“Giddy up.” Kramer’s famous saying and voicemail message in “Seinfeld”
Personality disorders are an interesting phenomenon in psychology and psychiatry. We have been struggling to characterize and classify people with these “disorders” for the past 100 years or so. They seem to be enduring patterns of behavior that deviate significantly from socially accepted norms. Personality disorders affect how one feels, thinks, deals with others and controls oneself. They are unique mental health conditions and are often mistaken for other mental health problems like ADHD or PTSD.
One of the more unusual personality disorders is the so called “schizotypal personality disorder”. Most of you are probably more familiar with the more talked about narcissistic and sociopathic personality disorders. You may not be familiar with Kramer (from ‘Seinfeld’) and Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) on “Friends” as fictional examples of Shizotypals. They were both kind of strange. I know I’m not supposed to do this, diagnose people vicariously, but Einstein shows some schizotypal like behaviors; he was non-conforming, eccentric and fascinated by the world, had odd ideas and came across as strange. See the famous image below:
Albert Einstein – was on a different wavelength from most people
Why is it important to be aware of personality disorders? They are serious mental conditions and some 15-20% of people you work with may have one. These people are not aware of their disorder and will often leave you thinking ‘you’ are the crazy one. You are more likely to be annoyed by them rather than empathize with them, calling them “jerks”, “idiots” “weirdos” and “creeps”. They tend to create problems rather than solve them. If you are surrounded with a lot of drama at work, you may be in the midst of a co-worker with a real personality disorder.