Does Husband Have Personality Disorder?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have known my husband for over 10 years. In this time there have been many problems with our relationship, and he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Although he has stopped taking drugs now and modified his alcohol intake considerably, problems have continued. One of the issues as I see it involves his extreme personality characteristics – extreme in that he always seems to operate at ’11′ – his personality is almost always seems to exhibit extreme opinions and behaviour and I find this very controlling and difficult to live with. Over the years of knowing him, I have also noticed that he puts on at least 3 different personas, that I refer to as: (i) the ‘posh snob’, (ii) the ‘comedian’, and (iii) the ‘dictator’. I have read about bi-polar, schizophrenia and multiple personality disorders, but I suspect that he doesn’t fit into these neatly.

I am wondering if his extreme behaviour and personas are a result of past traumatic experiences as I really don’t think it’s ‘normal’.

My husband is 61, his mother died when he was in his teens, he was a famous musician and he has lived through 2 traumatic divorces before. He refuses to believe there is anything wrong with him, and therefore will not seek treatment. A few months ago there was an incident where I feared for my safety and left the house – and have not returned even though he wants to fix the relationship.

I would like to know if there some other disorder that may explain his strange use of personas and extreme behaviour?

Thanks for your help and advice.

A. Without having more personal details about your husband, I can’t determine with certainty which, if any, disorder that he may have. It is possible that he may have a personality disorder but again, I would need more details to know that with certainty.

Even if you were to determine the specific type of disorder that he may have, it does not change the fact that he refuses to seek help. The reality is this: he is very difficult to interact with and he refuses to accept treatment. He has also threatened your safety. This leaves you with a very limited set of options.

The marriage may be salvageable if he were open to treatment but short of that, it would be unwise to return to the relationship, especially in light of the potential for violence. Most relationship problems are solvable but a full commitment to repair the relationship is required of both parties.

It is important that you try everything you can to mend this relationship but realize there is only so much you can do. You cannot force someone to participate in treatment.

If he is unwilling to participate in treatment then you have two basic options: continue the relationship, despite his personality and behavioral problems and the potential for violence, or end the relationship.

In a scenario in which he refuses treatment and your safety is at risk, I would recommend ending the relationship.

Don’t risk your safety. Consider individual therapy to help assist you in determining how to proceed. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Sep 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Does Husband Have Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/20/does-husband-have-personality-disorder/