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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: Is there any validity in the films that portray personality disorders?  (Read 23478 times)
Floyd1972

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« on: March 13, 2012, 10:28:06 AM »

Hi all

It seems a lot of people on here (including myself)find films that include the issue of personality disorders useful for understanding and insight into the condition. I have included a list but am sure there are others unbeknown to me. I hope my fellow forum users find it useful nonetheless. Please feel free to add to it.

Borderline personality disorder:

The Fountainhead (1949)

Play Misty for Me (1971)

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Poison Ivy (1992)

Single White Female (1992)

The Crush (1993)

Mad Love (1995)

The Cable Guy (1996)

Fear (1996)

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Swimming Pool (2003)

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

The Tracey Fragments (2007)

Chloe (2009)

Black Swan (2010)

Antisocial personality disorder:

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Scarface (1983)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Kalifornia (1993)

Natural Born Killers (1994)

American Psycho (2000)

Irreversible (2002)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Cruel Intentions (1999)

One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest (1975)

Lolita (1997)

Narcissistic personality disorder:

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Wall Street (1987)

Small Sacrifices (1989)

Basic Instinct (1992)

To Die For (1995)

American Psycho (2000)

White Oleander (2002)

Cruel Intentions (1999)

Take good care everyone,

Floyd1972  wink
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 11:14:05 AM »

We really don't encourage the use of  movies as learning models at bpdfamily.

Some of the "old wives tales" websites like to cite Hollywood characters as examples of personality disorders - it is an excellent way to promote a victim mentality and the whole "predator and prey" saga.  bpdfamily is more about healing than suffering and piling on.

People with BPD are inherently weak individuals struggling to survive and making a mess of their lives - not predatory monsters.  None of the movies listed above are attempts portrayal a medical condition.    Lets take two examples:

Play Misty for Me - 1972.   Did Clint Eastwood attempt to portray Borderline Personality Disorder in Play Misty for Me?  

No. Eastwood was a rookie director. In the 70's, slasher films were popular - typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe.  This was his interpretation of that theme.  The script was originally conceived by Jo Heims, a former model and dancer turned secretary. No link to psychology.  The movie was released in 1972 - BPD didn't even make it into the DSM until 1980.  Nothing in the movie points to BPD like behavior - there is no portrayal of family abuse, suicidal ideation, self loathing, or cutting.

Black Swan - 2010.  Jumping ahead 38 years... while Black Swam does an excellent job of portraying the terror related to psychosis, there are several professional reviews that point out the large amount of artistic license taken - notably that there are too many psychological issues going on with "Nina".  She shows elements of an anxiety disorder with obsessive compulsive behaviors.  She also manifests self-injurious behavior of BPD and some signs of an eating disorder. She dabbles with substance abuse.  She has psychotic breaks if not outright psychosis.  It is highly unlikely all of these elements could coexist in one person, especially someone performing as a ballerina at such a high level.

Peanut cartoon series.  There is an amateur book at Amazon that makes the claim that Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon series is NPD. In the strip, Lucy often thinks ridiculous beliefs are true (i.e.: there's a different sun every day, snow comes up out of the ground, birds can fly to the moon and back); regarding them as "little known facts".  NPD?  Not sure.  smiley
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Floyd1972

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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 01:24:04 PM »

Of course I agree that individuals suffering from personality disorders are vulnerable individuals underneath, but I have often found their surface behaviours are quite predatory and destructive.

I have experienced this both as a professional attempting to help them and as a spouse.

Of course it is in the film industries interest to both sensationalise and represent one side of the BPD story.

However, I think most people on here would know the difference between reality and a good story. After all we have been on the victim end of their behaviour.

It makes me think of my own history of addiction, where on the surface I was often a complete nightmare to be around, but inside I was wounded and incredibly vulnerable. I can't resist referencing the harrowing and frighteningly accurate film on addiction Requiem For A Dream (which is not on my list) here.

I have found some of the films listed useful to a point in regards to understanding personality disorders. But of course like all films they are no substitute for an individuals real life experience and knowledgeable persons.

Floyd1972
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MarshaDole
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 11:20:47 PM »

It just occurred to me that there's a movie we can all watch to have a better

grasp of BPD on an emotional level. Remember "Big" with Tom Hanks, in which a little boy wishes to be grown up and suddenly wakes up in an adult body? He gets a job in a toy company and has a relationship with a young woman, who has no idea what's going on with him, although he's lovable and different. The character of the "adult" who is really a little boy inside, played by Tom Hanks, comes really close to BPD behavior. (It's worth noting, however, that BPD behavior is emotionally more on the level of a two-year-old or three-year-old toddler than a six-to-eight-year-old boy.)

And I even know of a similar movie, more recent, in which a young girl suddenly finds herself in an adult body and having an important job at a magazine. She has no idea how to cope with adult life. I can't think of the name of this movie right now, but it was out not more than four or five years ago at most.

If we can rent these movies and view the childish emotions of the children played out in the adult bodies, I think we'll have a more visceral understanding of BPD. It's worth a try. :-)
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mgl210
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 11:35:42 PM »

the movie u are referring to about the girl is 13 going on 30...

i disagree with your assessment of those movies being good for understanding...

then again what the heck do i know?
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M G L
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 11:41:03 PM »

There's tons of movies with BPDism out there, when they come to mind ll try and remeber

A lot of the times the BPD person is leading role / hero
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 12:40:50 AM »

I've had a month long marathon of BPD movies and I find that many, if not most, fail at portraying the person accurately. A lot were based on real events but it's been very obvious that the filmmakers weren't aware of the disorder and in other times the films were made by BPDs and had rose tinted glasses portraying them as good and honest victims.

From my experience, Fatal Attraction is as close to my experience as possible. My jaw just drops at how accurate the change of moods are and even what the character says and suggests. The only thing that was missing was a third party but I guess that pushed the pwBPD over the edge for the inability to self soothe.

So yeah.. Fatal Attraction is spot on based on my experience though the BPD played out differently because of different circumstances. Oh, and my exBPD didn't look frightening like the character smiley
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 12:45:07 AM »

I think FA was a good movie...I used to love watching that movie, but after with everything going on, I am scared to watch it. I am scared of how I would react to it now...

:-(
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M G L
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 12:56:29 AM »

Marilyn Monroe was diagnosed with bipolar but now they assume she was BPD. I saw "My week with Marilyn" and saw a lot of BPD symptoms in it...
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mgl210
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 01:01:18 AM »

I don't blame MM for her issues. She had alot of bad things happen to her in her lifetime. Its sad, I think she was quite possibly misunderstood by what we do know about her. I haven't seen the movie, but I have read alot about her life and her upbringing...Sad stuff if you ask me..

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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 04:39:54 AM »

the  way  mine  lies,  uses  and  manipulates  reminds  me  of  Cameron  Diaz's  character  in  the  movie  "Bad  Teacher."
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rooftop
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 05:24:54 AM »

Black swan is a great example with the mother!..it resonates with me as my exBPDgf was an ex Australian Ballerina

Rooftop.
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 06:02:42 AM »

This is an old film but could be the most accurate. The Movie Gas Lighting

I think it was Ingra Bergman
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Aurelius

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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 07:30:26 AM »

"500 days of Summer".  No question.  
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jsdun5

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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2012, 09:59:31 AM »

Girl, Interrupted is such a poor portrayal of BPD. It almost comes across as - spoilt, rich kid finally grows up. One reviewer said the film totally misses the reality of all the hard work and turmoil that goes into recovery. That being said there is a fantastically poignant scene where 'Professor Wick' confronts 'Susana' with her own ambivalence. Also, the book is fantastic!
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2012, 02:16:00 PM »

I agree with the Bad Teacher post. Just watched it and Cameron Diaz's character was so much like my exh, it was hard to watch!
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2012, 02:56:08 PM »

One of my ex's favourite films is Girl Interrupted. I've not seen it but googled films about BPD and it came up. This was after we had split and after I had worked out he has many BPD traits.

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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2012, 03:02:01 PM »

I thought Happy Go Lucky did a good job, the driving trainer.  The main character was stellar at validation and boundaries. 
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pallavirajsinghani
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2012, 06:10:59 PM »

Other movies that ought to be on your "must watch" list:

The Virgin Suicides

Antichrist


Misery

2 BPD's married to one another:  War of the Roses

I think it is easier to recognize some type of mental illness being portrayed in the character,  even though it may not be possible for us to strictly diagnose as to which particular mental illness it may be.

An earlier thread had mentioned watching shows on the channel ID that dramatizes real life criminal occurrences and in many cases the commentator psychologists do mention BPD.  I think that they can only do it when there is an actual diagnosis and not their interpretation from the occurrences.
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2012, 05:50:59 PM »

Watched "The Lucky One" last night. The ex-husband role could've been written about my exh, but thank goodness he's no longer a cop!
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« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2012, 02:17:33 PM »

First, forgive me if this is in the wrong place.

Second, forgive me if I'm not supposed to provide a link.

I saw this on Psychology Today.  It is a movie called "Young Adult" that supposedly has is about a woman with BPD.

Have any of you seen it?

I went on youtube and watched the trailer and the very first scene in the trailer - where she clearly has a dog hidden in her purse and the hotel clerk knows it but she repeatedly denies it, reminded me and my SO so much of my former best friend wBPD.

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reel-therapy/201203/young-adult-the-new-borderline-personality-disorder-in-cinema
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You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2012, 02:31:05 PM »

Also:

Shame (2011)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Wild Tigers I Have Known (2006)

Boys Don't Cry (1999)

Gia (1998)

Swimfan (2002)

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Young Adult (2012)

Monster (2003)

All of the BPD characters are hollywood portrayals, take them with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2012, 04:54:24 PM »

I saw it. It's painful to watch, and the lead character is NOT very sympathetic, but it is quite good. Charlize Theron plays a woman who comes home (for a reunion, maybe? or maybe just to mess with a previous partner? I don't remember) and has a variety of meltdowns. One great scene is when she is describing her future plans to her parents and they have a very recognizable reaction, like, "here we go again."

It may be triggering for some people. I think she has NPD and BPD traits, along with substance abuse, emotional immaturity, and some serious self-delusion. I enjoyed it, for the excellent performances. It's not exactly "entertaining" though.

PP
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2012, 06:21:18 PM »

Interesting as the author of the article said it showed a more sympathetic character than the one in Fatal Attraction.

I'm sure it was hard to watch.

Like I said, just bowled over by that whole scene with the dog.  She *nailed* it - from the blatant lie to the look in her eyes.  She looked at the clerk like, "go ahead, challenge me, b*tch." 

That whole posturing attitude...I saw it a lot.
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2012, 09:18:16 PM »

Definitely more sympathetic than Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction!

But much less sympathetic than we usually expect a main character to be. She lies, bullies people, acts like a jerk, uses people, drinks too much, makes scenes... My pwBPD is more AvPD so he doesn't challenge people directly like she does in the scene with the dog... but she nails it in many ways.

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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2012, 08:35:52 AM »

The movie Best in Show is a plethera of dysfunction, it's a bit exagerated and it's really funny.   When the dog trainer is talking about her background she says, dad was authoritarian and controlling, mom was unconditional love until she commited suicide in '81.  I'm like my dad but give rewards (as she pets the poodle).

I about spit my tea out at that line!
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2012, 09:41:28 AM »

The movie "Like Dandelion Dust".  Starts with husband getting out of prison for abusing wife.  While he was in, she had a baby and gave it up for adoption.  He gets out and they decide to get the child back.  So not only does he have to keep it together to avoid jail, he also has to do it for his son.

This movie I watched and I did not let stbx see it.  I knew it would trigger the heck out of him.  Was a very good betrayal of a person trying to hold it together for all their worth.

imdb.com/title/tt0981042/
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pallavirajsinghani
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2012, 06:38:21 PM »

Sunset Boulevard with Joan Crawford and Mommie Dearest about her.
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« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2012, 07:56:28 PM »

Not sure if it's BPD, but the HBO movie Grey Gardens really made me cry.
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« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2012, 09:05:50 PM »

Prozac Nation is based on a true story, I believe the main character was BPD.

imdb.com/title/tt0236640/
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« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2012, 06:34:31 PM »

Not a movie and I've only watched the first season so far, but Don Draper on Mad Men also reminds me a lot of ex.
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