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The Hypervigilant Personality
A New Perspective on Borderline and Narcissistic Disorders
by Richard Skerritt

$30.00 -Softcover -
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$30.00 -E-book -
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$36.00 -Quick-Pack -
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Making Sense of Personality Disorders
Borderline? Narcissistic? Sociopathic?

First, you wondered if you were crazy, after the abusive treatment you lived with. Now you understand that it's caused by a personality disorder. But trying to figure out which disorder is again driving you crazy! Borderline? Narcissistic? Sociopathic/Antisocial? All of the above?

Knowing that your "significant other" has a personality disorder allows you to say, "Finally, I know it’s not me!" But now what? This book can help you answer the questions that continue to trouble you, and remove the uncertainties that keep you from making positive changes.

It's borderline! It's narcissistic! No! It's SuperDisorder!

For most people, life or work with someone who has a personality disorder eventually reaches a point where things become intolerable. You know something has to change, but what? To answer that, most people need to understand what disorder they are facing, and then understand how the disorder leads to the troubling behavior they experience.

That’s where The Hypervigilant Personality comes in. First it will help you clear the fog around the disorders with a new concept for a single disorder – HVPD – that embraces both the official narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. Then it will explain to you the kind of childhood experiences that lead to this illness, and the basic psychological characteristics that those with HVPD carry into adult life: self-loathing, constant expectation of criticism, and a pathological fear of criticism. HVPD is not a list of symptoms, but a combination of these three psychological characteristics. You'll learn how these are engendered in childhood, and more important how they lead to all the puzzling and hurtful behavior you experience.

The Hypervigilant Personality goes on to explain all the dysfunctional behaviors that HVPD causes, including what appears to be frequent lying. Those with HVPD exhibit very consistent patterns in certain settings. The book describes and explains this in all the important settings, including: in intimate relationships, in family; in extended family; in community; in work; in ending relationships, and in divorce.

The book goes on to explain why diagnosis is so difficult, even for professionals. And since, in divorce, those with HVPD sometimes alienate their children from the other parent, the book explains how HVPD characteristics lead a parent to this abusive treatment. Finally it looks at similarities and differences of adult trauma, which can lead to PTSD, when compared to HVPD.

In sum, The Hypervigilant Personality gives you the insight you need to understand all of your experiences with the disordered person in your life, and an understanding of what you can expect to experience in the future. With this, you can start to answer "What now?" and start taking positive steps to improve your life. Put it in your cart  now.

The Hypervigilant Personality comes in these packages:
Non-Intimate Relationships Intimate Relationships
 Relationship Pack
Intimate Relationship Pack
Basic - Divorce Comprehensive-Divorce Seven Skerritt Books
Small Storm Pack
Big Storm Pack
Skerritt Pack
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Reader Comments

I've just finished reading Meaning from Madness and The Hypervigilant Personality. Thank you for your clear writing. It has helped me understand greatly, especially the spectrum of disorder. I thought my ex showed signs of both BP and NP. He went from abusive and raging to helpless and begging when I wanted to leave; then came the hoovering and then the threats . It all makes sense. Thank you.

Author's Comments

I help people to understand and deal with partners, family members or coworkers who treat them abusively. I do this through phone consultations, in which I use a directed interview to cull out the important patterns in behavior, analyze them, and then begin explaining the what and why of the experience.

There’s a natural process to this. First people need to realize they’re facing someone who has a personality disorder. Then they need to figure out, if it’s possible, which disorder it is. With that knowledge, it’s then possible to start explaining the dysfunctional behaviors, and the patterns the disordered people tend to follow in their relationships.

It turns out that most abusive behavior is caused by borderline or narcissistic personality disorders, but understanding which can get quite confusing. And when we start looking closely, we realize that it's not only that the diagnostic definitions are confusing; these two disorders have a lot in common. Even more, in some people the disorder changes over time, sometimes more borderline, sometimes more narcissistic. Yikes! Personality disorders are supposed to be stable, so what's that about?

After several years of dealing with this, I came to a unifying realization. What are now formally defined as borderline and narcissistic personality disorders I see as two different manifestations of a single disorder: what I call hypervigilant personality disorder, or HVPD. HVPD is not an official disorder, but a way of better characterizing and understanding people who can be diagnosed with either of the two official disorders.

The core characteristics of HVPD are a self-image as unworthy and despicable; a belief that criticism can come at any moment; and a deeply embedded connection that leads to terror at the thought of criticism. People with HVPD have a constant watchfulness – hypervigilance – to avoid criticism or fault and the terror that results. In The Hypervigilant Personality, I explain this unifying disorder concept.

HVPD rests on hypervigilance to protect a delusion

Those with HVPD inherently strive to build and maintain a delusion: a belief in something with no objective reality. The delusion they build is the belief that they are without fault. When they can maintain this delusion, they feel safe, act assertively, and are considered narcissistic. But when the delusion breaks down, they intensely feel their unworthy self-image and become despondent and helpless. Those with HVPD can move from one state to the other, along what I call the narcissist/borderline spectrum.

This simple psychological dynamic gives rise to all the characteristic symptoms of both borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.

In The Hypervigilant Personality I explain all the characteristic behavior patterns I have observed and refined over years of experience: what HVPD is;  how it is engendered in children; why it encompasses both BPD and NPD. I describe the consistent patterns of social behavior: in intimate relationships, in family; in extended family; in community; in work; in ending relationships, and in divorce. I explain how the disorder's characteristic delusion gives rise to inexplicable distortions, including what appears to be lying, and belief in a reality that is different from what others observe.

I explain why diagnosis is so difficult, even for professionals. And because I believe it is caused exclusively by HVPD, I offer an etiology for the alienation of children in divorce. Then I explain why those with HVPD at the narcissistic end of the spectrum are not emotional toddlers; and finally explore parallels between HVPD and trauma.

The Hypervigilant Personality is my attempt to pull together the whole of my understanding of HVPD and the experience of being in a relationship with someone who has HVPD. After you’ve read it, you'll know what you're dealing with, why you see the behaviors you do, and you’ll realize that the relationship you're in follows one of many common patterns. Then you can stop struggling to understand what you're facing and start to effectively respond to this puzzling illness.

Why not put it in your cart  now?

Richard Skerritt

HVP Contents Page 1 HVP Contents Page 2
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Books by Richard Skerritt :  Books on Abusive Relationships by Richard Skerritt 
Why They
do It

Meaning from
Madness - $20
Your Feelings
and Decisions

Tears and
Healing - $24

In Love and Loving
It - or Not! - $14
Seeing the
Big Picture

Tears & Healing
Reflections - $24

Surviving the
Storm - $24
Patterns of

The Hypervigilant
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