Have you ever known someone who just made you feel crazy? Like the normal rules of conversation—and especially conflict—don’t apply? Or have the characters in your stories ever felt that way, surrounded by drama they don’t know how to navigate?
Statistically speaking, 16% of people have a personality disorder. But what is a personality disorder? And how can you improve your character development by learning about them?
In this episode of Character Test, I talk with a therapist about personality disorders, the psychology of character development, and how to handle conflict when it feels over the top and you don’t know what’s going on.
Lynn Bunting has been a licensed therapist for over forty years. She specializes in reconciliation in relationships and emotional management. She also happens to be my mom, which is kind of fun.
She and I are also working on a new book called Crazy: What to Do With the People in Your Life Who Make You Feel Crazy. If you’ve ever gotten into a conflict with someone, whether with someone at a work, a romantic relationship, or a friend, and you’ve felt like a crazy person, like you don’t know what is happening but it’s not normal and you’ve felt hurt and attacked but most of all, confused, this is for you.
And if you’ve ever wanted to write about a character surrounded by drama or a conflict that won’t resolve, you’ll love Lynn’s insight.
How do you navigate relationships that don’t seem to follow the normal rules? In this episode, we talk about strategies you can use to navigate relationships with challenging people and how to combine psychology and character development, including:
- The empathetic mindset some people never experience
- The three points of the drama triangle
- The problem with a victim mentality
- Why loving detachment is the key—and how to reach it
- Why Lynn will actually test people with a mini-conflict
- How to establish boundaries that will help you maintain healthy relationships with challenging people
Like I said, Lynn and I are working on a new book called Crazy. If you’re interested in getting updates as we work on it, or if you want to encourage us to hurry up and write it already, you can sign up for our interest list here:
For today’s practice, you have two options.
- Imagine a character like the people Lynn and I talk about in this episode, someone who can’t empathize with others and won’t take responsibility for their actions. Write a scene where that person gets into conflict with someone else. What does each person say? What do they do?
- Think of a conflict you’ve experienced recently. Imagine it as a story, and write the scene.