PTSD.

There has been talk about renaming this disorder to "emotionally unstable personality disorder" because it provides a better description of what's going on. The name "borderline" stems from when patients were thought to be borderline schizophrenic. As psychiatrists found out more about schizophrenia, they came to realize that only a portion of borderline patients suffered from bouts of psychosis; thus, a name change was in order. There is evidence to suggest it has connections to bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation instead.

The life of a borderline can be described as chaotic. They often report feeling empty or bored. Lack of self-image leaves the patient feeling baffled in any situation, with no clue how to feel or think. With no concrete identity, they resort to theatrics, which proves exhausting and typically fools no one. They derive little satisfaction from this juggling of identities or even personal achievements, given the lack of emotional connection to them. This is often relieved by interpersonal relationships. Note that these can become unstable due to black and white thinking and their quickly shifting moods. They are also prone to nihilism, and have difficulty making and maintaining long-term plans. Even with an understanding of what's going on, few people have patience for the superficial and self-sabotaging nature of BPD.

Their moods can be described as mercurial. They can go from happy in the morning to suicidal by lunch time. It doesn't take much to shatter a borderline's good mood. Naturally, they seek to keep their mood 'up' with things that promise instant gratification: This includes use of addictive drugs, Self Harm, reckless spending, dangerous sex, and disordered eating (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are common), as well as more innocuous vices like porn. However, borderlines have a tendency towards depression, frequently describing feelings of emptiness, or brokenness. The vast majority of borderlines also meet the criteria of Major Depressive Disorder.

Contrary to popular culture's depiction (we're looking at you, Fatal Attraction), those with BPD are seldom Ax-Crazy or Consummate Liars ó though occasional examples exist ó and are far more prone to punishing themselves than others. Though they are terrified of abandonment and will take dramatic actions to avoid it, they're more likely to do so by threatening or attempting self harm rather than taking an If I Can't Have You approach. (Note: Despite Self Harm being listed in the criteria for BPD, Self Harm is not necessarily indicative of BPD.) It is estimated that 1 in 10 people diagnosed with this disorder will die at their own hands. Risk factors for completed suicide include previous suicide attempts (even if they seem manipulative), severe depression, substance abuse, and recent rejection. Any threats of suicide should be taken seriously.

See Mood-Swinger and Black and White Insanity for the Hollywood version of two symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka Miki has a black and white worldview, fears abandonment, breaks down under pressure, is prone to violent outbursts when frustrated, and becomes suicidal. When she finds out she can never be with Kyousuke, she snaps.

Comic Books
  • Harvey Dent/Two-Face from Batman, although varying based on the interpretation, usually has at least five symptoms (personality disassociation, black-and-white splitting, mood swings, alternating between extreme idealization and devaluation, and frequent outbursts of inappropriate anger), which is enough for a diagnosis.

Film
  • Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. By his own admission, Bateman has no set identity and just tells people what they want to hear. He is extremely insecure about his lack of professional and personal gloss (his job and clothes all came from daddy), and lashes out at anyone who calls attention it.
  • Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader has been theorized to have this disorder. Psychiatry Research (Vol. 185) also had a paper about him, proposing that lessons learned from the movie's portrayal of him, and demographic responses, could be used for public education.
  • Tiffany Maxwell from Silver Linings Playbook is a good example. She can't sit still for long, and finds comfort in the arms of skeevy, older men.
  • Sissy from Shame has a fear of abandonment, cuts herself, and engages in self-destructive behavior.

Literature
  • The book Girl Interrupted is based on its author's stay in a mental institution after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Theatre
  • Both of the eponymous characters of Romeo and Juliet suffers from this, in addition to being impulsive teens themselves. Throughout the play itself, both also had behaviors from this disorder which eventually led to their suicides; chronic depression, rushing into love, marriage and sex, changing from one mood to another and contemplating about killing themselves for each other.

    Antisocial Personality Disorder 

Often referred to as The Sociopath, this person is the same as the narcissist except they won't take it personally if you kick them out. The only reason they'll stay in somebody's life is because that person is gullible and there's no need to reinvent the wheel. When in doubt, narcissists want others to take care of their needs and wants. Antisocials will take what they need or want. They have a reputation for rationalizing acts most would consider dog kicking, in the process shaming their accuser for standing up for themselves.

Humans on average lean towards conservatism due to biological urges that make it as natural as breathing or having sex. People with antisocial personality disorder don't have these urges or they exist in diminished capacity. So if you want these individuals to be prosocial, the behavior will have to be learned which becomes harder to teach as the antisocial individual grows older.

Antisocial behavior is theorized to be nature's defense against leaders who don't have our best interests in mind, Obstructive Bureaucrats, and other situations where the disadvantages of being part of a group outweigh the benefits. When someone has a habit of obviously violating other people's rights and uses this as an excuse, they are said to have antisocial personality disorder. People with an antisocial style are action and adventure seekers or artists and scientists who have no qualms of violating established rules or disproving widely held theories. Precursors include Theophastrus's The Unscrupulous Man, Philippe Pinel's moral insanity, psychopathy, and sociopathy.

Like the paranoid, they see everybody else as always out to get them. The difference is the paranoid has a set of standards they abide by. Paranoids are nice people trying to survive in a world where everybody else is a sadistic psychopath. Antisocials are sadistic psychopaths trying to survive in a world where everybody else is a sadistic psychopath.

Despite the popular image of the antisocial as always a criminal, the antisocial can be contrasted against most criminals, who will usually take precautions against getting caught.

Also sometimes known as the Psychopathic or Sociopathic Personality. See also Lack of Empathy and The Sociopath.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • The Doll from Alan Moore's Promethea is referred to as an omnipath
    omnipath: appears to be a word coined by Alan Moore. I couldn't find it in the Oxford English Dictionary but it could be a
    combination of two words the Latin omnis meaning 'all' and the Greek pathos meaning "suffering'.
    I asked Paul McFedries who runs the wordspy website about omnipath and his reply was as follows :
    My guess is that, in this case, the author is trying to let us know that the character is a psychopath, a sociopath, and
    whatever other -path you can think of that implies deviancy, a twisted\ mind, and extreme antisocial behaviour.

Film
  • The late Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. He's open about his evilness and thinks everyone else is just as bad. In regards to authority, he considers himself an agent of chaos ruining The Plan.
  • A Clockwork Orange: Alex enjoys ultra-violence as a pastime and is this is why he is conditioned to become violently ill if he tries it again. It was the only way to stop him.

Literature
  • Sherlock Holmes has 2 villains who had all the opportunities to become to have great honest careers. James Moriarty was a well respected college professor. Sebastian Moran was considered an honorable soldier. In both cases, they where influenced by a genetic disorder to take up a dishonest lifestyle, perhaps Antisocial Personality Disorder.
    "There are some trees, Watson, which grow to a certain height, and then suddenly develop some unsightly eccentricity. You will see it often in humans. I have a theory that the individual represents in his development the whole procession of his ancestors, and that such a sudden turn to good or evil stands for some strong influence which came into the line of his pedigree. The person becomes, as it were, the epitome of the history of his own family." —The Adventure of the Empty House: Sherlock Holmes
  • Ellsworth Toohey from The Fountainhead shows a compulsive need for destruction, superficial charm, manipulative behaviour, sadistic tendencies and a need for control in all of his relationships.

Live-Action TV
  • Most soulless vampires on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, although not all of them. Spike without a soul, was no worse than Narcissistic. Angelus (Angel without a soul) is a classic case, although not all real people with this disorder are violent.
  • The Janitor from Scrubs is a habitual liar who thinks tripping someone and breaking their neck is hilarious.
  • Arrested Development provides a few interesting characters:
    • Maebe
      • Lack of responsibility - frequently truant from school, finding others to do her homework
      • Consummate Liar - Effortlessly pretends to be a film executive.
      • Theft from the banana stand, within which there is always money
    • GOB
      • Parasitic lifestyle - doesn't work a day in his life until he does so accidentally
      • Manipulative Bastard - one of the best
      • Lack of Empathy - Feels no responsibility for his son, even going as far as making a campaign video mocking him for not knowing who is father is.
    • Lindsey
      • All of the above plus she is super entitled
      • Insincerity - starts many "causes" based on whatever she perceives to be an issue at that point and shows shallow love for her daughter
      • Egocentricity - is more bothered by the fact that her husband doesn't find her attractive than the fact that her marriage is a sham.

    Histrionic Personality Disorder 

An evolution of the Victorian era concept of the Hysterical Woman, people with this disorder aren't looking for material wealth but attention and have developed an effective means of acquiring it. Being a Ditz or Really Gets Around isn't a requirement for this disorder.

Despite popular conception, people with this disorder aren't always promiscuous, though they often are; it's more about compulsive attention seeking and dramatic behavior, and a conception of self worth rooted in the approval of others.

People with this disorder are highly emotional, charming, energetic, manipulative, seductive, impulsive, erratic, and demanding, often gullible, have low tolerance for frustration, and are overly concerned with their appearance. A lot of people with this disorder lead successful careers where they're a valuable member of their company. The problem with this disorder is those afflicted have difficulty sustaining romantic relationships and personal friendships because of their stormy nature and perceived insincerity. Interestingly, this is the only personality disorder directly connected with physical appearance - HPD is more prevalent among individuals with above-average looks.

Dependents and histrionics are after the advantages of being part of a group. While dependents sit around and hope someone comes along, histrionics are go getters.

Please read the description and don't list people simply because they're a Fetish Fuel Station Attendant, Good Bad Girl, or Ethical Slut. Men can have this disorder; most people with an official diagnosis (as opposed to going undetected) are female. The less severe the disorder becomes the more they sincerely gravitate towards Manic Pixie Dream Girl and/or When She Smiles.

See also Attention Whore, Drama Queen and Femme Fatale.

Examples from various media

Anime
  • Kanon Nakagawa from The World God Only Knows dislikes people who don't show interest in her and only became an idol singer because she felt people weren't paying enough attention to her.

Film

Live-Action TV
  • Stephen Colbert from the The Colbert Report and in-character appearances in other media runs on applause.
  • It has been professionally suggested that Caroline Channing on 2 Broke Girls is a classic case of HPD.
    Her symptoms: Seeming to overcome her motherís abandonment and fatherís Ponzi scheme, Caroline comes off as resilient. But Caroline also craves attention, is flirty (sometimes to a fault) and is overly concerned about her appearance.

Video Games
  • Sonic the Hedgehog; it has been debated as to whether he fights evil for the rush, or for the attention. While this doesn't mean he wouldn't fight it anyway, he has been shown to bask in the attention and recognition he gets from being the hero.

Web Original
  • Donnie DuPre from Demo Reel is needy, slutty partly because he's trapped in a loveless marriage, clingy to people he just met and the only way we see him getting what he wants is through bedroom eyes and plenty of handsiness. Explained and made sympathetic by his tragic backstory: his mother committed suicide when he was a child and for the rest of his life, others treated him like he was worthless.

    Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder 

Contrary to popular belief, only a faction of people suffer from cleaning and asymmetrical OCD, which is the type most commonly represented in the media; As the wiki stated prior : "These people are very anal-retentive about making sure everything is perfect. While there are situations where it's justified, your average person's motivations can only hold out for so long. People with Obsessive-Compulsive PD have a hard time grasping that their anxiety is too overwhelming to take other people's feelings into consideration." However, people who suffer from it are often plagued with Intrusive Thoughts which threaten them with almost superhuman-like threats that if they don't do something (ie clean, walk backwards etc) then something bad will happen to them or their family. This side of the disorder isn't shown in the media due to its family unfriendly nature and can be pretty terrifying for those who have it.

They normally have enough mental stability to stick to their plans better than people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, who can't seem to make it past the washing hands step. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder where the person afflicted feels they have to repeat pointless tasks to make anxiety go away. Contrary to what people believe, Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder sufferers know that their unrealistic goal for perfection are irrational, as are their fears of what will happen if they don't.

Higher functioning suffers of this can be very effective team leaders or workers since their perfectionism drives them to get the job done. Lower functioning ones tend to have trouble getting projects in on time since they're busy making it juuust right, or tend to focus on the task itself while losing sight of the overall goal. They can also be a pain to work with, either chewing out subordinates for not living up to their (universally applied) standards or just not entrusting any tasks to anyone at all (they would only mess it up).

This behavior can be found in watered down and comedic forms all over the media but they usually don't portray the full ramifications of what it's like to have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Examples from various media

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Monk uses his obbession for perfection and details to solves cases.
  • The Hour Randall Brown is a high-functioning variant; his perfectionism and obsessive organization show how good a team leader he is and how difficult of a person to live with.
  • Emma on Series//Glee, to the point where it affects her personal relationships.

    Avoidant Personality Disorder 

Racked with self doubt, low self esteem, and social anxiety. They can sometimes be so withdrawn that they look like Schizoids on the outside. The difference is that Avoidants desperately want to be with people but are too afraid to, while true Schizoids couldn't care less.

Avoidants have been known to employ paranoid and passive-aggressive defenses, but there are a sizable majority of avoidants that don't. Narcissists with avoidant traits have a little more insight into their condition than most narcissists, but whereas the pure avoidant buckles under social pressure and retreats into a fantasy world, the narcissist will get drunk off his fantasies and keep plowing forward.

On the schizophrenic spectrum, avoidant personality disorder is seen as a less severe form of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, and the schizoid personality disorder is seen as a less severe form of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

See also hikikomori.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji's case is called "Hedgehog's delimma'. He wants to be close to others but is poked by their quills and so he withdraws.
    • Gendo as well. He puts on a callous Anti-social facade because he felt he didn't deserve Shinji's love, and so drove him away. He also desperately wanted to see Yui again.
  • Please Teacher!: Kei Kusanagi falls more towards an avoidant style but his fictional illness is an exaggerated form of something avoidants can go through if forced into a social setting and they can't escape to solitude.

Live-Action Television
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Lieutenant Barclay
    Barclay: I mean I'm the guy who writes down things to remember to say when there is a party. And then when he finally gets there he winds up alone, in the corner, trying to look... comfortable examining a potted plant
    Geordi: You're just shy Barclay.
    Barclay: Just shy... Sounds like nothing serious, doesn't it?

Theatrical Productions
  • Laura Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie
    The phenomenon of avoidant personality disorder (PD) is captured in the character Laura in Tennessee Williams's (1945/1999) The Glass Menagerie. Laura is so painfully shy that she is practically homebound; when she does go out, she does not interact with others. Desperately yearning for affection but believing that she is unlovable because of a disability, she interacts mostly with her somewhat overbearing and formerly very popular mother. Laura is a tragic figure, because it seems clear as the drama unfolds that Laura could make a fine companion if only she could escape her demons.

    Schizoid Personality Disorder 

Hard to distinguish from background scenery yet somehow manages to be abrasive. Severe cases of this disorder resemble catatonic states. If they have depersonalization disorder they won't be freaked out by it. This disorder rarely shows up in the media though many characters would meet the criteria if they were less ambitious, weren't secretly shy, or weren't spiced up with the Rule of Cool. Less severe cases are hard to differentiate from the avoidant. The main difference is avoidants are afraid of not being good enough and schizoids simply lack the motivation.

On one end the avoidant and schizoid personality disorders blend into healthy levels of introversion, shyness, and/or asocialness; and on the other end they blend into the schizotypal personality disorder. All three personality disorders are part of the schizophrenic spectrum.

There are many questions as to the validity of this disorder. People with this disorder are perfectly happy being loners, show very little distress, and therefore rarely seek treatment.

Occasionally, this may be confused with autism, and several of the characters on the list below have also been interpreted as autistic.

See also: Extreme Doormat and Empty Shell.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga

Literature
  • Sherlock Holmes - shows little interest in confiding in others or romantic relations despite showing perfect social skills, and is indifferent to praise, usually allowing all of the credit to go to whichever police officer Sherlock happens to be working with. His brother Mycroft also shows many characteristics of this personality disorder, including joining a club whos main rule prohibits talking to each other, showing extreme anhedonia manifested by little interest in much, even though his skills are probably superior to those of Sherlock.
  • The Underground Man from Notes from Underground. He also probably suffers from Avoidant Personality Disorder.
  • Lisbeth Salander from "The Millennium Trilogy" is most likely a schizoid. She's a loner with very few friends and acquaintances. She doesn't get close to anyone, and would much prefer to read a book about advanced mathematics, island-hop, or hack a computer than to socialize.
  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape shows little concern or interest in romantic or personal relationships. (except for one single girl, who happens to be dead) Is always seen reading, when not teaching, instead of talking with others. Does not express interest in anything that doesn't have anything to do with his interests, studying, or whatever his mind is on or what he perceives as important. In the words of Alan Rickman 'He is very concentrated...lives a solitary life. Does not have much of a social life' He has a massive intellect, knows it, and most likely views others beneath him or of just little to no interest.

Live-Action Television
  • House from "House" is very likely a schizoid. He has only one close friend, has trouble with intimacy (i.e failed relationships, only has sex with hookers) and lives as if his life is in his own head. His tendencies to alienate others, self-isolate, and even his main motivator for being a doctor- to solve a puzzle and indulge his intellectual drive rather than to help others or form human connections, is schizoid behavior.

    Schizotypal Personality Disorder 

"Poor fellow. Has very interesting behavior. I've been asking the doc what's wrong with him for years now but he keeps saying he's fine."

These people are the borderline schizophrenics. Like the borderline they lack a stable sense of self. If someone mentions Easter they immediately think the Easter Bunny's right ear, something else more specific than the average person would think of, or something only loosely affiliated with Easter. Symbols must travel down long and twisted corridors before reaching something the rest of us would find relevant and possibly not even making it anywhere at all. Borderlines have no sense of self because they're at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of their emotions which destroy any attempt at consistency.

Their speech pattern exhibits a Continuity Lock-Out with reality through the use of Vagueness Is Coming and Rule of Symbolism. This is believed to reflect a similar Magic Realism style perception of the world.

Variations exist where schizotypal eccentricities can be explained by avoidant nervousness or schizoid emptiness.

See also The Wonka, Cloudcuckoolander, and Bunny-Ears Lawyer. New Age beliefs and belief in Conspiracy Theories are common.

Examples from various media

    Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder 

NOTE: This disorder has been removed from the DSM and is no longer considered a valid diagnosis.

People who are afraid to tell you they have a problem with you but don't want to come across as selfish. The result is instead of the two of you talking through your problems the passive aggressive lets one annoyance after another pile up. While the fear of retaliation keeps the passive aggressive from directly stating their opinion, they will find small things that can easily overlooked but still cause annoyance to their target. Bothering by the Book is a well documented method of doing this thus giving the passive aggressive the appearance of the obsessive compulsive at the times. However if you look closely you'll see this behavior isn't consistent.

Someone exercising authority or control over them, being dependent on other people, and having to compete with other people can serve as catalysts or amplifiers to the above mentioned behavior.

This being antagonistic one moment but acting as if nothing happened the next can resemble the idealization and devaluation of the borderline but this resemblance is only superficial. Passive aggressive people are simply afraid to come out and say what's bugging them and borderlines have an instability extending to many levels of their psych. Passive aggressive personality disorder also doesn't imply self harming and impulsive behavior.

Also referred to as the negativistic personality disorder, focusing on their pessimistic outlook on life, due to excessive passive aggressiveness being a symptom of many mental disorders including all the personality disorders.

    Sadistic Personality Disorder 

NOTE: This disorder has been removed from the DSM and is no longer considered a valid diagnosis.

These people like to dominate others and take joy from inflicting harm on them. Unlike the Anti-Social Personality where violence may be carried out For the Evulz, during a crime, or other ill defined reasons, a person with a sadistic personality uses violence for the purpose of dominating and humiliating their victim. Similar to the Narcissist, these individuals are afraid of appearing weak or out of control. Their behavior extends beyond merely being callous, with those around them often being subjected to harsh punishment for straying out of line. Unlike the Narcissistic and Borderline Personalities, violence is not merely an outlet for anger, but an acceptable method for controlling others.

Interestingly in Real Life this disorder comes closer than the antisocial personality disorder to what people think of when they hear psychopath (sadistic serial killer) but it's still not an exact match .

Compare and contrast Combat Sadomasochist, The Fighting Narcissist, Psycho for Hire, Ax-Crazy, and Faux Affably Evil. Others like hiding behind positions of authority, using emotional abuse instead of violence, and lean more towards Drill Sergeant Nasty or a big brother type of person. Others still are shy people with low confidence similar to the avoidant except they secretly desire to make their tormentors (real or imagined) squirm in pain and when feeling bold enough see nothing wrong with the occasional Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

(NOTE: This disorder has nothing to do with individuals who may engage in sadistic sexual practices with a CONSENTING sexual partner.)

Examples from various media

Anime
  • In YuYu Hakusho, during the Dark Tournament finals, various lines of dialogue and their fighting styles show how sadistic Karasu, elder Toguro, and Sakyou can be.
  • Air Gear: Agito enjoys carving his road into the bodies of other storm riders.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Envy is proud of starting the Isval War, and takes sadistic pleasure in telling Mustang about his murder of Hughes, and the anger that erupts on his face.
    • The 2003 anime version of Envy shows Borderline traits like inconsistent gender identity, explosive anger, and anger over his/her abandonment by Hohenheim.

Literature
  • Harry Potter: Bellatrix Lestrange is fond of torturing people until they go insane

Live-Action TV
  • Jordan Sulivan from Scrubs enjoys ruining other relationships, and emasculating her ex-husband. Although she is rarely violent, she uses manipulation to enforce her rules.

Western Animation
  • Transformers Prime: Airachnid enjoys inflicting physical and emotional trauma on helpless victims, loves bringing up the things you'd rather forget she did. Eager to grab at power, especially if it means stabbing someone in the back.

    Everything and the kitchen sink 

Works that involve a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits will sometimes intentionally have every character written with a personality disorder in mind. They will often have amazing skill to compensate for their emotional-social deficiencies.

Examples from various media

Anime and Manga
  • Most of the odd characters in Death Note show symptoms of personality disorders, though sometimes it's less clear and more of an Ambiguous Disorder.
  • The homunculi from Fullmetal Alchemist are stated to be personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins, though some of their personalities have enough depth to be closer to severely disordered people.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. The show is an intentional Deconstruction of the implications of having exceptional child soldiers pilot Giant Mecha. At first, the pilots are simply quirky, but the depth of their problems is revealed over the course of the series.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka and Homura both show signs of personality disorders (Borderline for Sayaka and Avoidant or Schizoid depending on the timeline for Homura). Madoka shows some symptoms of Dependent. If their barriers are anything to go by, some of the witches may have had personality disorders as humans.

Literature
  • Most of characters in the books written by Fyodor Dostoevsky suffer from different disorders. He was not called "Mad Russian" without a reason.

Live-Action TV
  • LOST is known for its fantastic and Sci-Fi elements resulting in Mind Screw, but the crux of the series is characters and their issues interacting with each other and the strange environment.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper shows signs of various personality disorders at any given time based on Rule of Funny.

Web Original
  • Superego is about a group of people trapped inside a hospital, each with a tattoo on their hands of a number which corresponds to their personality disorder as listed in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). So far, every character is archetypal of their respective disorder.


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alternative title(s): Personality Disorders
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