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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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We want to know what kind of behavior we can expect from our

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We want to know what kind of behavior we can expect from our son. He is 34 years old and was diagnosed by a US army psychologist as Cluster B Personality disorder. For the past 6 years, he and his wife (diagnosed bipolar) have been unable to keep any kind of steady job, and we have been keeping them afloat, often giving them 2-3 thousand dollars a month for rent, medical bills, etc. Recently we learned that they have been lying to us, making up situations for which they need our money (always cash), and even forging receipts from doctors and hospitals, from employers who they never worked for, etc. Recently we told them that we were not giving them any more money. Actually, we're weaning them from it--paying their rent for a few more months so they can prepare to pay all their own bills. They got angry when we told them this, and when we asked them not to call us or come to our house. Now we fear that they will come to our house and demand money, and perhaps break in or hurt us physically.
In your opinion, what kind of behavior can we expect from them in the short term and in the longer term?

A Cluster B Personality Disorder can be one of several possibilities. The cluster is made of several disorders and until you know which one it is, the behavior and estimation of it are difficult at best

Cluster B (dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders)

  • Antisocial personality disorder: a pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others.
  • Borderline personality disorder: extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior.
  • Histrionic personality disorder: pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriate sexual seductiveness and shallow or exaggerated emotions.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

I am going to make an educated elimination of Borderline and Histrionic Personality Disorders as these are more common in women. For a male, in the military, they would be most concerned about the anti-social p/d. Narcissism in the military is simply disciplined or punished into compliance so I doubt it is that.

Antisocial personality comes in various severity levels: mild, moderate and severe. Not all antisocials are violent. Quite the contrary, many prefer non-violent manipulation and deception (lying) as the main way of dealing with others. From the history you describe I would say this is the pattern you will most often see. You'll hear some truly convoluted stories, feel guilty (if the antisocial is good at it) and give more help than you should. Best protection: Make it very hard to be manipulated by establishing a no help rule. Such as: We will talk with you. (on your terms and at a location you choose and control) but we will not give you money, etc. From personal experience with clients with this diagnosis, place a fraud alert on your credit history and protect all of your identity issues such as SS#'s etc.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood based issue. Classically she will wane from depressions to elevated behavior, including (possibly) pressured speech, euphoria and unreasonable pleasure seeking. She may drug seek, be sexually preoccupied or simply spend too much money. Of the two, she has a biochemical problem that is not her fault and he has a character issue that can be helped... but rarely do those who have it, seek treatment.

If you make it difficult for them to manipulate you, they will seek easier targets.

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