Although there can be moments in just about everyone’s life when they act as though another person is an extension of themselves, there are some people that act in this way practically all of the time. This could be seen as the difference between not having a disorder and having one.
The reason for this is that it is usually when someone displays a certain trait, or a number of traits, on a consistent basis that they will be labelled as having something wrong with them. So if someone does have moments when they are unable to see that another person is separate from them, it could mean that they will sometimes tell other people what to do with their life.
A Short Experience
When this takes place, another person could go along with what they say or they could end up pushing back. If this person doesn’t stand their ground, one might not realise that they are doing anything wrong.
Perhaps the other person has a weak sense of self, which stops them from being aware of when they are being walked over. If, on the other hand, this person does stand their ground, one might soon realise that they are doing something wrong and they could even apologise.
With someone like this, then, it will only be something that happens from time to time. There is then going to be no reason for this person to be labelled as having some kind of personality disorder.
Still, this doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t end up being labelled as having one by someone else. After watching how they have behaved, another person could conclude that this is how they always behave.
This may show that this person has the tendency to see things as being either black or white, or this could be something that happens from time to time. Just as in the example above, just about everyone sees things as being black and white at times, but it is when someone has the inclination to see life in this way that they may be labelled as having a disorder.
If someone’s behaviours were viewed in isolation and they were then labelled after everything they did, they would most likely end up being diagnosed as having an endless list of disorders. The antidote to this would be to not pay too much attention to how someone has behaved in one moment and to pay attention to how they behave over a certain period of time, as this will enable them to come to a more accurate conclusion.
A Way of Life
However, if someone doesn’t see other people as an extension of themselves from time to time, it might be appropriate to say that they have a disorder. It can be more or less impossible for someone like this to realise that other people are separate beings.
Ergo, other people are generally not going to be seen as having their own needs, feelings and preferences, for instance. They will just be seen as objects that exist to fulfil ones needs.
A Challenging Time
If someone like this does have people in their life, these people might be used to being walked over on a regular basis. What is clear is that these people are unlikely to feel seen and heard.
It could be normal for someone like this to feel angry, frustrated, powerless and invisible after they have been in ones company. They could find it hard to comprehend why one behaves in this way.
The Only Option
There is the chance that this person has been this way for a very long time. It might then be a good idea for another person to limit the amount of time that they spend with them or to cut their ties with them.
This can be hard to do if someone feels comfortable being around them. If this is so, it could be a sign that they were also brought up by a least one person who saw them as an extension of themselves.
A Closer Look
If this person has been this way for a very long time, there is the chance that they didn’t receive the care that they needed during their early years in order to develop in the right way. What this comes down to is that a baby sees everyone and everything as an extension of itself – it is unable to see itself as a separate being.
Yet, providing the baby receives the right care and continues to do so when it grows into a child, it will gradually develop a sense of self. If this doesn’t happen, the baby will grow into a child and then it will grow from a child into an adult, but it will be developmentally stunted.
Not only will this person be extremely undeveloped, they are also likely to carry a hell of a lot of pain in their body. Not having their needs met throughout their early years would have caused them to suffer immensely.
This was probably a time when they experienced a lot of shame and felt totally powerless and helpless. Someone like this can then come across as some kind of monster, but deep inside them is likely to be a wounded child.
If someone can relate to this, and they are willing to do something about their life, they will probably need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist, healer and/or a support group, for instance.
As there is a lot of emotional pain inside them, it is not going to be possible for them to work through it all in one go. This will be a gradual process; if it is rushed, the pain inside them could overwhelm them.
Having said that, there is the chance that a number of defences will need to be removed before one can even get in touch with how they feel. These defences will have stopped the emotional pain that is inside them from wiping them out.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.