In the previous article we discussed the reasons behind why some people choose to use false allegations of abuse to manipulate situations in their favor. This is particularly common, as we talked about, during high conflict divorces and custody battles when a spouse is attempting to manipulate the court into giving them what they want. Moving on, we are going to look at the five types of personality disorders where this would be more common. In other words, the types of people who psychologists say are more likely to make false allegations of child abuse, when things aren’t working in their favor.
According to Dr. Edward Nunes. MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, the use of false allegations is far more prevalent among those who have five specific personality disorders. These disorders are Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Paranoid Personality Disorder. The first three are as follows:
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
According to Steve Bresset, Ph.D., in his article on Antisocial Personality Disorder published on psychcentral.com, people with this disorder often lack empathy. They can be very cold and contemptuous of other people’s feelings. They tend to feel disdain rather than pity for others who are struggling, and are also known to be irresponsible and exploitative within the confines of their sexual relationships.
Bressert also says that those with Antisocial Personality Disorder also tend to have a rather inflated sense of their own worth. They can often appear arrogant and self-serving. With regard to the law and other societal norms, they are frequently dismissive, believing that the rules only apply to others, and that they are above such regulations. Additionally, they can be frequently deceitful and feel little or no remorse.
Borderline Personality Disorder:
In his article on people with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bressert says that they are often very impulsive. They are known to engage with frequency in self-harming behaviors, like risky sexual behaviors, cutting, and even suicide attempts. They also commonly struggle with impulse control, and wildly fluctuating emotions.
Bressert explains that they tend to experience intense abandonment fears and also inappropriate anger when there is any indication of being separated from someone they are dependent on. This occurs even when the separation is for perfectly valid and acceptable reasons. This can manifest during divorce, in particular, when they feel that they are being” abandoned” by their spouse, and as a result they can lash out in unacceptable and inappropriate ways.
Histrionic Personality Disorder:
Bressert describes people with Histrionic Personality Disorder as usually having an established history of highly emotional outbursts and attention-seeking behavior. He says they desire to be the center of attention at all times. They are often resentful and petulant when others have taken the social ‘center stage’.
Initially, Bressert says, they often appear to be interesting, vibrant and theatrical people. But it does not take long to notice that they are easily put out when not at the center of events. Attention seeking behavior, according to Bressert, can range from being overly sexual and seductive, to pursuing dangerously high risk “adventures” in a public setting. It can also mean telling lies to get attention and sympathy.
Join us next time as we will be looking at the last two personality disorders in detail, and talking about what you can do to keep yourself safe when involved in a divorce or custody battle with a spouse who may be exhibiting one or more of these behaviors.