If you've ever been on the receiving end of someone with a personality disorder, you know firsthand that these disorders can be difficult to live around. People with personality disorders often engage in behaviors that are selfish and appear callous. They may manipulate others, act emotionally immature and be unable to take responsibility for their own actions. But what you might not realize is that people with Cluster B personality disorders—particularly borderline personality disorder (BPD)—experience intense emotions themselves and struggle both to manage those feelings and to relate well to others. The four conditions that fall under the category of Cluster B Personality Disorders have many similarities but differ based on how they affect a person's ability to form meaningful relationships, from romantic partnerships to friendships, as well as how they perceive themselves in relation to other people. In this article, we'll discuss the distinguishing features of each diagnosis along with issues all four share in common.

The Cluster B personality disorders are a group of related mental health conditions that tend to co-occur with one another. This is why they are often grouped together and referred to as “Cluster B” in the first place.

The Cluster B personality disorders include:

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder - A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy or concern for others; people with this disorder have a high sense of entitlement
  • Borderline Personality Disorder - A pervasive pattern of instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning; includes impulsivity (acting without thinking), intense but unstable relationships characterized by alternating between idealization and devaluation, suicidal or self-harming behavior

The Cluster B personality disorders are:

The Cluster B personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that tend to appear together. They are all characterized by a lack of empathy, fearlessness and impulsivity, which can be difficult for the people who have them to manage. The most common ones are Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD).

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by an inflated sense of self, an obsession with self-image and a need for admiration in order to feel validated and important.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by an inflated sense of self, an obsession with self-image and a need for admiration in order to feel validated and important.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a chronic condition that develops in adolescence or earlier and continues throughout adulthood without proper treatment. It often begins with feelings of superiority or grandiosity as early as age 7 or 8 years old which can result in arrogance, haughtiness and disdain for others. As you grow older those feelings will become more exaggerated making it difficult for you to maintain close relationships without feeling threatened by other people's success or happiness because it means less attention is being given back to yourself

Borderline Personality Disorder, which is characterized by deep patterns of instability in relationships and emotions, along with destructive impulsive actions.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by deep patterns of instability in relationships and emotions, along with destructive impulsive actions. It's a very serious condition that can have lasting effects on those who have it, as well as their loved ones.

People with borderline personality disorder will experience intense emotions and mood swings. They may feel empty or depressed, or they may feel anxious or irritable for no apparent reason. They could also struggle with self-harm or thoughts of suicide, which is why this condition has been called "the suicidal personality disorder." Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Problems with relationships and self-image

Histrionic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by attention-seeking behaviors and dramatic emotional expression.

If you have histrionic personality disorder (HPD), you may be described as dramatic, emotional and manipulative. You crave to be the center of attention and tend to exaggerate your emotions or use them for attention-seeking purposes. You are also easily influenced by others' suggestions and advice, which can sometimes cause you to behave in ways that might be considered inappropriate.

Histrionic people often act out in ways that they think will gain approval from others. They may flirt with other people's partners in order to get attention or become overly dependent on one person who provides them with constant validation—a form of love bombing behavior described in psychology circles as "pathological dependency."

Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is characterized by a pattern of disregard for the rights and feelings of others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is characterized by a pattern of disregard for the needs, rights and feelings of others. Antisocials are extremely manipulative, deceitful, impulsive and aggressive. They may show no remorse for their actions or behavior and often blame others for their own problems. Because they lack empathy they have no guilt while engaging in criminal activities such as stealing or assault.

They also tend to be poor employees who are unable to hold onto jobs except those that require little responsibility such as manual labor or street hustling (e.g., drug dealing).

The Cluster B personality disorders are chronic conditions. They develop in adolescence or earlier and continue throughout adulthood without proper treatment.

The Cluster B personality disorders are chronic conditions. They develop in adolescence or earlier and continue throughout adulthood without proper treatment.

Are there any treatments for these disorders?

Yes, although many patients do not seek treatment for their cluster B personality disorder because they believe it does not interfere with their day-to-day lives or that it’s just “who they are”—the problem is that untreated cluster B personality disorders can have a negative impact on your relationships with friends and romantic partners as well as your career success, ability to manage finances, etc.

Can you die from having a cluster b personality disorder? No, but untreated cluster b personality disorders can lead to self harm behaviors including suicide attempts which could result in death if not properly treated

The four cluster B disorder all involve key issues between self and others, but they develop differently

The four cluster B personality disorders all involve key issues between self and others, but they develop differently.

Dr. Ronald Fieve’s article The Importance of Understanding Cluster B Personality Disorders – Part 2 (The Antisocial/Borderline) is a great resource for more information on antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). He writes:

“ASPD is characterized by callous unconcern for the feelings of others, an inability to maintain enduring relationships, dishonesty and manipulation to gain personal profit or power, lack of guilt or remorse for actions that violate rights of others, and behavioral problems in childhood including cruelty to animals and fire-setting. ASPD usually begins before age 18 years; however onset may be later when it occurs in association with other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The hallmark feature is a pervasive pattern of disregard for right or wrong encompassing all aspects of life functioning that continues into adulthood."

Conclusion

Thankfully, the Cluster B personality disorders are treatable. With proper diagnosis and treatment, people with these disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and live happier, healthier lives. It may take a long time for individuals to realize what is happening to them due to the nature of these illnesses being chronic in nature so early on. It’s important that they receive correct diagnoses because the first step towards a better future starts with understanding yourself better!