Cluster B Personality Disorders: Erratic Types

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  • 0:09 Personality Disorders
  • 2:18 Antisocial
  • 3:38 Borderline
  • 5:09 Histrionic
  • 6:29 Narcissistic
  • 8:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Anyone can feel a little emotional, but there's something wrong when a person's emotions are always extreme. In this lesson, we'll look at the four cluster B personality disorders which are characterized by erratic behavior and extreme emotion.

Personality Disorders

Abe doesn't care about anyone. He ignores the rights of others, like the time he stole money from a coworker. He also beat up a guy in a bar just because the guy wouldn't move. He lies and doesn't feel bad about any of the things he does.

Brett, meanwhile, isn't as disrespectful as Abe, but he has his own problems. His mood swings back and forth between very happy to very sad. He acts impulsively and is terrified of being alone, but he makes it hard for anyone to get too close to him because of his moods.

Like Abe and Brett, Heather has trouble with other people. She is extremely sensitive and gets very upset whenever anyone says anything in the least bit negative to her. She does and says things just to get attention, and is obsessed with looking pretty.

Finally, Nestor believes that he's better than everyone. He doesn't notice when others are upset, and expects everyone to notice everything about him. He exaggerates his achievements and believes that he deserves constant praise and respect from everyone.

Though Abe, Brett, Heather, and Nestor are all very different, they are all suffering from personality disorders, which are psychological disorders involving behaviors that make it difficult to have successful interpersonal relationships.

The 10 personality disorders are usually grouped into three clusters, with several disorders in each cluster. Cluster B disorders are characterized by erratic behaviors. Like Abe lying or Heather getting unreasonably upset if someone is negative, patients with a cluster B personality disorder act irrationally, which keeps them from being able to have positive interpersonal relationships. Let's look closer at the four disorders in cluster B: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.


Let's start with Abe. He's really disrespectful. He doesn't care about anybody's rights, and he just does whatever he wants. Abe is suffering from antisocial personality disorder, which is characterized by a consistent disregard for the rights of others.

People with antisocial personality disorder are often described as predators. They show little or no remorse for their actions, no matter who they hurt. Remember that Abe stole money and beat up a guy in a bar, but he's not at all sorry.

It's very common for antisocial personality disorder patients to have a criminal history because they do not care about the rights or safety of others and will do anything to get what they want. It's like they are trying to move from one side of a garden to the other, but instead of walking around the flowers and plants like most people, they just jump on a bulldozer and roll over everything in their way.

Even though people like Abe do not feel empathy for others, they can mimic some emotions. As a result, people like Abe may appear to be charming on the surface. Below, though, they do not feel emotions that relate to others. Abe, for example, might be able to act like he's in love with someone, but he isn't really.


So Abe has antisocial personality disorder. What about Brett? Remember that he seems constantly to be changing; his mood swings from one extreme to another, and he acts impulsively. Brett has borderline personality disorder, which involves unstable behaviors and feelings. It's as though they live on the borderline between two extremes and are always being pulled in one direction or the other.

Brett, like many people with borderline personality disorder, suffers from extreme highs and lows that dictate his behavior. As though his emotions were rolling on a sea, one minute he's up and the next he's very far down.

It's not just his mood that's unstable, either. Brett doesn't feel like he's got an identity. He actually feels like a different person from moment to moment and sometimes says he feels disconnected from himself. When he looks at pictures and home movies, it feels like someone else lived those experiences and that it doesn't have anything to do with him. These feelings, sometimes summed up as identity disturbance, are common among patients with borderline personality disorder.

Besides mood swings and identity disturbance, many people like Brett have a hard time relating to others because they see others as either completely perfect or as terrible, worthless human beings. There's no middle ground for them, and this makes it very difficult for them to have interpersonal relationships.

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