Month: August 2019

Paranoid Personality Disorder in Relationships

In previous posts in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. We have done Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and OCD vs OCPD. These three personality disorders are also listed as basic culprits in substance dependencies, addictions and religious cults including fanaticism.

This week we move on to Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness. Even in people who have been mentally stable all their lives. Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how we think, perceive the world, feel about other people or how we relate to others. This week, we dive into OCD and OCPD, their differences and similarities. Plus, how they manifest and affect relationships.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoia falls under cognitive distortions. It is a consistent and often unfounded feeling or view that others are out to hurt you. Neutral everyday situations are often interpreted negatively, even if positive evidence is presented. Paranoia is a sign of severe mental illness and can often be associated with schizophrenia. As in many mental illnesses, paranoia is also on a spectrum. This means that it can be (i) non-clinical paranoia or (ii) Clinical Paranoia.

Non-clinical paranoia

is  so mild, even your loved ones don’t notice that you are afraid of shadows. And it can be so severe, it disrupts life entirely. Both your life and the life of your loved ones, relatives and passers-by. It manifests in mild distrust, which is adaptive and good for you. At best, it helps you detect a dangerous person or scenario before it escalates into injury. At worst, it ensures that your partner or spouse sits in a corner silently when friends of the opposite gender visit your house  To avoid being accused of being interested in other people. Imagine that girl who secretly flirts with your man every second she gets. Your body and instincts felt her flirting before she even flashed that smile at him while ignoring you as if you were one of the chairs on your man’s table. The one who thinks she is sleek so you cannot see her tricks? Isn’t she the one who got you checking his phone to see if her shenanigans have digital too?

How do you know when the girl flirting is a real danger for your relationship?

Clinical paranoia

manifests in extreme distrus directed towards everything and everybody. Innocent encounters can be interpreted to be hostile and potentially dangerous. The difference between clinical from non-clinical paranoia is the strength of the idea of the threat and the level of distress the idea causes. Does the idea of a threat and the distress it causes interfere with daily functioning? It is a tough judgment call to be made after evaluation and reflection. 

What happens to you when you cannot trust your brain to differentiate between real danger and imagined danger? Because we are wired to survive, we are always watching out for danger. The kind of danger that can end our lives. We are also looking to recognize this kind of danger in time, so we can react to it in time before irreparable damage is caused. Our brain starts lying to us when we develop Cognitive Distortions where our brain reads all the signals of our surroundings, as usual, but then distorts the perspective or the interpretation of the said signal.

Example True Story

A friend of a friend started the downhill spiral and nobody realized what it was until it was almost too late. Let us call him Jose. Jose worked in a competitive company in Upper hill where everybody was under their thirties and thirsting for more. If you were good at your job, your salary increased, you were promoted, and you were included in travel plans. He worked so hard! Got promoted, his paycheck improved, and his boss knew his name. Jose’s boss said, ‘good morning Jose!’ when they met at the coffee machines in the mornings. This is a boss who said ‘good morning all’ like teachers say ‘good morning class’ because he couldn’t remember everybody’s name. Jose was riding on a high. Supporting his parents financially and paying fees for his younger siblings. He was dating Achieng, beautiful intelligent Achieng who was also an achiever at another multinational in Westlands. Jose and Achieng were going to have a son together and had started talking marriage.

Though he can now, with hindsight see that his mind played tricks on him, he cannot pinpoint when it started. However, he speaks of a time when, wherever he walked into a room, his colleagues went silent. They were talking about him behind his back. Even his boss was just pretending to like him while he planned to fire him and promote Lauren. Jose knew it because of the way the boss said, ‘morning Jose!’ instead of saying ‘good morning Jose!’ It was said in a hurry as the boss rushed to talk with Lauren. Jose was sure the boss was sleeping with Lauren and planned to give Lauren Jose’s job as a reward.

Speaking of which, Achieng had changed too. At 8 months pregnant, she was seen laughing and flirting with other men both at her job and in restaurants. Jose was sure she was cheating. Could he even trust that the child she was carrying was his?

 Jose started following Achieng around to make sure she was not cheating on him. And he started checking the phone to make double sure which obviously made Achieng angry which led to them breaking up before the baby was born. This was in February 2017. By November 2017, Jose had a huge loud fight with his boss which led to his suspension from work. By now, Lauren had left for another company, but Jose was sure that his boss was plotting to get id of him anyway. Christmas 2017, Jose spent it with his friends I Nairobi because he was also certain that his parents were siding with Achieng to take his son away from him.

By the way, Jose had paid good money to confirm that Achieng’s baby was his.

By June 2018, Jose was being followed by the government in a black Volvo. That Volvo was everywhere he went. Could it be the illuminati? He hadn’t been to church for many years and he had criticized the government in one of Mwangi’s Facebook posts. He knew he shouldn’t have done it, but it was just a joke on Facebook. Only, another friend had told him that gava was cracking down on Facebook inciters. When I asked him, which friend told him this, he cannot remember. It could be anyone. He packed up and moved upcountry to his parents to lie low for a while. Let things calm down in the city.

The thing is, Jose didn’t trust his parents either. They were always plotting against him. Talking about him behind his back. Siding with Achieng and planning to kill him so they could steal his money.

Signs and symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder

In the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Paranoid Personality Disorder is cataloged as:

1. Deep rooted and extensive distrust and suspicion of others where other people motives are often or always interpreted as malicious. This disorder sets in by early adulthood and can display itself in a variety of contexts.

  • Without sufficient basis, you suspect that others are exploiting you. Or planning to, harm you. Deceiving you even when evidence to the contrary is presented.
  • You are unfairly and constantly preoccupied with doubts about other people’s loyalty to you. You presume them to be untrustworthy even when they haven’t done anything to prove untrustworthy.
  • Reluctance to confide in loved ones because you fear that whatever you share will be maliciously used against you. Even when the fear is unwarranted.
  • Benign remarks or events are interpreted as demeaning or threatening.
  • You become unforgiving and persistently bear and nurse grudges. You may remember and magnify insults, injuries, or slights for years.
  • Angry reactions and counter-attacks for perceived attacks on your character or reputation. Even when other people did not notice or perceive the insult or slight.
  • In intimate relationships, you have recurrent suspicions regarding fidelity without justification. Even when a partner or spouse has proven to be faithful.

2. Paranoid Personality Disorder may occur as an independent disorder. However, researchers believe that this disorder is caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors.

Most often, Paranoid Personality Disorder is present in families where a history of schizophrenia and other delusional disorders are present.

Early childhood trauma may also be a contributing factor.

How Paranoid Personality Disorder Damages Relationships

Paranoid personality disorder over-stimulates the fear response which makes you experience most events and interactions in an exaggerated negative way. It’s like wearing glasses that distort the picture of your life together and how you experience those around you. There is a high probability that those close to you feel that you don’t see them as they are. That you only see what you want to see in them, and most of what you see is negative.

Heightened Suspicion

will exhaust your loved ones because nobody can spend their entire life proving you wrong.  

Constant criticism and judgment

ensures that your loved ones feel misunderstood. In the best case scenario, loved ones will avoid you. In the worst case, you will break the self-esteem of people you love.

Stubbornness and holding grudges

means you do not forgive or give your loved ones a break. It is ungenerous and most relationships do not last where lack o f generosity reigns.

Pessimism breeds a generally negative attitude

which blocks you from happiness and experiences of love. This blockage from experiencing love coupled with your preoccupation with all the potential threats and unearthing evidence of those threats,will also push your loved ones away.

Secrecy makes you guarded.

You do not show or share your feelings which can also manifest as passive-aggressive behavior. Most loved ones appreciate straightforwardness.

Controlling behavior

means that the need to control others prevents you and others from maintaining other healthy relationships with family and friends. This is corrosive for any individual.


makes you extremely anxious and mistrusting about others’ loyalty to you which makes it hard to maintain strong relationships.

OCD and OCPD in Relationships

In our 1st post in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. 2nd post was about Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) whereas last week, we dissected the complexities of Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness. Even in people who have been mentally stable all their lives. Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how we think, perceive the world, feel about other people or how we relate to others. This week, we dive into OCD and OCPD, their differences and similarities. Plus, how they manifest and affect relationships.


OCD and OCPD are so similar, you will think they are the same. Like Ketepa tea and Kericho Gold. Same same but different. If you don’t see the packet, and just drink the tea, you may not be able to tell which is which. Howeer, if you are used to Ketepa, you will think this chai is not the same s my chai. But why?

Well, OCD vs OCPD may feel like that. Only, if OCD is Ketepa, OCPD Kerich Gold.

There are some core differences between them:

Symptoms and Characteristics


OCD is defined by the presence obsessions or compulsions. Obsessive behaviors and compulsive behaviors can occur together or separately. In any case, the individual affected is unable to function properly and the quality of life is affected negatively.


Obsessions are defined by specific clinical characteristics:

  • Irrational thoughts that cause extreme distress. Some thoughts can be so vivid they seem real.
    • You accept these thoughts as your own although you are unable to control them.
    • These thoughts are so distressing, they make you act in compulsive ways as you try to dispel them.

Compulsions are neither routines nor addictions. Compulsive behavior can look like obsessive behavior. It is characterized by abnormal behaviors such as:

  • Irrational, ritualistic behaviors you repeat over and over again. These can be as simple as hand-washing or as complex as walking round the same block, by the same route, at the same time every day.
    • Engaging in repetitive behaviors such as washing hands repeatedly till they bleed for fear that if you don’t, you will catch a bacteria that will kill your entire family.
    • Hoarding things such as hoarding food for fear that a famine will come and you will go hungry. A friend and I were laughing about this the other day.
    • Performing ritualistic behaviors such as lighting a candle at 7 every evening. Maybe to dispel the anxiety and fear that someone will die if you don’t.
    • You recognize that your repetitive behaviors are irrational, but you’re unable to stop yourself.


OCPD is characterized by an excessive need for perfection. A relentless need to control not only your environment, but the nature of interpersonal relationships.

  • A preoccupation with details, rules, lists, and order to the extent that you may miss the major objective of an activity.
  • An excessive devotion to work at the expense of family or friends.
  • A rigidity and inflexibility with regards to morals, ethics, values, and/or the adherence to rules.
  • Hoarding – the inability to get rid of items that no longer have value.
  • The inability to be generous to others, even loved ones.

Example True Story

This week, we have no example. During the weekend, a friend and I were laughing about our tendencies to hoard food and money. We both have an interesting relationship with money. Hiding money. Saving it. Saying we are broke when we are not. Refusing to go out and ‘waste’ money on alcohol when our friends want to get out and paint the city red.

We know it is weird but we still do it. Is that OCD?

The fear for us is that a day will come when money will be finished. We will loose our jobs and be money-less. The bank will go bankrupt and our money will disappear.

Yes, crazy stuff.

Funny enough, both my friend and I also hoard food. Not like old rotting food. No, we are better than that. We just buy more food than we need and freeze it. Or we buy canned food for rainy (food-less) days. Are we afraid food will end or are we afraid that we will not be able to afford food when the bank runs bankrupt and we loose our jobs?

We don’t know.

What we know for sure is that we grew up with parents who lacked respect for money and therefore misused it. ‘Hakuna pesa ya unga’ was a constant in childhood. There is no money for floor. We never slept hungry, (or did we and we supressed it?) but some days, we helped our parents ‘worry’ about food and money.

So, we still worry.

According to studies, most people living with OCPD do not seek treatment. They think, ironically, that they are totally capable of handling that shit on their own. Those living with OCD will often seek help because they are aware that their thoughts and actions are not logical or rational.

Either, I have never met someone who lives with OCD or OCPD symptoms; or, I never recognized the behavioral patterns as OCD or OCPD. As I do every week, I asked on social media for input regarding OCD and OCPD. No one reached out. Whichever the case, we have no personal story this week.

Do you know someone who has been diagnosed with OCD or OCPD? Or displays the behavioral patterns characteristic for OCD or OCPD? Please email us on and we will contact you for a story-telling date.

How OCD and OCPD Damages Relationships

Relationships are difficult and challenging even for those who do not have personality disorders.

It is difficult for a OCD or OCPD personality to maintain stable relationships because:

  • perfection is hard to achieve. OCD and OCPD individuals may manage to achieve some level of perfection on their own. However, to find a partner that believes and lives in this perfection is nearly impossible.
  • when perfection isn’t achieved, the individual with the personality disorder will become critical and anxious. Stressful for all involved. This can also create resentments.
  • the need for control can make it impossible to maintain a healthy relationship. Nobody thrives in a controlling relationship.
  • individuals with OCD or OCPD can experience anxiety attacks. Especially when in the company of someone they attracted to. That may lead to communication hitches and misunderstandings. All relationships thrive on good communication.
  • for those with obsessions related to hygiene or contamination, engaging in sexual relations can be like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. For a guy/girl who doesn’t climb any hills or mountains.
  • other OCD and OCPD personalities become over-stimulated when people get into their personal space. For these, even the thought of cuddling is a no no. This affects intimacy on all levels.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Relationships

In our 1st and 2nd posts in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. Spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness. Even in people who have been mentally stable all their lives.

Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how someone thinks, perceives the world, feels about other people or relates to others. Last week was about Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). This week we write about Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

We have been traveling for a week and because this post was already planned, we have been discussing Narcissism. Firsts, we asked ourselves and each other if we know anyone with NPD. Then, we wondered if we ourselves are narcissistic. Lacking empathy for the plight of others. Thinking ourselves too important to be bothered. Centering ourselves in all situations so we can be admired and praised. Because that is what an individual with NPD is or does. It is megalomania.

We shocked ourselves by listing the traits that characterize narcissists. Don’t we all have that friend who dreams big and focuses on winning big? Or the one who ignores our lives and existence as they constantly tell us about their fantastic lives and dreams?

Did you ever try to tell someone close to you about your horrible experience and they turned it around into a competition-le-horrible? Telling you about their horrible-st experiences that were worse that yours? Or someone told you something that was sensitive and shameful about themselves? That you used against them? Turned around as a knife to stab with to win an argument?

Don’t panic! With narcissism, as with other Personality Disorders, it is the combination of a few factors that counts. Not the existence of one characteristic.

As I was researching for this post, I learnt something new. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not equivalent to simple regular daily narcissism.

Simple Friendly Narcissism:

Apparently, some people are narcissistic but they are not mental ill. These are the narcissists at work that get on your nerves till you quit. Cut the cue at the newspaper kiosk because they feel their time is worth more than yours. At times, we experience them as obnoxious because they feel superior to others and see nothing wrong with that.

Regular day-to-day narcissists are not the people you go to when you need empathy. hey have none to offer. They also feel entitled to the best of everything, and are jealous if you have the best of anything. Remember you teacher in the village who thought they were God’s gift to the village? Like that. You admired the teacher and their family and they looked down on you? Yes, that one.

Remember how your mom worked for that teacher and the teacher refused to pay your mom? Although the teacher knew that your mom really needed that money? And then teacher comes to your home and your mom has bought a new calf an they ask scornfully ‘sasa pesa ya kununua kang’ombe ilitoka wapi. Na kamekondaa!’ where did the money to buy this come from? the way it is thin! Regular narcs have no difficulty exploiting others in order to get what they want. For free. Be aware that they are not aware or insightful about what they are doing. Therefore, they feel no shame or remorse.

Apparently, these regular day-to-day narcissists have a knack for getting powerful positions aided by their manipulative powers. Plus, they are willing to do anything to keep the power once they get it. Does this ring any bells regarding your local politician. Or the general manager at your company?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Excessive focus on the self defines Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NDP is characterized by long-term pattern of abnormal behavior. Exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy are very defined in this disorder. People with NPD are often described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, demanding or high-maintenance. They tend to seek excessive attention and admiration and they have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat.

additionally, NPD personalities frequently try to associate with people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This is as a way of enhancing themselves. Generally, narcissists add people into their lives as a homemaker adds a nice carpet in an already perfect room. The carpet can be thrown out any minute. The narcissist being the perfect room. Obviously.

Example True Story

In the 80s and early 90s, Ndaina was completely focused on becoming one of the best dancers in the Florida Night Club (F2) in Nairobi. In the 90s, F2 dancers were paid well and  dancers had a polished social profile. Almost like modern day’s Instagram accounts. Her job gave her the possibility of meeting rich gentlemen for marriage or fun. Plus, the tips were better than the salary itself. Ndaina’s dream was actually to become the best of the troop AND to marry one of the affluent men that occasionally graced F2.

Future plans

She had the names of the men she had her eyes on and she followed their social, political and financial progress carefully. Although she relished the attention she received from other visitors to the club, she rarely noticed who they were or how they looked. Often, she spoke about men in two categories.

(1) rich and worthy, or

(2) broke and worthless.

A few men were known to lose their wits once they had met her. They did everything to be allowed to touch her exquisite skin and curves. Rumor had it that she had financially ruined a couple of gentlemen as they showered her with money. they hoped she would see them as more than just temporary passersby on her journey to her designated elite husband.

As far as women were concerned, Ndaina made it clear that she did not like friendships with women. Basically because women were generally useless to her AND they were jealous.

Jealous of her beauty, her skin, her curves, her money, her freedom and her availability.

Lack of Empathy

In 1995, Ndaina narrated to a mesmerized group of girls, how 2 years earlier, in 1993, she had succeeded to ruin a woman. The woman in question had apparently started it by trying to ruin Ndaina’s reputation. This woman, the wife of an affluent businessman, had attended one of Ndaina’s exclusive  parties with her husband of 15 years. The husband had fallen in lust and obsession with Ndaina. He had subsequently started to ruin his family financially and emotionally as he did anything necessary to win Ndaina. Ndaina played with him as a cat plays with a bird whose wings are already broken.

The wife’s first mistake was imagining that reputation was important to Ndaina. So she wasted money and time trying to ruin Ndaina’s reputation. That backfired on her face when Ndaina made it clear that she was not working on becoming an angel. Plus, she was not in the business of helping women cling to their husbands. Especially husbands who wanted to leave for better pastures.

The second mistake was the wife threatening to leave her own husband if he didn’t stop shaming her publicly by chasing Ndaina openly. The husband called the bluff and left his wife and set-up a bachelors pad in Kileleshwa, neighboring Ndaina so he could see her more often.

Toxic matrimony and parenting

In 1989, Ndaina had given birth to her only son, Rono. No one knows who Rono’s father is. If Ndaina knew, she never revealed this valuable information to anyone, not even Rono himself. Ndaina told 3 men that they were Rono’s father. That way, she had child support from 3 men. None of them knew about the existence of the other 2. Neither did any of them want to be publicly identified as Rono’s father. They were respectably married to other women and wanted to stay respectably married. It was fun to be rich and have Ndaina as a mistress.

They were never invited to the same party and would never meet each other.

When affluent businessman left his wife and moved to Ndaina’s neighborhood it was both welcome and unwelcome. For one, his public display of obsession was threatening to ruin her 3 other ‘stable-private-secret relationships’. They were also a source of income. Secondly, he was affluent but not thaaaat affluent. He was not on Ndaina’s list of worthy men.

So, Ndaina devised a plan to gain from the affluent man without him ruining her life. She told Rono’s 3 fathers that she too wanted to be married. Ensured that each man would continue to support his son, even if she married someone else. She then asked the obsessed-affluent-businessman to prove that he really was obsessed with her by divorcing his wife so he could marry Ndaina. In 1998, the divorce papers were ready.

The wife ended up on the street with her children. Affluent-business-man was ready for marriage.

Ndaina was by now one of the elite dancers in Nairobi and marrying her was like acquiring an accessory of worth. Art in her house was mostly images of herself dancing, training, eating and in all stages of undressing and dressing. Images with affluent people of society occupied the spaces where normal people have images of their children, spouses and works of art.

Rono’s bedroom was adorned by images of Ndaina doing her thing.

Neglecting while Keeping control

In 1999, Ndaina married affluent-business-man in a lavish wedding. Rono was ‘encouraged’ to call the new husband daddy. But Rono was used to being daddy-less. He resisted this new fatherhood. Rono tried as a boy of 10, 11, 12 may try to explain to his mom, his new daddy, his grandmother, aunties and uncles that he did not like having a daddy,

No one listened.

Ndaina supported her entire family financially. No one dared question her decisions or give her advice.

By 2006, Ndaina’s marriage had totally fallen apart and she blamed the failed matrimony on her son Rono. He was having a difficult teenage. She conveniently forgot her affairs with clients at the F2 and her numerous ‘vacations’ to the coast, Zanzibar, Dubai etc To these vacations, she was accompanied by men other than her husband.

Her husband tried to explain that he needed a functioning home-front and reputation in order for him to work and earn the money for the luxury she was used to. Ndaina reminded him of men who worked and made money without wifely support. Ageing bachelors, divorcees or widowers.

By the end of 2007, Ndaina was no longer the dancer she used to be. Isnt it awful how age catches up with us all? She was welcome to teach dancing at a studio but she declined. The money was less without tips. There were no ‘live’ admirers and applauds.

Plus, she did not like women that much to be able to teach young beautiful girls how to dance.

Dangerous love

Her only option was to get out of the failed marriage with her finances intact. Priority was to find another rich man. But a divorce would just mean that her husband left with his money. She would probably end up on the streets as his first wife had done. Not forgetting, he had started fraternizing with his ex-wife. He had recently bought the ex-wife a house citing that he had to care for his children.

Ndaina was sure he was going back to his ex-wife.

He would abandon her as she was turning 40. She was certain. Too old for the affluent men she had long ago listed as potential affluent husbands.

She knew her son Rono was soon turning 16, hated his stepdad and would do anything to get rid of him. Additionally, Ndaina knew a few lawyers and a judge. At a recent night-out, someone had unknowingly revealed that a 16 year old can get away with murder. If there was money enough to pay it all off.

Ndaina embarked on re-building a relationship with her son who was by now out partying at all hours. Boys love their mothers, don’t they? It did not take long for her to broach the subject of getting rid of her husband so they could keep the money and the lifestyle.

Rono was all ears.  

Symptoms of NPD

The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder start to manifest themselves in early adulthood – the time between late teens and adulthood. This does not mean that the presence of narcissistic traits in adolescence will lead to NPD in adulthood.

  • Narcissists have a great sense of self-importance characterized by: 
    • preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
    • they belief that they are extra special and can only be understood by, or associate with special people or institutions.
    • a need for excessive admiration and constant praise.
    • sense of entitlement especially to special treatment.
    • exploitation of others. Everybody is a tool to make their life easier. Or to move the narcissist to the next level of greatness.
    • lack of empathy. Other people’s suffering or triumphs do not affect a narcissist. Unless it is taking the spotlight from the NPD personality
    • NPD personalities are envious or jealous of others. They also believe that others are envious or jealous of them.
    • pride, arrogance or higher-than-thou attitude. No one can question, advice or have an opposing opinion.
    • blaming others. Everything is someone else’s fault because a narcissist cannot accept blame for things going wrong.

How NPD Damages Relationships

1. Taking. Never giving back

NPD individuals will exhaust you by taking and never giving back. The sense of entitlement damages relationships because NPD individuals are not appreciative, grateful or reciprocating. Whatever you give them, they feel they deserve it, so they take it and expect more. There is no question of reciprocation or making you feel that you did a good deed. This applies to material things, supportive actions, kind words, feelings and acts of love or kindness etc. An NPD individual will gladly take everything and never appreciate it or reciprocate.

2. Disregard for other people’s existence, needs, feelings, opinions

This disregard ruins relationships. When someone disregards your feelings, they will see you tired or sad, and instead of comforting you or trying to help you relax, they will start a fight with you. Just to get your attention. 

3. Anger and disdain

Anger and disdain are very common in NPD individuals and they are good at hiding or masking their anger. When angry or disdainful, they will either lash out in cruel attacks or withdraw from the relationship as punishment. Beware, if they withdraw as punishment, they will be back. Cruel attacks can be direct words, gossip to friends, relatives or other colleagues. It can also be physical cruelty.

An NPD personality will drop you without warning if they realize you are no longer useful to them.

4. Unable to receive feedback or criticism

If an narcissistic personality makes a mistake, hurts you, or messes up – don’t bother to correct them or confront them. The correction or feedback will just wash over them. They will smile and they will save the episode in an angry place so they can later punish you for daring to correct them.

NPD will narrate their problems with other people they keep in their life. Their husband/wife, teenage children who are no longer cute, siblings, friends. Tell you they need your input, without listening to anything you say on the matter. Because they disregard other people so completely, they will tell their own version as if it were the entire truth on the matter. All they really want to say is how great they are, and how bad the other person is. They do not receive feedback, advice or criticism well. A person with NPD may be a high-achiever but the personality disorder can have a negative impact on performance. Usually because of their arrogant refusal to receive well-meant feedback or criticism.

5. Controlling things and people

A narcissistic person will control you and it will start so tactfully. They will call or message all the time to check on you. They will cover it up as love or worry, so you will go along until they have a tracker in your phone. At the end, you will be making their favourite meals every day, traveling to their favourite destinations, listening to their favourite music etc. You won’t remember what your favourite things or activities were.

Due to their need to control things, addiction is common in people suffering from NPD. It can be an addiction to social media, to adoration, to sex or to the un-affordable luxury. Or addiction to love. They are always looking for that first rush of a love relationship. It can also be an addiction to substances such as drugs or alcohol. We know how addictions can cause mood swings, anxiety, and other dysfunctions in any relationship.

Narcissistic people will abuse you. Physically or emotionally but they will abuse you.


Causes of narcissistic personality disorder can be:

  • genetic
  • biological or neurological
  • environment factors such as social norms
  • early life experiences such as childhood trauma or pressure


Narcissistic people present a great deal of grandiosity and defensiveness, which makes it difficult for them to acknowledge problems and vulnerabilities. Narcs will not ask for help. Neither will they accept help when it is offered.

Psychotherapy MAY (a big MAY) be useful in helping people with narcissistic personality disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.

Antisocial Personality Disorder in Relationships

In our 1st post in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. In extreme cases, spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness in people who have been mentally stable all their lives. Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how someone thinks, perceives the world, feels about other people or relates to others.This week we write about Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

Both sociopathy and psychopathy are behavioral patterns of ASPD. Sociopathic and Psychopathic individuals can carelessly and continuously display shocking, even atrocious behaviours that are harmful or dangerous for themselves and for others.

A Smooth Criminal

When Atieno was 19yrs old, she was beaten up by a stranger at a bus stop. She was travelling through Nairobi, on her way to Mombasa to join the Coast National Polytechnic. As she waited for the night bus, a tall nice looking bloke with a dazzling smile sat beside her and engaged her in conversation. She was single, so why not? They shared their stories, family backgrounds, future plans for 30minutes before he offered to buy her a soda.

“Fanta” she replied with a smile. Her heart was fluttering.

He went to the bus stop kiosk and got her, not the 350ml fanta, but the 500ml. What’s that if not charm? Almost love. He made her laugh and openly spoke about how he had been looking for a wife. His plans to open a business for his wife so she wouldn’t have to be one of those idle nagging housewives, sounded like the plans of a reasonable man.

At 20:00, the bus to Mombasa opened its doors and Atieno started to prepare herself to get on the bus. The bloke, let’s call him Manga, shall we? Manga said no. Atieno turned on all her charm, some she didn’t evenknow she possessed; to explain to the very nice Manga that she had to get on that bus. Her parents had done everything possible to get her a place at the Coast polytechnic. They had then gone out of their known Kisumu tracks to gather the money for the fees. Her extended family was putting all their eggs in this basket called Atieno. She was their hope for a better future. Which for her meant that she was getting on that bus.

Manga insisted she wasn’t and this point, she saw his eyes flash with something like anger. He had booked a hotel room for them already, he said. When she laughed at that joke, he slapped her. They had never met before this day, and yet, he slapped her as if she was his to slap. She screamed and started to fight him. He hit back with venom.

“You are mine tonight!” he said.

“If you didn’t want me, why accept my soda? That is my money I have worked for!”

Atieno offered to pay him back for his soda. She rummaged in her handbag and found 50 shillings, which she contemptuously at him. That infuriated him even more. A crowd had started to gather. Atieno begged the crowd to call the police.

Known to the police

© 2010 - 2019 JonathanMH
ASPD: Antisocial Personality Disorder
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical a of Mental Disorders
ASPD: Antisocial Personality Disorder
© 2010 – 2019 JonathanMH

“She is my wife!” Manga shouted.

“She is my wife who has become a slut and is trying to run away to Mombasa to another man! I have tried to convince her calmly not to leave. She refuses to listen! If it was your wife, what would you do?”

Some of the people in the crowd backed away. A matter between man and wife – why interfere? By now, Atieno was lying on the dusty ground bleeding. Some women had surrounded her for protection and were trying to calm Manga. Her nice braids newly made for this trip looked like an old beloved coat discarded.

Manga was winning.

Someone in the crowd had gone looking for the police anyway. When they arrived, one of the officers surprised everybody by saying:

“Is that you again Manga?” [IN SWAHILI] and he laughed.

Manga laughed too, and started to run. But the police caught up with him and he was taken into custody. Some well wishers wanted to take Atieno to the hospital, but she refused. She had to get on that bus. I was also taking that bus going on vacation so I sat with Atieno and tried to help her clean her up. She told me about the short encounter with Manga on the bus trip. I was astonished at his audacity! Who does that??

Two weeks later, I was back in Nairobi but the Manga and Atieno experience had engraved itself in my mind and heart. So I went back to the bus stop to find out some more about Manga and what had happened to him after Ateno had taken the bus. He was in police custody again. Not for his vicious attack on Atieno, but for stabbing a man with a knife a few days after Atieno took the bus to her future.

I found out that Manga was a regular emotional conman. He told you sob-stories to get money out of you. If sob-stories didn’t get money out of your pockets, he was willing to physically attack and rob. He blackmailed women to spend nights with him. Some business people at this bus stop knew him well, so he targeted oblivious newcomers and his viciousness ensured that no one warned the victim. There were rumours, started by Manga himself, that he had murdered someone and got away with it.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

Published by Andrew Jefferson

It feels like all of us have a variation of ASPD so no-one is perfectly free of ASPD. Thankfully. At some point in life, we will surprise ourselves and others by doing something dramatic and out of character. To be noted is that most of us do not knowingly engage in criminal activity where we risk arrest. However, a whole lot of people will for example avoid taxes if possible. Some of us are very good at playing very close to the line between legal and illegal without ever being caught breaking the law.

We also need to be careful with generalizations that stigmatize people. In some social/political-situations, brushes with the law do not necessarily mean that a person is a criminal. In some countries, for example in Kenya, one or two arrests do not translate to ASPD. This is because brushes with the police are regular and an arrest can occur for no apparent reason. For example, young Kenyan men are often arrested for arrested for ‘being’ out at night. The officer will call it ‘loitering like a thief’ [IN SWAHILI] and you will sleep in a cell for it if you cannot buy your freedom in the night.

It is important that we find out the reason for the arrest before we make up our minds to avoid someone, or to commit our emotions to the person.

However, we need to avoid individuals with the level of ASPD that will keep shocking you with disruptions to your life until your mental health is in tatters. Basically because there will be little or no stability in your life. They will at the same time disrupt their own lives so you cannot depend on them for support. ASPD individuals will abuse your loyalty and love by doing something criminal or something socially shocking that may get you into trouble. Because ASPD personalities are not remorseful, and do not really have the capacity to love you deeply, they may even let you be punished for a crime they committed. This personality will disrespect you in public and in private. 

Awareness is Everything

What we need is awareness of how people with ASPD behave in order to recognize them in time before they become harmful to our emotional health. Individuals with ASPD are manipulative, deceitful and reckless. They don’t care for other people’s feelings or for how their behaviour affects other people’s well-being. We should also be aware that ASPD is on a spectrum, which means that it’s severity can range from occasional bad behaviour to repeatedly breaking the law and committing serious crimes.

A person with mild ASPD will occasionally go on a dangerous rampage that injures self or others. ASPD is not only about physical violence, it is the emotional/psychological violence too. The spouse that periodically drinks too much and shocks you by lying drunk in a ditch, exposing themselves to dangers that could ruin your lives. Or periodically drinks too much and says shocking hurtful things to you. When that toxic friend of yours jokes that you are a psychopath, and laughs it away – you should wonder what level of ASPD they themselves are at. Saying such a thing to a ‘friend’ is calculated and harmful, so why say it? To deflect? To project?

Sociopaths vs Psychopaths
Anti-Social Personality Disorders By: Joshua Foster & Bridgett Kaufer

Sociopathy is the milder form of ASPD and is characterized by volatile, unattached behavioral patterns demonstrated by emotional outbursts and a clear lack of self-control. Psychopathy is a more severe form of ASPD and psychopaths are deemed more dangerous than sociopaths due to their lack of remorse for their actions and a lack of empathy. Additionally, psychopaths are extremely manipulative, easily gaining other people’s trust. However, they rarely form firm attachments to others. Remember, Psychopaths are generally well-educated, can hold steady jobs and can even hold onto dysfunctional long-term relationships. While sociopaths are rarely well-educated making them drifters/floaters in society and often displaying disturbed, agitated and nervous behavioral patterns.

Be careful when forming attachment to individuals with psychopathic traits. They lack empathy and therefore feel no remorse when causing harm to another individual. Their actions are often pre-planned and the crimes they commit are often highly organized and meticulous.

Traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder:

  • Lack of empathy, guilt, conscience or remorse
  • Shallow experiences of feelings or emotions
  • Impulsivity and a weak ability to defer gratification and control behavior
  • Superficial charm and glibness
  • Manipulative lying for personal gain
  • Irresponsibility and a failure to accept responsibility for their actions
  • A grandiose sense of their own worth
  • Highly impulsive and highly emotional
  • High risk of substance abuse and incarceration
    • Criminal psychopaths are about three times more likely to commit violence than other offenders and about two-and-a-half times more likely to commit other antisocial acts such as lying and sexual exploitation.”
  • Difficult to have relationships with because they lack social kindness and empathy

Causes of ASPD

Sanika Sathe – Psychologist

Researchers believe that ASPD, especially psychopathy has roots in early childhood. Children who show an early lack of fear, or are indifferent towards other children, and/or appear unaffected by other people’s emotions are at the greatest risk. Imagine a child who does not get distressed when their mother is crying or quarrelling. It’s not known why some people develop antisocial personality disorder. But, both genetics and traumatic childhood experiences seem to be involved. 

  • Difficult family circumstances such as:
    • one or both parents misusing alcohol
    • rampant and harsh parental conflict 
    • inconsistent parenting

These types of difficulties in childhood will often lead to child abuse or neglect which in turn leads to behavioural problems during adolescence and adulthood.

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