Personality Disorders Do Not Make You Unloveable

A while ago, I mentioned having read in a women’s magazine about two people who were parents of adults with borderline personality disorder. I just reread these stories, and the first one attributed all his daughter’s unfavorable characteristics – the fact that she only came around when she needed her parents, the fact that she wouldn’t allow the parents to see her child, etc. -, to BPD. This is a pretty common theme. If you c heck out any site for family of borderlines, you’ll see that borderlines are inevitably characterized as unloveable and their unloveability is inevitably due to their BPD.

Let me set this straight for you: no mental illness makes a person intrinsically unloveable, except maybe in certain cases where the criteria of that mental illness are inevitably bad, and then we’re having a circular argument. I’m talking about psychopathy, for example, but even people with this condition may want to heal.

Borderlines and others with personality disorders more commonly than those without them have characteristics that are undesirable. For this reason, a personality disorder may cause someone to appear unloveable, but then it’s still not that personality disorder in itself that causes it, but the way the patient chooses to handle their disorder. I for one fight my BPD tendencies and try hard to recover. This doesn’t mean I’m there already – I am not, and there are still characteristics of mine that are pretty undesirable. Then again, everyone has more or less undesirable traits, and it is only when these traits cause a person to either suffer significantly or become a danger to themselves or others, that we call it a personality disorder.

Let’s also consider the fact that most people with mental illness, including personality disorders, suffer at least as much from their illnesses as those around them do. The cluster of disorders to whcih BPD belongs in DSM-IV, is characterized by the patients being a pain in the ass. Psychopathy and narcissism are in the same cluster, but then again even people with these conditions may want to heal and try to hurt their relatives as little as possible.

It’s true, most mental illnesses include odd or annoying behaviors, or they wouldn’t be recognized as mentally illnesses. I for one get extremely annoyed by most people with psychotic disorders. Then again, does this mean that psychotic disorders make someone annoying? No. It’s the annoying behavior that is inappropriate, and people without mental illness may well exhibit the same behavior, only it isn’t seen as part of a mental illness. I remember a few years back the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically typical proposing criteria for normal personality disorder, neurotypical disorder, etc. as a humorous rebuttal of the idea that those without mental illness are saved from being a pain in the ass. Check them out and have a good laugh and, if you’re normal or neurotypical, realize the truth in some of this.

21 thoughts on “Personality Disorders Do Not Make You Unloveable

  1. I am a medical professional who has worked with the mentally ill. A diagnosis does not make you automatically a bad person. I have know many mentally ill folks who when not symptomatic were lovely people. I have two children who suffer from a mild mental illnesses, one has an anxiety disorder and the other has OCD. Their diagnosis does not make them unlovable, and unfortunately for the reasons listed in your post we have done our best to keep the kids’ illnesses very discreet.


    1. Yes. As I said, if someone isn’t exhibiting any annoying or at least odd behavior, they won’t be diagnosed with a mental illness. I am not denying that mental illness can predispose to negative behaviors. Especially in cases such as with psychopathy it very often does. What I was meaning to say is that just because someone has a personality disorder (or other mental illness) doesn’t make them intrinsically unloveable. Also, not all a mentally ill person’s bad behavior is due to their illness.


  2. A person is a creation of God – regardless of mental or physical ailment. We are called to love others – period. That’s what we need to focus on. We need to let go of the labels and love others, while encouraging them.


    1. TRUE TRUE!! The mind is such a complex web of thought and emotion, action and reaction. It’s so easy for something to go amiss- it doesn’t mean anyone is less valuable than another


  3. No diagnosis makes anyone a bad person and we have to look around those quirks that can be annoying. I have a son who has special needs and some of the things that he does are because of what he has… and others are just because he’s a little kid and that’s what kids do.


  4. The notion that a personality disorder could make you unloveable makes me want to cry. One of my dear friends has struggled with mental illness throughout her life and wasn’t properly diagnosed with a BPD until her adult years. She has received cruel treatment throughout her life from countless people who just didn’t understand her BPD. I really wish more people would be interested in informing themselves about issues like this so we could all coexist.


  5. It’s sad that people put the label on a person before giving them a chance….mentally ill certainly doesn’t mean unloveable.


  6. I always feel that once you slap a name on something, it’s easy to blame (for lack of better words) things on the illness. I don’t even like the word illness. I think different is more appropriate because not everyone is going to think and act like you. I don’t think it makes a person flawed, just different.


  7. I really enjoy reading your thoughts on BPD, this is really new to me. I can’t say that I am sure that I completely understand it yet! I am going to check out that link you shared!


  8. Definitely agree. While obviously the illness does contribute some to a person’s behavior, or else they wouldn’t have an illness, it still does not make all of their choices & they can choose to let it consume them or fight to be who they want to be. Of course, this depends on the person, the type of illness & the severity of it, but in any case I found myself nodding in agreement while reading your post.


  9. There are plenty of unlovable qualities about people whether they do or don’t have a mental illness. I certainly wouldn’t slap that generality on someone just because they may suffer from a condition of some kind.


  10. There are so many different types of mental illness and each to it’s own varying degree of intensity- it’s so unfair to pinpoint a single illness as a reason not to love someone. Good post.


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