Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a characterological formation that creates around a trauma. Some people believe BPD is not in fact a personality disorder, but instead, a result of extreme trauma.

BPD is characterized by a loss of a sense of self and dysfunction in interpersonal relationships. What does this mean? A loss of sense of self is sometimes not having an awareness of yourself, your needs, your wants, or who you are. A person with BPD will usually see themselves in a negative light and distort the way other people see them. They can also ride waves of high and low self-esteem. They may also have trouble making concrete plans and following through – it sometimes seems easier for them to follow other peoples’ direction in their own life. People with BPD may also engage in impulsive and self-damaging behaviours (like unprotected sex, drug or alcohol abuse, binge eating, compulsive spending, self-harm,or threatening suicide).

Other characteristics that often appear in Borderline Personality Disorder are:

  • Intense and quickly changing moods
  • Comorbid anxiety, depression, or both
  • A pervasive feeling of emptiness
  • Anger, with a difficulty of being controlled over matters that others view as trivial
  • Paranoid thoughts when stressed
  • Chronic stress
  • Dissociating when stressed – losing a sense of reality and watchign themselves as if they are on the outside looking in

Dysfunction in interpersonal relationships is conflict and struggles in relationships with family members, coworkers, and romantic partners. It seems the closer you are with someone, the more dysfunction there is. Common characteristics in dysfunctional relationships include:

  • Abandonment issues – resistance toward perceived threats of abandonment, this can lead to clinginess
  • Intense and unstable relationships – riding waves of idealizing and criticizing the relationship and/or the other person
  • Anger management problems
  • Misinterpreting facial expressions – they often see tend to see sadness, disgust, anger or fear when they look at another’s face

What next?

If you or someone you know has BPD, there is help. Some may need a combination of medication and counselling. Counselling can help manage distress and promote a secure attachment, and improve self-compassion and self-esteem.

Seeking a diagnosis is the first step. Seeking support is another. Caregivers and people in the lives of people with BPD also need support as well. All can learn skills to improve their relationships with someone who struggles with BPD.