ChildhoodAbuse on Personality Disorder Development


Thepaper seeks to examine the influence of childhood abuse onpersonality disorder development. Abuse on children has negativeeffects on their growth and development cycle. Often, abused kidsface traumatizing situations, including emotional and physicaltorture. The three types of disorders under consideration includeAntisocialPersonality Disorder,BorderlinePersonality Disorder, andAvoidantPersonality Disorder.Using information from academic books, we shall consider the criteriafor DSM-5 for the listed disorders. The victims of the listeddisorders have a history of abuse, psychological torture, andemotional drain.

Thefindings from the assessment show that disorders arising from variousforms of child abuse have resultant characteristics. Understandingthe features of the disorders is instrumental in formulatingappropriate interventions to the victims. Further, the society has abetter understanding on ways to identify children with psychologicaldisorders. The study is informative to a student in enabling oneunderstand abnormal psychology.

AntisocialPersonality Disorder

DSM-5diagnosis is considered for people who infringe on the rights otherindividuals with no repentance. Persons suffering from AntisocialPersonality Disorder(APD)havea high likelihood of engaging in criminal activities. Often, theirbehaviors hurt other people in the society in non-criminal approachesthat may be considered immoral or unethical. They are also known toviolate the spirit of social expectations and norms. An individual isregarded as an anti-social if he or she appears to be against thesociety as well as the acceptable behavior. People with APD appearcharismatic and attractive to warrant sympathy since they mostlyportray themselves as victims of injustice (American PsychiatricAssociation, 2013).

Researchstudies indicate that the average intelligence of people with APD isslightly higher than that of healthy individuals although the claimis sometimes disputed. Further, such people are known to have a greatcharm that allows them to learn rapidly about the social environment,needs, and preferences. As such, they use the trait to manipulate orexploit situations to their advantage. Their intuitive ability makesthem harm other people without feeling shameful or guilty (AmericanPsychiatric Association, 2013).

DSM-5stipulates four diagnostic criterions where CriterionAhas seven sub-components. CriterionAconsiders the disregard for violation of rights of other people sincethe age of 15 years. The seven categories in this class include thefollowing:

  1. Disobeying the laws and norms – individuals with APD engage in behaviors that do not abide by the acceptable rules in the society. As such, they find themselves warranting criminal arrest. A child with a history of physical or sexual abuse is likely to behave abnormally because of trauma (Butcher, Hooley, &amp Mineka, 2014).

  2. Lying, deception, and manipulation – victims engage in deeds that seek to manipulate and exploit situations around them to attain their objectives. It is evident that people with APD are likely to deceive and lie to people to gain sympathy from other individuals (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

  3. Impulsive behavior – people with APD do not have a consistent behavior as they always appear reckless in their deeds. Spontaneous changes in their behavior may arise from the psychological torture he or she experienced following a case of physical abuse.

  4. Irritability and aggression – often, individuals with APD are easily irritated by the happenings in their social environment. At times, they engage in fighting when they feel being undermined by other people. An aggressive character is evident on kids who have a history of physical abuse.

  5. Disregard for safety of other – the victims of APD have little regard for the welfare of other individuals. Their reckless behavior and misdeeds contribute to poor handling of others. Children with a history of physical abuse do not mind the consequences of mistreatment on the welfare of their peers (Butcher, Hooley, &amp Mineka, 2014).

  6. Irresponsibility – people with APD are also known to engage in acts of gross misconduct and irresponsibility. A child who has experienced sexual abuse, for instance, may lead a reckless life through engaging in unsafe sex at a young age.

  7. Lack of remorse for their deeds – another characteristic identifiable with victims of APD is that they do not care about the outcome of their actions. Often, they never find the guilt in their deeds or apologize (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

BorderlinePersonality Disorder

Borderlinepersonality disorder (BPD) affects the interpersonal relationships.The DSM-5 shows that fear of abandonment remains an essential featurefor individuals with BPD. The condition is known to affect womenalthough studies show that men are also treated with the disorder.The victims exhibit incidences of rash and unsafe behaviors to avoidembarrassment from their colleagues. Doing so influences them to makeunwise decisions aimed at concealing their challenges. Further, thepatients have difficulties in balancing and managing their emotions.It is identified that the people with the disorder attempt committingsuicide. Borderline population issues suicidal threats as a means toend their difficulties. At times, the victims inflict injuries ontheir bodies as a coping method to their difficulties. However, thecondition is treatable to enable a victim to lead a comfortable life.One of the common diagnosis methods is dialectical behavioraltherapy. The approach integrates individual and group therapy tocreate awareness on skills to cope with the situation as well asemotional regulation (Borschmann &amp Moran, 2011).

Thefollowing are nine criteria listed in Criterion A of the DSM-5 forBorderlinePersonalityDisorder.

  1. Intense efforts to evade abandonment – a neglected child put great efforts to avoid being rejected by peers and the society. He or she tries all available means to ensure that the society does not identify him/her with the situation.

  2. Unstable and intense interpersonal relationships – a victim has a pitiable relationship that is characterized by incidences of idealization and devaluation. The pattern explains the effects of abandonment. A child victim may have few friends and lonely life. The actions of an abandoned kid are sometimes unpredictable.

  3. Identity disturbance – the victim of BPD leads has an unstable self-image. A kid may feel neglected by the society hence, weak sense of self. The victim considers that the society does not recognize him/her as a normal person.

  4. Impulsivity and dangerous living – a person with BPD engages in actions that are self-damaging such as drug abuse and reckless driving. The actions are responses to victim’s behavior (Borschmann &amp Moran, 2011).

  5. Suicidal thoughts and threats – another criterion for people with BPD is suicidal behaviors that are influenced by a sense of abandonment. Such a self-mutilating behavior is evident in neglected children who feel they cannot make it in life.

  6. Affective instability – reactivity of a victim’s mood is evident, with features such as intense episodic dysphoria and anxiety. The changes in mood can last for few hours or days.

  7. Persistent feelings of worthlessness – a child with BPD feels lonely and worthless. The hopelessness feature comes from the fact that neglect denies a child care from their dependants. Such a kid feels he/she has no use in life.

  8. Difficulties in managing anger – anger is associated with BPD, with the victim finding it difficult to manage anger. Often, a neglected child is likely to engage in fights with other peers. Also, the child is likely to portray inappropriate temper that culminates in fights.

  9. Stress-related paranoid ideation – when the condition is at severe stage, an individual is likely to experience stress due to difficulties to manage his/her situation (Borschmann &amp Moran, 2011).

AvoidantPersonality Disorder

Avoidantpersonality disorder(APD) is characterized by a sense hypersensitivity and inadequacy.Sometimes, the victim becomes shy in the presence of colleagues. Thevictim’s behavior differs with the cultural norms hence, itappears inflexible. At the later stages, an individual with thedisorder may experience distress and impairment in socialfunctioning. The victims aspire to have social connection althoughtheir sense of inadequacy and fear of rejection affect theirintentions. Their experiences affect their self-esteem adverselythrough humiliation and rejection. The negative impacts make thevictims feel unlikeable to other people. Some researchers observethat APD is a severe type of social phobia (American PsychiatricAssociation, 2013).

Thefollowing are seven criteria listed in Criterion A of the DSM-5 forAvoidantpersonality disorder

  1. Avoiding occupational activities – a person with APD lessens participation in activities that generate interpersonal contact. The behavior arises from fear of criticism and rejection from the peers. A child with a history of humiliation will often spend time alone, with minimal engagement in occupational activities.

  2. Less interaction and engagement with other people – a person with APD will always try to get involved with other people unless he/she is guaranteed of being liked. A child with a history of ridicule is often skeptical about engaging with other people.

  3. Moderate engagement in intimate relationships – the element of fear of ridicule plays a crucial role in the nature and length of intimate relationships for people with APD. A child victim may try to avoid contact with people of opposite gender for fear of backlash (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

  4. Preoccupied with rejection and criticisms – a person with the disorder will concentrate on what other people say about him/her in social situations. As such, the victim’s biggest worry is being criticized or ridiculed by other people. A child with such condition will not concentrate in classroom activities, as he is preoccupied with thoughts about his situation (Butcher, Hooley, &amp Mineka, 2014).

  5. Appears restrained in new interpersonal situations – the feeling of inadequacy makes the victim appear reserved in new engagements. A child victim may, for instance, conceal most information about herself. Often, such a kid is less talkative to avoid embarrassment by other people.

  6. Considers self as inferior to others – the victim of APD appears socially inept, hence, considers other people superior with more capabilities than self. A child victim may consider self as personally unappealing to other people.

  7. Avoids risks – people with the disorder are unwilling to take risks in their life. In fact, they never try new things for fear of embarrassment. A child with a history of ridicule may not try new games, fearing that failure will cause embarrassment (Sanislow, Bartolini, &amp Zoloth, 2012).


AmericanPsychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnosticand statistical manual of mental disorders(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Borschmann,R. &amp Moran, P. (2011). Crisis management in borderlinepersonality disorder. InternationalJournal of Social Psychiatry,57(1): 18-20

Butcher,N., Hooley, M. &amp Mineka, S. (2014). Abnormalpsychology (16th ed.)Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Sanislow,C., Bartolini, E., &amp Zoloth, E. (2012). Avoidantpersonality disorder.In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd Ed.(pp. 257-266). Academic Press: San Diego.