Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a disorder where it’s is really hard for the person to control their emotions and their behavior. It is impacted by your biology, social experiences and your individual personality traits. All of these things interact with each other to create a unique way of perceiving and thinking about the world. For folks with BPD, their perception and thinking is in some ways skewed, which often brings them at odds with other people and prevents them from reaching goals in their social, personal or work life. It is important to differentiate between a person’s personality and character versus their behavior. Although BPD is labelled as a personality disorder, it is often the person’s thought process or behavior that is problematic not necessarily their character or values.
BPD is a hard disorder to deal with because people with BPD have usually grown up in invalidating environments (environments that were not a good match for them) and have not learned effective ways of dealing with or reacting to situations. They have grown up in environments that have knowingly or unknowingly misunderstood or misheard them. This may often lead them to blaming others for their problems or for hurting them. And they may stay stuck in their patterns of thinking about themselves and other people. Behavior that is perceived by others as erratic or inconsistent, is less likely to elicit empathy, support or understanding from others. More often than not, others may perceive them as demanding and burdensome and want to move away from them.
BPD includes a constellation of behaviors, and here are some signs that may help identify someone you know as struggling with issues related to BPD:
a) Someone who has a history of bad relationships– they have either ended all of their past relationships or have been the person who has been dumped by others. Or they never approach relationships for fear that others may reject them. They may often threaten to break up relationships, only to later beg and plead reconciliation.
b) Easily swayed by other people including friends or family. They don’t hold any strong ideas about who they are and what they like. They may change their music taste, way of dressing, hobbies or interests to please others.
c) Being rejection sensitive. Quickly impacted by what they perceive as rejection or criticism towards them, may lead them to becoming retaliatory, impulsive, or hostile towards the other person.
d) They frequently attempt or threaten to attempt suicide. They may reach out to others in distress and expect others to help them and at times use suicide or the threat of suicide to get the other person’s attention, help or support. Many a times they themselves are not aware of how they solicit rescue seeking behavior from others. They may find themselves repeatedly in the hospital if they continue to jeopardize their safety.
e) Someone whose mood changes rapidly and unexpectedly. To others, their mood can shift quickly from being joyful to angry or sad to self-hatred without any overt signs. For the person with BPD, they can be so reactive that others and they themselves may be confused by their emotions and their intensity.
Having BPD is not a life sentence, nor is it a reason to continually suffer through life. A good diagnosis is key as symptoms of BPD are frequently misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. Therapy can very helpful in identify patterns of attachment that influence and shape thought and behavior. This often means changing old habits and ways of thinking and feeling.
If you are ready to confront your issues and discover the life that is waiting for you, get the help you need. For more information, you can also contact me.