Living with a Crazy (Cluster B Personality Disordered) person is an exhausting, soul-sucking experience that can make any sane person feel crazy. No doubt, if you are in a relationship with a person who has a Cluster B Personality Disorder, you have been accused of being the crazy one.
But have you ever stopped to wonder if you, in fact, might actually BE the crazy person? Insanity can be organic (nature), but it can also be learned behavior (nurture). Is it possible that you, by osmosis, could have developed a personality disorder from living with a disordered person?
It’s very unlikely, because personality disorders are developed in childhood, as a result of abuse, neglect and/or over-indulgence. Because of these abuses in childhood, the disordered person remains emotionally stunted and develops maladaptive coping skills.
Also, one of the hallmark traits of all of the Cluster B personalities, is an unwillingness and even an inability to accept responsibility for their own actions, and the consequences. No, if you have ever asked yourself if YOU might be the Crazy one, odds are, you are not.
However, this does not mean that you are not responsible for your own actions. Or that you are impervious to ‘acting’ Crazy, or that you get a pass for your resulting actions. For instance, if you are in a relationship where you are being manipulated, baited, goaded and gaslighted, and you finally ‘snap’, then you are responsible for snapping.
The real question you should be asking yourself is, “Why am I still in this relationship?” or, “Why did I get into a relationship with a personality disordered person in the first place?”
Healthy people don’t. A healthy person will end the relationship whenever the disordered person begins pushing boundaries. A healthy person will not make excuses for their abuser. A healthy person does not feel sympathy for their abuser. A healthy person does not believe they can somehow control the abusive person by attempting to insulate the disordered person from their own life. A healthy person believes they deserve better treatment.
These are things that Codependent people do in relationships. And while the Codependent person is not abusive, they are not healthy, either. In fact, Codependent people likely suffered from similar childhood abuses that their Disordered partners did, but developed different (albeit still maladaptive) coping mechanisms. Instead of being abusive, the Codependent becomes a Victim.
So why is the Cluster B Personality considered ‘Crazy’ and the Codependent is not? Because the Codependent person can change. The Codependent person can get help. The Codependent has the ability to look reflectively inward and accept their own shortcomings and can be taught proper boundaries and how to enforce them. The Codependent person can be in a loving relationship with a healthy person. The Disordered person cannot. There is hope for the Codependent.
The person with Cluster B Personality will always blame the people closest to them for their unhappiness, and they will never turn the mirror around and accept that the person staring back at them is responsible and accountable for their own actions. And they will never, ever wonder if they are the Crazy One.
Pam McCoy is a writer and author and co-host of Crazybusters.