Pros: Very helpful and reassuring book for those who deal with PDIs.
Cons: A little confusion as to the book's audience.
Is there someone in your life who consistently leaves you feeling drained, belittled, or ashamed? Do you have a friend or a family member who makes you feel guilty, even though you know you haven't done anything wrong? How about a boss who makes you feel like you're a child every time you have a meeting? According to Stan Kapuchinski, MD, author of Say Goodbye to Your PDI: Recognize People Who Make You Miserable and Eliminate Then from Your Life for Good! (2007), you may be dealing with a PDI (Personality Disordered Individual).
What's a PDI? A PDI is a person who consistently engages in behaviors that make other people miserable. While everybody can behave like a PDI every once in awhile, the trick to spotting a PDI in your life is realizing that the person in question doesn't change and doesn't care how his or her behaviors affect other people. In his book, Say Goodbye to Your PDI, Dr. Kapuchinski offers a simple, down to earth primer on how to spot and deal with a PDI so that they don't take over your life.
What I liked about this book
Personality disordered people are toxic and they make "normal" people feel crazy. Unfortunately, PDIs also seem to be everywhere. Although statistics show that personality disorders only affect a small percentage of the general population, it's my belief that the statistics are misleading. Most people who have personality disorders are never formally diagnosed by a clinician. Why should they be diagnosed? They don't think there's anything wrong with them. Kapuchinski recognizes that most PDIs aren't getting treatment for their problems and that they affect other people. He explains that PDIs are basically children in adult bodies; they've never evolved beyond a certain point in their emotional development and lack the ability to empathize with others.
I liked that Kapuchinski did such a good job empathizing with his readers, thoroughly explaining the personality disorders that are most likely to affect and annoy other people, that is, disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), histrionic personality disorder (HPD), and antisocial personality disorder (APD). He also discusses passive aggressive behavior, which used to be considered a personality disorder, but is now just considered an annoying and very destructive behavior. In each chapter, he describes the characteristics of these disorders and includes "real life" cases that illustrate what they look like.
Kapuchinski also explains which types of people tend to be hooked by certain types of PDIs. My husband Bill, for example, is a very caring "white knight" type of guy. For his own reasons, he feels a strong need to take care of people and rescue them. For ten years, he was married to a woman who exploited his need to rescue others. She took advantage of his caring nature and the fact that he cares a lot about what other people think of him. For ten years, nothing he did was ever enough; she constantly did things to get a reaction from him. When I met him, he was recently divorced and quite bewildered by the whole experience. It took some time for both of us to understand what had actually gone on in Bill's first marriage. Kapuchinski explains why caring, kind, rescuing types like Bill so often get tangled up in relationships with narcissists, borderlines, and histrionics. He includes lists of adjectives that describe how PDIs see themselves, how they would like to be seen by others, how they are seen by people who are "trapped" by them, and how they are seen by those who are not trapped. These lists are very helpful. They clearly outline how PDIs tick. I also like the fact that Kapuchinski offers tips on how to either get rid of PDIs or, if they can't be eliminated, how to cope with them.
One thing that confused me about this book
I'm not really sure exactly who this book was meant for. Sometimes, I got the feeling that it was just for laypeople who were trying to deal with a PDI. But then I'd read a passage that indicated that perhaps this book was meant for healthcare professionals, particularly mental healthcare professionals. Kapuchinski also includes a lot of information for people who are dealing with co-workers who have personality disorders, but perhaps not as much for those whose family members are disordered. The information is good; it just didn't seem very focused toward one group. I was especially confused by the many references to healthcare professionals-- Kapuchinski often declares to them especially that they can't cure a personality disorder, no matter "how good" they are.
It's still a good book, though...
And I recommend it to anyone who thinks they are ensnared by a PDI. It's easy to read, interesting, and most of all, very helpful. I think for those who have to deal one on one with a PDI, this book's greatest value comes in the fact that it reassures victims that they are not the problem and nothing they do or don't do is going to make the PDI happy... at least not for long. I know for those who are people pleasers, it's a very comforting realization to finally understand that the problem lies with the PDI and not them.
For more information: www.hcibooks.com