I’ve been watching a LOT of movies lately. Lifetime movies. Yea, yea…serious Karpman Drama Triangles of the cinematic variety. The personalities are exaggerated and the storyline reduced to a viewer’s thirty-second attention span. The storyline is biased---sure to be a crowd pleaser since you can’t run a business without appealing to your market audience. The market audience for Lifetime movies is probably women like myself, stay-at-home-Mom-types with too little appreciation for their time, talents and temperament ‘cuz it takes a certain kind of person to maintain her self-esteem without salary increases and performance reviews. (The only performance review my husband ever gave me was a divorce with an automatic salary decrease and that didn't do much for my self-esteem. Studying mental-disorders-all-sorts was a way to restore my self-esteem and protect me from a repeat performance of a movie I didn't like the first time. )
I remember specific real life movies that expanded my awareness of 'bad folk'---leaving a lasting impression in my mind and my heart. Other people have said the same thing. There's something unforgettable about real-life dramas when we 'see' the actors, identify with some of the characters, and vicariously experience our emotions from the beginning to the end of the movie. It's cathartic when the hero triumphs over evil, faces her fears and overcomes her powerlessness. We love hero-conquers-fears type movies!
Movies like the ones you see on the Lifetime Network, reach a bigger audience than research articles about pathological personality disorders. So what I'm intrigued about today (I always have some kind of obsession going on) are movies portraying Cluster B Personalities without numbing audiences with psychoanalytic descriptions and pathology constructs. Movies showing what a 'pathological' looks like, how a pathological talks, how they operate. In two hours or less, you can download more information into your psyche by watching a film than two weeks spent studying Otto Kernberg's Aggression.
Something else I'm loving about Lifetime movies now is that pathologicals aren't hideous monsters with the cloven hooves portrayed in fairytales. Real life pathologicals look everyday average and the heroine is no Æon Flux either. Readers of my blog know that Cluster Bs don't manifest outward signs that anything is 'off'. You aren't suspicious because for all intents and purposes, this person looks normal. As long as we believe there is something sinister, something 'telling', something wicked the victim should have picked up on, Cluster B personalities will perpetrate inestimable damage to our society. People will continue blaming the victim (it's the path of least resistance) and society will, without realizing it, endorse pathological behavior rather than setting limits.
Everyone says the first place to effectuate change educating people about pathology. Realistically though, I know how much time it has taken me to start from scratch, not having had a psychology background. Without my researcher mindset (my family calls it 'obsessive personality'), most people won't have enough time or enough interest to read psychological literature. So I think one of the easiest ways to help people learn about pathology is through 'entertainment'. This was my thought when creating a website with a specific list of films portraying pathological personalities. It's called: WoN Cinema Presents: Ns & Ps & Cluster Bs.
If you have a basic knowledge about personality disorders, Cluster Bs in particular, the character traits portrayed in these films will be more meaningful. If you don't care to know which specific disorder a character is portraying (and I'll betcha even professionals disagree about a specific diagnosis), you can learn how a pathological personality style affects other people and how those people extricated themselves from the inevitable MESS.
I'd like to invite readers to use the Cinema website and link it to your blog if you'd be so kind. Each month, a new movie is featured and other movies are added when available. I also have several Featured Films listed (scroll down the page. You'll see them). Because October was Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, three of the featured films are about domestic violence: If Someone Had Known and the 1999 film, Black and Blue. A heart-breaking film about male abuse is also featured: Men Don't Tell, 1993.
If you have any suggestions to improve the site or have movie requests you'd like me to add to the website, please post a comment here. You cannot post comments on the cinema website but you can post them on my Narcissistic Continuum blog. I hope this new site will help people learn about pathology. I appreciate your help in achieving this cause.