Pathological, Highly Dysfunctional Personalities
Most people who develop pathological personalities suffered painful or abusive childhoods that led to dysfunctional coping mechanisms, which eventually limited their ability to make free choices. Essentially they became prisoners of their compulsions or obsessions. They felt compelled to fortify and defend their inflated or delusional ideas about themselves as evidenced by self-protective defenses, such as lashing out at others, and self-destructive behavior, such as succumbing to addictions. Their compulsive and reactive behavior not only hurts them, it usually cripples or destroys important relationships. A pathological personality is a personality seriously out of balance and rapidly regressing or disintegrating.
As their situation worsens and their personality unravels, pathological personalities primarily cope by denying their real situation. Their ego boundaries have all been trampled, and their internal conflicts are raging out of control, which creates a desperate need to reorder their universe. People with completely disintegrated egos descend from pathological behavior to psychotic behavior. They have lost all sense of reality and will destroy anyone or anything they perceive as threatening, including their real image of themselves. Their psychic pain has become intolerable; they use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain and often resort to threats, intimidation, and violence to control others or make the pain go away. Anyone in total meltdown is dangerous to themselves and everyone else.