Warning: Undefined array key "determined" in /homepages/28/d922530974/htdocs/technomom.com/wp-content/plugins/lj-moods/lj-moods.php on line 180

Borderline Personality Disorder


Warning: Undefined array key "determined" in /homepages/28/d922530974/htdocs/technomom.com/wp-content/plugins/lj-moods/lj-moods.php on line 180

I’m col­lect­ing my thoughts about threads from sev­er­al sep­a­rate con­ver­sa­tions with dif­fer­ent peo­ple and putting some infor­ma­tion here in hopes that it might help some­one. I real­ize that there are some peo­ple on my friends list who have men­tioned hav­ing BPD or hav­ing had a close fam­i­ly mem­ber with it. I’m not direct­ing this at you—you’re still on my friends list, and I could have done some sort of cus­tom fil­ter on this post but felt like it would be dis­hon­est. Drop me if you’re offended.

There are Dra­ma Queens, and then there are peo­ple who have a seri­ous psy­chi­atric prob­lem called Bor­der­line Per­son­al­i­ty Dis­or­der. Yes, they can look a lot alike, and peo­ple with BPD gen­er­al­ly are DQs—but they go much, much further.

The fol­low­ing text is tak­en from http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/bpd.html.


DSM-IV criteria

The DSM-IV gives these nine cri­te­ria; a diag­no­sis requires that the sub­ject present with at least five of these. In I Hate You—Don’t Leave Me! Jerold Kries­man and Hal Straus refer to BPD as “emo­tion­al hemo­phil­ia; [a bor­der­line] lacks the clot­ting mech­a­nism need­ed to mod­er­ate his spurts of feel­ing. Stim­u­late a pas­sion, and the bor­der­line emo­tion­al­ly bleeds to death.”

Traits involving emotions:

Quite fre­quent­ly peo­ple with BPD have a very hard time con­trol­ling their emo­tions. They may feel ruled by them. One researcher (Mar­sha Line­han) said, “Peo­ple with BPD are like peo­ple with third degree burns over 90% of their bod­ies. Lack­ing emo­tion­al skin, they feel agony at the slight­est touch or movement.”

1. Shifts in mood last­ing only a few hours.

2. Anger that is inap­pro­pri­ate, intense or uncontrollable.

Traits involving behavior:

3. Self-destruc­tive acts, such as self-muti­la­tion or sui­ci­dal threats and ges­tures that hap­pen more than once.

4. Two poten­tial­ly self-dam­ag­ing impul­sive behav­iors. These could include alco­hol and oth­er drug abuse, com­pul­sive spend­ing, gam­bling, eat­ing dis­or­ders, shoplift­ing, reck­less dri­ving, com­pul­sive sex­u­al behavior.

Traits involving identity

5. Marked, per­sis­tent iden­ti­ty dis­tur­bance shown by uncer­tain­ty in at least two areas. These areas can include self-image, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, career choice or oth­er long-term goals, friend­ships, val­ues. Peo­ple with BPD may not feel like they know who they are, or what they think, or what their opin­ions are, or what reli­gion they should be. Instead, they may try to be what they think oth­er peo­ple want them to be. Some­one with BPD said, “I have a hard time fig­ur­ing out my per­son­al­i­ty. I tend to be whomev­er I’m with.”

6. Chron­ic feel­ings of empti­ness or bore­dom. Some­one with BPD said, “I remem­ber describ­ing the feel­ing of hav­ing a deep hole in my stom­ach. An empti­ness that I did­n’t know how to fill. My ther­a­pist told me that was from almost a ‘lack of a life.’ The more things you get into your life, the more rela­tion­ships you get involved in, all of that fills that hole. As a bor­der­line, I had no life. There were times when I could­n’t stay in the same room with oth­er peo­ple. It almost felt like what I think a pan­ic attack would feel like.” \

Traits involving relationships

7. Unsta­ble, chaot­ic intense rela­tion­ships char­ac­ter­ized by split­ting (see below).

8. Fran­tic efforts to avoid real or imag­ined abandonment

  • Split­ting: the self and oth­ers are viewed as “all good” or “all bad.” Some­one with BPD said, “One day I would think my doc­tor was the best and I loved her, but if she chal­lenged me in any way I hat­ed her. There was no mid­dle ground as in like. In my world, peo­ple were either the best or the worst. I could­n’t under­stand the con­cept of mid­dle ground.” 
  • Alter­nat­ing cling­ing and dis­tanc­ing behav­iors (I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me). Some­times you want to be close to some­one. But when you get close it feels TOO close and you feel like you have to get some space. This hap­pens often.
  • Great dif­fi­cul­ty trust­ing peo­ple and them­selves. Ear­ly trust may have been shat­tered by peo­ple who were close to you.
  • Sen­si­tiv­i­ty to crit­i­cism or rejection.
  • Feel­ing of “need­ing” some­one else to survive.
  • Heavy need for affec­tion and reassurance.
  • Some peo­ple with BPD may have an unusu­al­ly high degree of inter­per­son­al sen­si­tiv­i­ty, insight and empathy.

9. Tran­sient, stress-relat­ed para­noid ideation or severe dis­so­cia­tive symptoms;
This means feel­ing “out of it,” or not being able to remem­ber what you said or did. This most­ly hap­pens in times of severe stress. 


I’m not a ther­a­pist of any kind. I only know about BPD because I was mar­ried to some­one who was diag­nosed with it. Life with that per­son was a series of con­stant crises. He would rede­fine him­self every time I turned around—religious beliefs, inter­ests, pri­or­i­ties (includ­ing par­ent­ing), career plans, lovers, every­thing. He got into BDSM to an obses­sive extent. Many peo­ple with BPD will exper­i­ment with gen­der iden­ti­ty and sex­u­al pref­er­ences a lot. 

Most peo­ple haven’t heard of BPD unless they have an imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­ber or SO who suf­fers from it. And fre­quent­ly, the per­son with BPD adamant­ly refus­es to seek treat­ment or admit that there’s any­thing wrong at all—everything is always some­one else’s fault. After I loaned a book about BPD to one per­son, he said, “When did these peo­ple live with my ex-wife?”

One thing I have noticed about peo­ple with BPD is that because they don’t have a firm grip on real­i­ty, they are very con­vinc­ing liars. It hon­est­ly seems that when they’re telling their whop­pers, they absolute­ly believe that what­ev­er they’re say­ing is true. It does­n’t mat­ter that what­ev­er they’re say­ing is unrec­og­niz­able to every­body else who was present at the same event—they’ve edit­ed and revised and now it’s their truth.

I fig­ure it must be hor­ri­ble to have BPD, but I can’t speak first-hand, and I’m afraid I’ve nev­er encoun­tered any­one with BPD in my real life who was will­ing to make any effort at all to heal. Because of that, I tend to com­plete­ly dis­so­ci­ate from any­body who acts like a BPD suf­fer­er in my real life and don’t have much patience with them online, either. Yes, I’m prob­a­bly miss­ing out on friend­ships with some good peo­ple who are work­ing through their issues, but for now—well, I’m whol­ly burned out on deal­ing with it. I can’t jus­ti­fy expos­ing my child to any more of it. So I won’t. I’m not demo­niz­ing peo­ple with BPD, I sim­ply choose not to have them in my per­son­al life.

Fam­i­lies and part­ners of peo­ple with BPD suf­fer ter­ri­bly. From the BPD Sanc­tu­ary:

Fam­i­lies bear the brunt of their loved one’s errat­ic behav­ior, usu­al­ly with­out sup­port or infor­ma­tion to help them. They strug­gle to deal with moods that swing from one extreme to anoth­er with­out any appar­ent pro­vok­ing event, with what appear to be over­re­ac­tions to inci­dents that seem minor, or with impul­sive behav­ior that may be dan­ger­ous. Fam­i­lies feel a sense of fail­ure when efforts to improve or con­trol sit­u­a­tions in their homes go from increas­ing­ly more dif­fi­cult to vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to man­age. They live in a psy­chic war zone, pay­ing a high price men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly. The frus­tra­tion of liv­ing with some­one with BPD has a rip­ple effect-from stress-relat­ed dis­or­ders to lost days of work to mar­riages that don’t sur­vive. When accu­sa­tions of abuse occur, fam­i­ly mem­bers can be ostra­cized by oth­ers. Once the charge of abuse is made, it is hard to undo the dam­age, even if the per­son with BPD rescinds the allegation. 

Across all dis­ci­plines, fam­i­lies are fre­quent­ly vil­i­fied and blamed. No fam­i­ly should be expect­ed to cope alone, yet very few sup­port groups are avail­able. Although TARA offers them through its chap­ters, many more are urgent­ly needed.

There are many web­sites and online sup­port groups (web and email-based) about BPD. Since a quick search will find many, I won’t list them here. But there are also sev­er­al books that are very good. If what I’ve described sounds like some­one in your life, please be careful.

Edit: Wow. 18 months lat­er, some peo­ple still come across this entry and believe it to be all about them! Believe me, if it were about you, your name would be in it. If, how­ev­er, you have a ten­den­cy to think that oth­er peo­ple’s jour­nal entries ARE about you when those peo­ple insist oth­er­wise, per­haps you should seek therapy.

Cur­rent Mood: determined
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4241

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top