Difficult Personalities

Duration: 5:16


People are said to be difficult when some of their character traits are too set or too pronounced, not appropriate to situations, and cause suffering for themselves or others.

Difficult personalities can exhibit harmful behaviours in their workplace.

Knowledge of this disorder makes it possible to better understand how these people react and be more effective at managing the delicate situations that they can provoke...

It is generally agreed that a person with a difficult personality suffers from a personality disorder...

A personality disorder is characterized by behaviours:

  • which deviate significantly from what is expected of the individual,
  • which are rigid and intrusive, 
  • which are stable over time and appear, at the latest, in adolescence or the onset of adulthood.
  • and which are the source of suffering or altered functioning.

Diagnosing a personality disorder is difficult because there are several aspects to consider. We are going to summarize the ten most common characteristics to try to define it:

Paranoid personality is characterized by excessive sensitivity to rejection, a suspicious nature, a tendency to interpret others' actions as hostile and a persistent and aggressive sense of one's own rights.

Schizoid personality is characterized by withdrawal from one's social and emotional contacts and a preference for fantasy, solitary activities and introspection.

Schizotypal personality is marked by bizarre beliefs, unusual bodily perceptions, a feeling of being persecuted, a poor emotional life and eccentric behaviour.

Antisocial personality is characterized by contempt for societal obligations and cold indifference to others.

This person has low frustration tolerance and tends to blame others or come into conflict with society through plausible rationalizations.

Borderline personality is characterized by a clear tendency to act impulsively and without consideration of consequences, a tendency for emotional outbursts and a tendency to adopt quarrelsome behaviour.

Histrionic personality is characterized by a superficial and unstable affectivity, an exaggerated expression of emotions, a tendency to be hurt easily and a permanent desire to be the centre of attention.

Narcissistic personality is characterized by egocentrism, delusions of grandeur, a need to be admired and a tendency to exploit others.

Avoidant personality is characterized by a feeling of insecurity and inferiority, a perpetual desire to be loved and accepted, hypersensitivity to criticism and rejection and a tendency to avoid certain activities.

Dependent personality is characterized by a systematic tendency to let others make decisions for fear of being abandoned, feelings of helplessness and difficulty facing the requirements of life.

Obsessive compulsive personality is characterized by a feeling of doubt, concern for detail and excessive caution and inflexibility.

The disorder can by accompanied by repetitive and intrusive thoughts or impulses.

The first thing to do with a difficult personality is to accept it as it is. This person did not choose this condition...it is important to try to understand the erroneous beliefs that underlie these behaviours. At the same time, it is important to learn to protect oneself.

It is also important to identify the source of this person's problem, establish the facts and evaluate the consequences of such harmful behaviours in the workplace before deciding how to intervene.

One of the ways of evaluating a difficult personality is to keep a record of harmful behaviours.

This will make it easier to underline repetitive, inadequate behaviours. This record will also help you build an employee file, if necessary.

It is also important to show empathy, that is, have the ability to perceive and understand this person's feelings. 

Referral to an employee assistance program is a useful solution.

But if, despite everything, your professional life with this person becomes unbearable, a positive solution is to try to persuade them to consult a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist.

Difficult personalities often have trouble working adequately and can be a major nuisance.

For their good and the good of the people around them, know how to identify them, guide them and provide them with the necessary help.

To find out more about this topic, we suggest you read the reference document.

In case of any questions, doubts or a specific need for support, don't hesitate to contact the specialized support service offered to the eligible individuals.