Short Thought 107

Isn’t it possible that someone could have a personality disorder or substance abuse problem AND a lousy character independent of that? Sometimes we tend to attribute everything unsavory or unappealing about a person to the thing which has been given a culturally defined, usually negative, label. All that is undesirable about someone is considered a by-product of their condition. If only they’d get help, we say.

But not every alcoholic who quits drinking becomes a delightful human being.  And medication and therapy won’t instill a virtuous character in someone with a mental illness or other disorder if it was absent in the first place. I just think this gets overlooked.

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11 thoughts on “Short Thought 107

  1. Deb

    I agree, which begs the question how and who determines when a true disorder is simply being used as an excuse for a genuinely nasty person. My trust isn’t necessarily in the mental health professional to determine this …

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Yes. The line has gotten awfully fuzzy. Is anyone ever diagnosed with a crummy personality? Moreover, individuals are sometimes rather quick to “self-diagnose” these days to explain away a host of lousy behavior.

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  2. Andrew Davis

    It is an interesting premise. I would add that many individuals suffering from substance abuse or dependence are trying to escape from something; even their genetics. For me, pain is a strong factor. When someone who abuses substances is in pain or causes pain, when it gets in the way of their life and their pleasure in life, their personality, good or bad is all they have left.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Some would argue that the personality filtered through the substance is not their legitimate one, but it’s awfully hard to draw the line on these things.

      And your first point is sound – the (self) abuse springs of pain. Then again, how we confront, handle, or manage pain is probably a factor of our personality.

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      1. Andrew Davis

        As far as substance abuse/dependence it is never just one thing. Actually, this applies to mental illness as well. It is often a cocktail of circumstances that turn a quirk into a problem. And I believe personality often mixes that cocktail.

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  3. vanbytheriver

    Sometimes, it’s just about learned behavior. Misery begets misery; it can be a vicious cycle until someone decides to break the chain. Many conditions might just be a by-product. Short, but provocative post.

    Liked by 1 person

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