The Main Stages of Healing from a Personality Disorder

The Main Stages Of Healing From A Personality Disorder
the main stages of healing from a personality disorder

Walking the road toward healing from a personality disorder isn’t so easy; it entails traversing several distinct stages, and each is marked by its own set of challenges and triumphs. From acknowledgment and acceptance to therapy and self-discovery, the path toward emotional wellness and mental health balance demands courage, patience, and strong commitment. Understanding the main stages of healing from a personality disorder is only the first step toward full recovery. However, it is a crucial one; it sheds light on the process and offers hope, motivation, and guidance to those embarking on this transformative odyssey.

What is a Personality Disorder?

A more appropriate question to ask would be: what are personality disorders? That is because, rather than being a singular condition, there are, in fact, many variations. According to the US government’s MedlinePlus website, experts generally classify personality disorders into three clusters, totaling ten distinct types. However, all of them share certain characteristics and involve long-term patterns of thinking and behaving that deviates from what’s considered normal in your culture; patterns that are unhealthy and can lead to significant issues in human relationships, work, and social activities.

Treating Personality Disorders: the Main Stages of the Healing Process

There are six main stages of healing from a personality disorder: from initial denial through resistance to acceptance and therapy.

Stage One: Denial

At the very start, denial kicks in. That’s because pushing aside the issue is always easier than confronting it. But owning up to a disorder means taking responsibility: facing up to broken relationships, conflicts, stress, and work issues. Denial may feel easier initially, but it’s just the preliminary phase of the journey towards acceptance.

Stage Two: Confusion

Next up, there’s confusion. It creeps in once life’s difficulties become harder to brush off (especially when others seem to manage daily stress better). Seeking help reveals the first signs of a personality disorder. Once hearing the news, many retreat to dissociation as a coping mechanism. Also, disconnecting during trauma is common for people with a personality disorder. This slipping away from reality often leads to memory gaps that deepen the confusion.

Stage Three: Resistance

As the aforementioned memory gaps become more and more noticeable, individuals delve into learning about their personality disorder. However, the urge to avoid diagnosis is a strong one. That’s because another key trait of their condition is acting impulsively in risky situations. Accepting a disorder means standing up to that kind of risky behavior. This can be quite uncomfortable and overwhelming. Instead, it’s easier to deny the disorder and blame others for the harm caused.

Stage Four: Anger

Individuals who suffer from the condition in question tend to feel emotions more intensely. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to anger outbursts. When they can no longer resist the diagnosis, anger becomes their immediate reaction; they often target family members, friends, or others who have offered help. Naturally, this only escalates their feelings of isolation, intensifying the fear of abandonment. Others are perplexed by this pattern of pushing people away with anger, only to pull them back in when feeling abandoned, setting off the next stage – depression.

Stage Five: Depression

Once the anger goes away, it leaves consequences: a person with a personality disorder begins to feel deep sadness over feelings of loneliness, misunderstanding, and rejection. This marks the emergence of another trait: thoughts of suicide. They now realize the stark contrast between their intense emotions and others’ (along with the missed chances and relationships). The disorder’s impact hits them hard. The period between depression and the next stage (acceptance and therapy) varies for each person, but this sadness contains a lot of meaning; it is crucial for finding the drive to progress.

Stage Six: Acceptance and Therapy

This stage marks a turning point: individuals begin to understand their disorder differently – not as a curse, but as a gift. People with a personality disorder can often sense not only their own emotions but also those of others, detecting others’ feelings before they do. This skill is invaluable in professions where understanding others’ emotions is very important. Learning to embrace this gift is part of acceptance.

Then comes therapy; it marks the beginning of the real work: developing coping strategies, understanding how the disorder affects others, and healing from past traumas. Usually, the treatment for personality disorders involves proven approaches like motivational enhancement therapy, group therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These methods help enhance emotional regulation and build lasting relationships. Depending on their needs, one can opt for outpatient or partial hospitalization programs in various treatment centers across the US.

How to Help a Loved One With a Personality Disorder?

Supporting a loved one with a personality disorder involves several key steps:

  • Set clear boundaries and expectations in your interactions. Being consistent and rational can be very beneficial for someone with a personality disorder.
  • Don’t be so quick to judge. Avoid thinking your loved one is simply overreacting. Validate their feelings, as individuals with personality disorders seek understanding and often face societal stigma.
  • Be patient. Be patient with your loved one(s) during the treatment process for a personality disorder. Setbacks are common, so avoid unrealistic expectations or criticism, as they can obstruct future progress.
  • Avoid making every conversation about their personality disorder. Acknowledge their other positive attributes and accomplishments to promote stability and normalcy.
  • Be there. Being present for a loved one with a personality disorder is crucial. Social isolation is quite common, so offering support can ease feelings of depression and loneliness.


To summarize, the process of healing from a personality disorder encompasses several key stages, each essential in its own right. Through perseverance and support from their loved ones and therapeutical facilities that treat the condition, individuals with a personality disorder can go through these stages without much hassle on their way toward greater emotional well-being and fulfillment. Understanding the main stages of healing from a personality disorder empowers individuals and promotes compassion and guidance within their support networks. As a result, this leads to a shared journey of healing and recovery.