We now move on to the personality traits. First of all, let’s distinguish between traits and impairments. Personality traits reflect characteristic patterns of thoughts and feelings that are consistent and stable over time. These traits are usually formed by a genetic predisposition (such as hypersensitivity), and/or physical damage to the frontal cortex during birth, and/or or psychological trauma in early childhood. Impairments are essentially thought patterns that have evolved into behavior patterns that impair our ability to function in society. Impairments can be corrected so that we can function successfully but traits will probably be with us for the rest of our lives. We have to learn to live with them and perhaps even employ them to our advantage.
Trait psychology rests on the idea that people differ from one another in terms of where they stand on a set of basic trait dimensions. Pathological traits, by definition, are thought and emotional patterns that are extreme and unacceptable and can lead to negative behaviors that are difficult to control. The DSM 5 lists seven pathological traits for BPD. There are four traits under negative affectivity: emotional liability, anxiousness, separation insecurity, and depressivity. There are three traits under disinhibition: impulsivity, risk taking, and hostility. Each of these traits are accompanied by a list of descriptors, which could be considered as traits within themselves. There are twenty-four descriptors in all. We will begin our search for causes and answers to these personality traits starting with negative affectivity – emotional liability. The first descriptor is, :”unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes”.