Sometimes neurotic women are idealized—“crazy in the head, crazy in bed” and all that. However, the reality is far less pleasant. One needn’t be very experienced to cross paths with a nut; they’re everywhere.
Note well, the intention isn’t about picking on people suffering from problems—it’s about keeping you safe. Getting involved with these types may lead to horrendous breakups, false accusations of harassment (or worse), holes poked in your condoms, attempts to provoke you into violence, or other creative ways to make your life a living hell.
What are “Cluster B” personality disorders?
There are dozens of ways to be a nut, but the high-functioning ones aren’t always immediately obvious. Particularly concerning is the DSM-IV’s Axis II Cluster B personality disorder spectrum. (Yes, men can have these afflictions too. They thrive in “kiss up / kick down” corporate environments. Ever had a manager like that?) These conditions, and their approximate equivalent colloquialisms, are:
- Histrionic personality disorder—“attention harlot”
- Borderline personality disorder—“bunny boiler”
- Narcissistic personality disorder—“drama queen”
- Antisocial personality disorder—“psycho”
These are syndromes that must include a minimum number of symptoms to meet a clinical diagnosis. However, even a “merely flaky” subclinical type might mean a girlfriend who becomes a royal pain in the ass once she’s revealed her true self. It only gets worse from there.
Can they be vivacious and exuberant? Certainly! Superficial charm is one of the possible defining characteristics. This is especially so on the beginning, before you know their other side. Can they control their behavior? Absolutely! They’ll perform Oscar-worthy method acting for anyone useful to them: social workers, attorneys, police, etc. However, although many have a strong fear of abandonment, they don’t have the sense to treat their partners decently. Don’t let that be you.
Borderline personality disorder cases are especially infamous for epic trouble. They’ll frequently latch onto Nice Guys, exploiting their protective instincts. Also, they’re drawn to violent egomaniacs with narcissistic personality disorder to get their Stockholm Syndrome funsies. (It’s a common malfunction.) The very worst will alternate between the two for the full meal deal: “exciting” knuckleheads for sex and fisticuffs, and chumps to rescue them from their drama.
All that said, beware if you notice multiple instances of the following…
1. Mood swings
This is the classic sign of bipolar disorder. Still, Cluster B cases also can suffer extreme mood swings: exuberant giddiness, crushing depression, or rage. If someone’s emotions commonly resemble a roller coaster ride, beware.
Green light: Any moodiness on her part is situational and appropriate, or doesn’t exceed ordinary “lunar phase” events.
2. Daddy issues
Sigmund Freud had a point about bad parenting leading to bad outcomes. Screwed-up families have become the norm because of overworked parents, the rampant divorce industry, and normalization of single motherhood. (Mom’s revolving door of boyfriends aren’t the best substitute.) How people are raised isn’t their fault, of course. Still, childhood trauma is a leading cause of these disorders.
Green light: She has healthy family relationships.
3. Constant Shit Tests
During the “getting to know you” part of a normal relationship, Shit Tests are fairly typical, but should decrease later. However, an unending barrage of little provocations is excessive, and quite annoying. Learn how to hold frame, or you’re doomed.
Green light: Shit Tests become rare after you’re a steady couple.
4. DEFCON1 arguments
If you’re with a Cluster B case, your romance begins seeming too good to be true. However, an epic blowup typically happens around the one month mark. You’re walking on clouds, then suddenly caught off guard and crouching in the fallout shelter.
How you handle it in the beginning sets important precedents. Obviously, supplication would be the wrong move. Your only hope of surviving with your wits intact is steadfastly explaining that you don’t tolerate “50 Shades of Crazy” stuff. They thrive on attention, so staying calm is more effective than shouting back.
Green light: No total meltdowns occur by three months.
Many will have histories of suicidal ideation, or even attempts. The “circle with semicolon” wrist tattoo has become a trendy reminder. It’s tragic that things get to this point, and I really do feel for them. Still, be aware that their problems are beyond your ability to fix.
Cutting is another tipoff; deliberately slicing one’s skin is abnormal. Beware of multiple small, straight scars in the same location, most frequently the arms. Consider even a few to be a red flag. Having a face full of ironmongery might indicate problems too.
Green light: She isn’t morbidly inclined and she respects her body.
6. Abuse history
Terrible things can happen to people through no fault of their own. Really, it makes me sick. However, if someone brings up past trauma very early on, perhaps she’s playing the victim card to exploit your sympathy.
Normal people might discuss that stuff eventually, but certainly not immediately. Have you ever used a Coach Badtouch story as a pickup routine, or one about how your mother neglected you? I didn’t think so.
Green light: She doesn’t use abuse stories as a first date conversation topic.
7. Sleeping around
Impulsive thrill-seeking and desire for attention can cause well above average mileage. Promiscuity is another possible clinically-defining characteristic. Don’t consider it advantageous; you could still get Friend Zoned.
Green light: She’s not the town bicycle.
8. Unstable relationships
Does she describe all her exes as abusive? If it’s not an occasional lapse in her judgment and good taste, perhaps she goes for dirtbags, not learning from her mistakes. Alternatively, many will consider someone either wonderful or horrible—with no middle ground—and their opinion frequently changes.
Even if she’s creatively overstating the facts, imagine her describing you as another abuser to the next sucker. She’ll probably believe her fabrications; they have highly selective memories.
Green light: She seldom has horrendous breakups.
9. Constant need for excitement
For these types, boredom is nearly torture. Clown game will work great with them, but maintaining a long-term stream of entertainment is impractical. If they can’t get their excitement fix, they’ll create drama. They do that masterfully.
Green light: She doesn’t expect constant life in the fast lane.
10. Unstable work history and finances
Although nobody gets overjoyed processing TPS reports forty hours a week, disdain for boring work goes deeper for Cluster B cases. Sometimes they consider normal jobs “beneath” them. Despite that, impulsiveness can lead to shopaholic retail therapy.
If you’re a regular working stiff, they might regard you as inferior. Still, they’ll cut you some slack if your steady income stream bails them out of their messes and helps maintain their thrill-a-minute lifestyle.
Green light: She’s industrious, lives within her means, gets along with her colleagues, doesn’t create workplace drama, and doesn’t disparage honest jobs.
Fortunately, once you’ve weeded out the flakes and outright crazies, the rest are pretty solid. There are still plenty of decent women who’ll treat you right and be real with you. Perhaps a nightclub full of drunks isn’t the most target-rich environment for relationship-material ladies. Likewise, methadone clinics aren’t great places for running daygame if you want a keeper.