8.1 MORE - PERSONALITY DISORDERS AND ABUSE
Many people who are abusive also have other problems. In fact, they almost certainly do. The abuse is generally hiding a void in their lives, an insecurity.
It can be very helpful to understand what is going on psychologically BUT it really is the behavior that you want to change, not the person's psyche which will be a lot harder.
Yet understanding the dynamics of his/her mind, might give you some insight into how to reach him/her, or why he/she is insecure and how you might help him/her become more secure. Nevertheless dealing with someone who is abusive and who has a personality disorder can get complicated.
I fall firmly in the camp that says deal with the abuse first and foremost, especially the verbal abuse. This is not hard to recognize once you know the signs, there are specific ways to deal with it and you know when you are making progress. In a sense dealing with abuse is a "top down" approach to the problem.
Dealing with a personality disorder is a "bottom up" approach. While this might yield great benefits eventually, it will take a long time and cost a lot of money. Furthermore it will much harder to determine if the abuser has made progress. For example, my wife was in private therapy for a year and a half, and I never got the feeling that it helped.
I believe that simply dealing with abusive communication and relearning how to communicate so that it is not destructive will yield immense and immediate benefits. Everyone can feel better about themselves and the relationship. By changing the way your family communicates, you have changed an important dynamic and created an environment that is much healthier.
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