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Personality problems: disorders of the self

None of us has a perfect personality. There are always things about us which annoy others, and we all have days when we just can’t stand being in our own heads. This is perfectly normal and (probably) just as it should be in terms of our evolutionary history and daily stresses and strains. Personality, like mental health, exists along a continuum, with clusters of traits at either end and a broad, colourful array of interesting characteristics in between. But if you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed as having a personality disorder, you might be feeling confused or upset. After all, the word ‘disorder’ could conjure associations of illness, dysfunction, or even wrongness or fault. For

How do our earliest relationships affect our happiness in later life?

Evidence strongly suggests our earliest relationships form the foundations on which much of our later happiness in life relies. The loving bonds which mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, and other close carers put energy into developing with us are crucial building blocks for the mind and body. As Sue Gerhardt writes in her book "Why Love Matters: how affection shapes a baby's brain", babies are born 'hardwired' to seek and receive love from those around them. When we grow up in a home environment where those closest to us are warm, attentive, and loving, brain circuitry usually develops which enables us to adequately regulate our inner emotions, including fear and sadness. Loving rela

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