Personality Disordered Individual - Say Goodbye to your PDI

Interview with Dr. Stan Kapuchinski

Dr. Kapuchinski was a dean's list undergraduate at New York's Fordham University. While there, he participated in an Honors Program which gave him the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and The Sorbonne in Paris, France.

After being a National Institute of Health fellow at Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Dr. Kapuchinski attended St. Louis University where he received his M.D. degree.He then pursued post-graduate training at The Boston University Medical Center in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at The Institute of Living, Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr. Kapuchinski served in the U.S. Air Force where he held the rank of major and was department chairman of in-patient and out-patient psychiatry. While in the military, Dr. Kapuchinski also initiated a bio-behavioral program for psychosomatic illnesses.

While serving as a psychiatric consultant to numerous medical, business and government organizations, Dr. Kapuchinski has also been a psychiatric volunteer to the natives in the Peruvian Amazon River Basin. Additionally, he functioned as Senior Psychiatric Specialist in Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Kapuchinski is a Board-Certified medical doctor in Psychiatry and Neurology.

Health Communications, Inc (HCI) will publish Dr. Kapuchinski's forthcoming book, Say Goodbye To Your PDI, (Personality Disordered Individuals), Recognize People Who Make You Miserable And Eliminate Them From Your Life…For Good! in September, 2007. [PURCHASE HERE]

Dr. Kapuchinski's health column, Ask Dr. K is presently published in a large southwest Florida newspaper along with a more tongue-in-cheek column Ask Dr. Bob, The Evil Twin, which addresses mental health issues in a more irreverent yet dignified manner. Dr. Kapuchinski continues to live, practice psychiatry and write in Southwest Florida.

1. What are you currently working on / researching / writing?

I write a biweekly column, Ask Dr. K,which appears in the Sunday "Felling Fit' section ofThe Charlotte-Sun, the local SW Florida newspaper/ The column usually deals with psychiatric topics like depression, relationships, anxiety problems like obsessive compulsive disorder, dealing with teens, dementia. Alternatively, I sometimes write a tongue-in-cheek column, Ask Dr. Bob, which attempts to funny in discussing 'different' psychiatric issues like why people drive in the left lane at 3 mph, a fear of clouds (cumulo-phobia), anxiety over paper towel dispensers and worry over whether one should pull a nail from a tire since the tire isn't losing air.

I am presently working on a book about how ''illusions' in our lives about who we are and how we perceive others can hold us back inbeing happy and make life seem a struggle. I'm hoping to integrate the characters from the Wizard of Oz who thought they were looking for something and actually had it inside themselves all along.

2. First of all, what prompted you to write this book?

At one time in a galaxy far, far away, I had the honor of working as a teacher to third year medical students. One day, a student commented that it would be nice to have a book like a 'Psychiatry For Dummies' since they guys had six weeks to learn all the psychiatry they could. I started out writing that type of book but it quickly became apparent that a task like that would prove overwhelming in length. So I took the group I wrote about, the PDIs, because we all interact with them everyday, they are a miserable group of people with whom to deal and they are very difficult to understand for a student, if not for the world in general.

3. Who would you refer to as a Personality Disordered Individual (PDI) and why should we eliminate them from our lives?

Now, that would be telling. If I give that secret away, you won't buy the book.

All of us have a personality that defines us and makes us unique. It's a combination of many things but basically a mixture of inherited traits plus the things to which we've been exposed as we grew up. Our personalities are expressed in how we behave (think of words like nerd, intellectual, drama-queen, comedian, serious and you get the idea). 'Healthy' personalities give and take, can listen to others, can love and be loved and try to learn from experience. As 'healthy' personalities grow up, they go through stages (think of the 'terrible two's), but then love on. PDIs are different in that they get 'stuck'. PDIs are individuals who, for various reasons, stay in a mode of behavior that never changes despite the fact that they really never make friends. have intimate relationships. have the capacity to love another or are ever able to share…these are abilities that I believe human beings value since being able to give, love and be loved are quite rewarding.

PDIs are self-centered, cannot give/share nor let their guard down. They never change and are not ever open to anyone's else's suggestions about how they do things. Because they are so self-centered, hey are users and manipulators with their sole focus being to control others to get a vast amount of attention.
As a result, any relationship with a PDI demands that the other party drop their needs and devote their lives to the never satisfied needs of the PDI. There is no discussion with a PDI, they are never wrong. There is nothing you can do to change them. Consequently, you are left in an unfulfilling relationship that you stay in because the PDI is so masterful in manipulating you. You feel that, if the relationship is not going well, that it's your fault.

4. How can we recognize PDIs?

Simply put, you are in a relationship that makes you miserable. You are in a relationship where what ever you try to do, it does not get better. You are in a relationship where there is always a struggle. Please [check my website] and click on the PDI Quiz.

5. What types of people are most likely to have PDIs in their lives and why?

Very often, just regular, normal, caring people have PDIs in their life. We all generally believe that, in a relationship, the other person also tries to make things work just as we do. When things are not working, the 'normal' person tries harder and assumes the other is trying as well so they can get ensnared simply by being unaware that the PDI is totally self-absorbed. Other people that get trapped are more easy manipulated by the PDI. These include the caring person, the rescuer, the guilty individual, the giver, the abused person and the insecure individual.

6. Educators obviously cannot eliminate PDI students from their classes.What tips would you give educators for coping with individuals with personality disorders?

My book stresses over and over again that PDIs use your own feelings against you to manipulate you. For example, a PDI could make you feel guilty for some reason (PDIs always see themselves, no matter how bad their behavior is, as victims of others so they'll make you feel guilty without it really being so). The main tip would be that if a student is playing you, do not get caught up in being 'played'. Educators have the power to define and confront the behavior and label what is and what is not acceptable. That is what needs to be done with a PDI whether it's in the classroom or in life. Educators are also human and can fall into the traps of the PDI…feeling guilty, feeling angry then felling guilty for getting angry (losing control), feeling charmed or feeling like the educator is the user (guilty).

What about parents of children with personality disorders?

I hate to sound pessimistic, but if the parents are like the child, there's little that can be done other than define what's unacceptable and the consequences. There will likely be no understanding and the parents will behave like the child. My book stresses that you have to be aware of your feelings and not react to the PDI as the PDI expects. Classically, the PDI behaves in a certain way to elicit a response. PDIs will play around and see how you respond to their many behaviors. If they can get a reaction, then they use it against you. My book is focused on getting you to see how the PDI plays you and how not to react. It also describes what you can and, more importantly, what you cannot do in dealing with them. Bottom line is that you cannot change them. You can only keep control and not get ensnared.

7. What are some pertinent details to know and remember and when dealing with people with personality disorders?

Always be aware of your feelings with a PDI. It's your feelings that they use against you.

  • PDIs make you miserable
  • They do not change
  • They will repeatedly try to provoke you (in a good or bad way)
  • They will fool you…they are much better at this than you are
  • You cannot change them
  • They are never wrong
  • They are selfish and self-centered
  • You must change your reaction to the PDI to be in charge and therefore, less miserable

8. Do they individuals accept responsibility for their problems?

Never. They always see themselves as victims of an uncaring world that does not understand them.

9. Do they have any insight or understanding into the fact that they have major problems?

No. Some PDIs may seek help/counseling. This is usually the result of the treatment being mandated (e.g., by the court or a spouse) or the PDI sees therapy as a way of getting more attention and validation for how badly he or she is being treated by the world.

10. What question have we neglected to ask?

What's the main thing someone should remember when dealing with a PDI? If whatever you're doing in dealing with him or her is not working, don't keep doing it. This may sound very simple and basic but it isn't. Everyone thinks they can change a PDI. They just have to do the right thing, say the right words or something. Wrong…PDIs never change.

Do you have a website where we might get further information about your book?

First Published August 13, 2007, Updated October, 2012

Interview Provided By:

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Senior Columnist
Tammy Lynne Moore
Eastern New Mexico University

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