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Black History: 5 Personality Disorders Common in the 'Hood

You met the paranoid, delusional, attention-seeking, voices in my head, "I think I am better than you" type all wrapped up in one whether on the job, in the bed or at the last family reunion!  He frequently worries about his money.  She often thinks of herself and her needs while thinking she is more beautiful than most women (when you know that is far from the truth!)  You might have that one in the family who always wants someone to come see them and those others who like to say, "Something told me..." while sharing one crazy idea or bizarre behavior after the next that makes no sense!  Oh yes, black folks aren't immune to crazy behavior.  Just because they don't make the front page news for their personality disorders don't mean that many don't have them!

Trying to sell me on why I should carry on one's crazy ideology on "...why Black can't get, won't do, should do," and so on, I let some statements go in one ear and out the other with some of our people.  They even look crazy while they try to explain their thoughts.  Some folks have been smoking and sniffing stuff far too long!  "Say what?" I say.  "What kind of trip are you on?"  They get offended because they aren't making any sense--go figure!

We all might fall in one category or the other when it comes to personality disorders.  However, a prideful people rather ignore weakness rather than expose it.  "I ain't crazy!  You crazy!  What you talking about?  I don't even know what that word mean!  That's what dem white folks got!"  No, my friend, you are no better than them, you got issues too! 

Consider our dark history.  Decades and decades of poor people, places and things reminding you that you are black as if it is a bad thing.  You are bombarded with negative images depicting angry black men and women fighting with words or fists.  You see movies where blacks are lower than second class citizens.  Your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents didn't read books beyond what they were told to read by teachers/bosses/preacher--that's if they could read.  So they had no understanding of mental issues and if you had one or two personality disorders that showed up and showed out, your elders' idea of solving your problems went something like this:  whip your behind, send you on your way to be someone else's problem, and pray about it later.

There are 10 common personality disorders.  I won't get into all 10 in this blog entry.  Yet, of those 10, I will say that at least five are common in the black community based on my personal experience having been raised by black folks, lived with black folks, married (twice) into black families, and observed black folk in various cities (not just the one I grew up in which was Pittsburgh PA).

Those disorders I commonly see manifest themselves, or dare I say it, intentionally programmed in others, are labeled as follows:  Paranoid, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Dependent, and Schizotypal.  Now here is a breakdown of the five mental issues based on simple dictionary definitions taken from

1. Paranoid: baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

2. Histrionic:  deliberately affected or self-consciously emotional; overly dramatic, in behavior or speech.
3.  Narcissistic:  tending to derive erotic gratification from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes.
4.  Dependent:  relying on someone or something else for aid, support, etc.
5.  Schizotypal:  pertaining to actual or potential borderline schizophrenia, a condition characterized by cold aloof feelings, eccentric behavior, hallucinations, illusions, and delusions.
Now for some reading this, you may not illustrate any of these behaviors on a frequent basis, but if someone or something comes along in your life to trigger any one of these issues, you just might demonstrate such behavior for a time.  I know, because it happened to me after coming out of a relationship with an abusive man who was driving me to the point of no return.  Thank God for a praying grandma!
When we ponder on the definition of each, we must think how might we be affected by these personality types that are dominating the entertainment industry since so many black folks just love their celebrities.  Now if one with a mental illness is permitted to be a role model/mentor, if you will, for the masses, what is the likelihood that this person will infect the populace?  From wicked lyrics to crazy behavior, the attractive entertainer is going to lure those who are most impressionable (ie. our youth) into their sick, demented mindset.  No one bothers to scream, "She needs to go...she is crazy for spreading her legs wide all over the place...He is a fool with all his shocking comments and weird movements..."  Instead, our people embrace the sick, coddle the sick, and will even depend upon the sick to keep getting them sick!
Let's bring these personality disorders home for a moment.  Think of times when you dated individuals that you knew were "out to lunch" didn't seem right.  You distanced yourself eventually, did you not?  Yet, you will permit the stranger on the radio, in your mp3 player, or elsewhere to lull you to sleep or hype you up.  He sings of his sickness, she yells about the crazy things she does, and it's okay to keep these people talking in your ear which is very close to your brain.  Hmm.
Relatives and friends won't admit, nor do some even know that they are indeed mentally challenged.  From not being able to keep a job or a partner, the writing is on the wall, but the parent, brother, sister, or anyone else doesn't bother to think.  Those that do know that something isn't quite right, prefer to ignore the issues and just gossip about the individual, "Why can't she get it together?  What is so wrong about doing what's right?  I just don't get him..."   How is one with a mental illness able to do anything right without some degree of help?
The more education some of our people get, the more foolish they become!  They lack common sense.  They are unavailable mentally and physically to those who honestly need help.  They don't bother to question or research family history.  Why is it that there is a long line of liars, cheats, and hyper-sexual people in the family?  Could it be that there is a chemical imbalance somewhere?  What about that grandparent or great grand who doesn't trust anyone coming to her home and staying awhile.  She often forgets and doesn't like the things she once did.  She thinks someone is talking to her when they really aren't.  Could it be that grandma has a mental illness other than dementia?  What about a young person, who at one time, seemed to have it altogether in his or her life until a tragic situation came along and caused his or her world to fall apart?  Now the healthy person is now a party animal and a drug addict.  Is anyone asking any questions, talking without yelling and offering assistance?
Don't sleep on the issues!  We have a long history of folks who came before us sick in mind, body and spirit--not everyone was smart, nice, successful, God-fearing, etc.  Those of us that still have some wits, common sense, and wisdom about us should be sounding the alarm on our sick relatives who claim "nothing is wrong, I'm alright"; rather than believing them and looking away when crazy shows up and shows out!  We should make ourselves available when it is in our power to do so.  Is it money that one needs to check in a facility?  What about a ride to the place where there is help?  Does the individual need a prayer partner or team?  Whatever the case, see the truth for what it is!  We have conceited, loud mouth, attention-getters, and wild folks in the hood for deeper reasons than we know.
Nicholl McGuire also maintains Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate and other blogs.

Dependent Personality Disorder

 Psychotherapy with African Americans

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