ollowing is my list of the similarities between Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, “tend to be rash and show poor judgement,” and full-blown manic episodes.  This is similar to how dysthymia, or chronic depression, is basically a diluted version of full-blown depression.  For more on how to recognize hyperthymic personalities in general, an ability that could make a big difference in your own, and others’, lives, see the section on this in my first main webpage on hyperthymic personalities.

That description of HPD, could just as easily be a description of addictive personalities, or even many normal-looking personalities.  HPD is the only personality disorder that, for the most part, could be excused away with, “Oh, well, everyone makes mistakes,” though since HPD is diluted mania, it’s actually a lot more selfishly impaired than are most personality disorders.

The Way Home, A Collective Memoir of the Hazelden Experience, says near the beginning, “One wonders how Andy could watch his father convulse in a coma as the result of alcoholism, and still open the vodka, knowing it would put him back on his father’s path....  When Andy saw the vodka in the cabinet, it was as if his hand worked independently of his brain.  He grabbed the bottle before he had a chance to think, looked at it in his hand, felt his stomach tighten with the effort to resist, and thought, I should put this back.”  Certainly a recovering addict who’s considerably rash and showing poor judgment, would be far more likely to relapse like that, than would an average person who had simply been physically dependent on an addictive painkiller that he had to take for an injury.

Though I’ve known enough people who’ve had an informal familiarity with hyperthymic personalities in general, sometimes going back for decades, many of the more scientific people are just becoming familiar with this.  As soon as I realized that my kind of people are those with chronically manic personalities, the first thing I noticed was how many traits of full-blown manic episodes, they had, though in a more diluted form.  Following is a list of these similarities.  Though this is just something I’ve observed informally, I doubt that all these similarities could be just a coincidence.  Just each manic episode doesn’t include all of these, each hyperthymic personality doesn’t, but these are traits that are possible parts of both mania and hyperthymia.  Just as dysthymia is depression diluted to a strength where it looks like it’s within the normal or slightly excessively normal range, Hyperthymic Personality Disorder involves the following diluted to a strength where it looks like normal or slightly excessively normal human imperfection:

  • selfishness

  • exploiting others

  • narcissism

  • sense of entitlement

  • less ability to interact, engage in normal give-and-take, “fit in”

  • lack of a sense of others’ personal boundaries

  • strong motivation and strong will behind what they do

  • irritability and/or angry demeanor, either chronic, labile, or just plain “nasty temper” or “curmudgeon”

  • good-natured some of the time and agitated in others, as in the “Jekyll and Hyde personality,” or the emotionally erratic state of mind, sort of like Donald “Rummy” Rumsfeld, who’s been described as both “avuncular” and “abrasive”

  • contentiousness

  • uncooperativeness

  • poor conflict resolution

  • projecting responsibility onto others

  • starting more things than finishing

  • getting agitated about trivial things, by going hysterical for a few seconds to a few minutes, and then suddenly acting like everything’s normal again

  • other dysphoria, such as anxiety

  • over-optimism that’s acted-out, oblivious to dangers

  • Pollyannaism

  • bubbly and humorous talkativeness (looks stereotypically Irish)

  • excessive gregariousness

  • provocative tendencies

  • hypersexuality

  • disinhibition

  • doing or believing what they feel like doing or believing, in a short-sighted sense

  • delusions of the sort that Manic-Depressive Illness, by Drs. Frederick K. Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison, describes as having a “tendency to be wish-fulfilling,” and/or “grandiose optimism,” the sort of delusion that might look like slightly excessively normal human imperfection, whereas paranoid, depressed, etc., delusions wouldn’t, in the same sense that Drew Peterson’s behavior sure seems odd, but in the sense of, “I’m not suffering from mental illness!  I’m enjoying every minute of it!”

  • one-dimensional cognitive distortions

  • obliviousness to consequences

  • because of this, not learning from experience

  • lack of insight into the pathology of one’s own behavior

  • self-justification rather than self-reflection: If one wants to believe that what he wants to do or believe, is at least justified, he will, even when self-correction would make far more sense.

  • refusal to be talked out of their behavior problems, as if you’re trying to talk a paranoid person out of paranoia

  • inadequate reality-testing

  • decreased need for sleep

  • panic disorder

  • problems maintaining attention

  • chaos, often glorified as if it’s free-spirited Bohemian fun

  • When they get into a particularly pathological mood, pursue a particularly pathological interest, etc., their decision-making judgment becomes more pathological.

  • what John Custance, in 1952, called “freedom from restraint,” in, “I can, for example, walk about naked out of doors on quite cold nights—to throw off my clothes is incidentally a strong impulse and presumably symbolises the freedom from restraint which is a feature of the whole condition.”  This prized rebelliousness that’s characteristic of hyperthymics, in connection with drug abuse, is what Fractal associates with the “Romantic Renegade”, “We tend to be renegades by nature and not by design....  So, if you find you’re often the charismatic leader of the pack, perhaps it’s a combination of your genetic birthright and an abundance of legal and illegal chemicals that made you so.  Beware the bravado doesn’t land you in jail or the hospital—it’s done both for me...but I always had my fans cheering me on.  And you know what?  Sometimes it was awful goddamn fun too!”

  • In that same paragraph, he also wrote, “I fear nothing—freedom from fear is another notable symptom—so nothing seems to hurt me.”

Also, Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder, edited by Sheri L. Johnson and Robert H. Leahy, says, “Fromm-Reichmann (1949) suggested that, in comparison to individuals with schizophrenia, clients with bipolar disorder were poor candidates for psychotherapy because they lacked introspection, were too dependent, and were likely to discover, and then play on, the therapist’s ‘Achilles heel.’”  So even in 1949, it was observed that “clients with bipolar disorder” (which doesn’t specify how seriously they’re affected at the time), are very able to “read” people.

A lot of Hyperthymic Personality Disorder behavior could really make you wonder how psychoanalysts would interpret it.  This involves such an extraordinary lack of awareness of the consequences that would seem obvious to the psychoanalysts, that it would seem that though the hyperthymic people may consciously want what they think they want, subconsciously they must have wanted those consequences.  They might consciously want the short-term rewards of what they do, but subconsciously they must have wanted to punish themselves through the obvious long-lasting consequences.  Or, they may have consciously chosen to pursue what they chose to pursue, but subconsciously what they really wanted was to harm others so that they themselves could get the emotional satisfaction of being forgiven, having power over others, etc.  For example, the classic psychoanalytic interpretation of pathological gambling is that the gamblers must want to hurt themselves and their families, since they can’t really believe that they’d keep winning.

In essence, this looks like someone under the influence of uppers that have the same disinhibiting effects of booze.  In the case of HPD, this is weak enough that it could seem to be just slightly excessively normal human imperfection.  Yet if you really look at the behaviors that come from HPD, they don’t really look like people deciding to do them in the same way that most people would.  If you really look at such behavior patterns, you’d see that unlike normal human imperfection, very few people would keep choosing to do such problematic things.  Those with a sense for recognizing what Schopenhauer called the “idea” of things, would be particularly good at recognizing this pattern, since the idea of someone consistently acting like a mild version of the symptoms of mania, really does look radically different from the idea of slightly excessively normal human imperfection.  The rashness and poor judgment have the tenor of a walking-wounded pathology, rather than of quirks that anyone could have.  As I go into in the section on this in my first main webpage on hyperthymic personalities, what Schopenhauer called the basic idea of this pattern of behavior patterns, looks recognizably different from the basic idea of difficult personalities that come from normal choice.  Though those who live la vida maníaca seem to think that they’re so free-thinking and different, it’s how amazing just how recognizably similar each of these lifestyles are to each other.

Also, when you consider how easy it is to cause huge consequences recklessly negligently or by omission, you could see how serious these irresponsible tendencies could be, and, therefore, why most people have a good sense of why they’d better not act out such desires.  The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word reckless as, “lacking caution : RASH,” and most would agree that people are morally accountable for their own reckless behavior.  Yet those under the influence of HPD are reckless automatically, so they could say, “Sure, the consequences of what I did were bad, but my intent wasn’t, so don’t hold me responsible!”  Yet If most people didn’t choose not to cause problems like that, society would have a hard time functioning.

The legal definitions of “reckless” and “negligent,” compare the person’s choices to what a normal, or reasonable, person would have known, or should have known, about the risks of what he did.  Since those with hyperthymic temperaments could very easily think like people who are under the influence of stimulants that disinhibit people as alcohol does, obviously these people won’t gauge risks as normal or reasonable people would.

This could look about as pathological, as the following, from the handbook of Gamblers Anonymous.  Pathological gamblers, when their gambling is at its worst so they must pilfer money from others, can “rationalize this illegal behavior on the basis of full intent to repay what they have taken.  They are stimulated by the image of repaying their skeptical creditors.”  This book, when describing the less desperate phase of the addiction, tells of the gamblers’ “irrational optimism.”  This book is also aware that compulsive gambling is an illness, which could result from other mental imbalances.  The chapter for Gam-Anon, the ladies’ auxiliary for compulsive gamblers’ friends and loved ones ( “Members are encouraged to make home life as pleasant as possible for the compulsive gambler.  They are urged to make themselves attractive, both for the favorable effect on the compulsive gambler and for the therapeutic effect on themselves.”   ), gives as its first step for new members, “Accept and learn to live with the fact that compulsive gambling is an illness,” so the gamblers are to be treated as not guilty by reason of insanity.  Those gamblers’ cognitive distortions are so one-dimensional that they’re dangerous.

The Gamblers Anonymous book Gamblers Anonymous, the First Forty Years, includes an article from February, 1960, by Wanda Irwin, a pathological gambler’s wife.  This attributed the self-defeating behavior of pathological gambling to masochism.  This article says that compulsive gambler Bob, a “credit manager in a department store,” still fed his gambling habit through bad checks.  “I had two telephones on my desk.  On one phone I would beg for a little more time to make good my bad checks, while on the other phone I would pressure a customer into paying his delinquent bill.”  Since he knew what he was letting himself in for by writing bad checks but he continued to do it anyway, it could seem that his intent was masochistic.  Yet if someone’s mind is impaired as if he might as well be disinhibited by booze, he could very easily be very aware of what’s wrong with others’ bad checks, and very oblivious to what’s wrong with his own.  After all, he wants to believe that his bad checks are at least excusable, but has no desire to believe that others’ are.  Yet such a person would look as if he might as well be a run-of-the-mill self-defeating masochist.

Hyperthymic temperaments tend to come with exactly the aptitudes that make celebrities: charisma, intelligence, initiative, and creativity.  Therefore, celebrities are so likely to be hyperthymic, that the patterns that they tend to follow, are the patterns that hyperthymics tend to follow.  Gamblers Anonymous, The First Forty Years includes an article from the May 26, 1962 edition of the Saturday Evening Post, which includes a quote from Dr. Harry Perlowitz, “The compulsive gambler wants to lose money to punish himself for using it to purchase love.  He compounds his guilt by making his family suffer for his corrupt conduct, yet he will break his neck doing favors for total strangers to gain the approval he wants so desperately.”  Certainly you could imagine the stereotypical celebrity who wants to “save the world,” yet treating his/her family as if they constitute a moralistic “trap.”
 

                   

Books about what does and doesn’t work in decreasing the rate of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, such as Joseph Califano, Jr’s High Society, How Substance Abuse Ravages America And What To Do About It, make clear that, on one hand, many want to treat this abuse as if it’s basically the sins and/or crimes of those who abuse, but on the other hand, it’s so self-destructive that, if only the right people could give them anti-abuse messages at the right time, this would stop a lot more abuse.  The laws and other policies that would penalize abusers as sinners or criminals, would keep many of those who could stop the abuse from finding out about it.  Those who we’d want to stop this self-destruction could end up feeling preached-at, insulted, degraded, and more helpless.  When any impulsivity is at work, self-destruction like this could still seem desirable.  And destruction happens all too easily, whether this be the destruction caused by the obviously dangerous impulsivity, or the destruction caused by judgmentalism about it.

Mental health professionals who aim for a scientific certainty, might feel uncomfortable with the vagueness of HPD.   Whether irrational problem behavior of that magnitude, looks pathological, could be a matter of opinion.  That description of compulsive gambling might sound unambiguously pathological.  Yet Barry Minkow, former fraudster of ZZZZ Best fame who has turned his life around, wrote in a chapter of Stephen G. Austin’s The Rise of the New Ethics Class, titled “The Psychology of Fraud,” about Ponzi schemes, which are as likely as compulsive gambling to end well, “The first rationalization is to justify the corrupt behavior, or make excuses for the action.  It says, ‘If my plan works, no one will get hurt, and everyone will be paid back.  I will be happy with that outcome.’  This is a crucial point in terms of understanding the psychology of fraud.”  Yet that chapter seems to regard this as just another “psychology.”

Yet mental health professionals who aim for their clients having a serene acceptance of what they’re helpless to change, would stress very strongly that any hyperthymic people who caused their clients big problems, didn’t really choose to cause those huge consequences that would obviously result from what they did.  Therefore, these clients shouldn’t feel like victims.  Though pathological gamblers’ spouses might feel like victims of maliciousness, and that the gamblers must have known that they’d likely lose the money, they might actually (but irrationally) be planning to repay their debts someday.  Though the consequences of gambling would be obvious to the spouse, they wouldn’t be to the gambler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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