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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - what is it?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, BPD is diagnosed when there is an instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, mood swings and impulsive behaviour. A person with Borderline Personality Disorder (BP) often feels both dependent and hostile towards their supporters which makes for a very tumultuous interpersonal relationship. In general, people with BPD feel empty, moody, needy, depressed, fear being alone and fear being abandoned. They are looking for that person who can give them the love that they canít give themselves, the person who can fill the hole left deep within them.
BP's see things as black or white, I love you or I hate you and base their shallow beliefs on feelings rather than facts. A BP's beliefs are shallow as they donít have a belief system of their own; they are usually following other people beliefs and thoughts. Dealing with this pain is done two ways 'acting in' or 'acting out'. Acting in is when they self injure (SI), make suicide attempts, abuse alcohol and/or drugs, express self-hate and uselessness. Acting out is when they focus on their partner/family by laying blame on them for all their problems, make unfair and often fabricated accusations, emotionally abuse them, placing their partners/family in 'no win' situation and use emotional blackmail to get the love they need. Having said all of that remember the most important issue, BP's are living in pain and fear - each and every day. Most of the time their actions are a result of them getting through each day, this is how they survive.

A person with this disorder will exhibit a majority (5 or more traits) of the following symptoms:

  • frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self
  • impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, alcohol, drugs, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self mutilating behavior
  • unstable emotional states which are easily triggered and last from anywhere between an hour and a few days
  • chronic feelings of emptiness
  • inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, abusive behaviour, recurrent physical fights)
  • transient, stress related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
  • The interesting point here is that every person on this earth experiences some or all of the above at some time in their life but it is the frequency and intensity that distinguishes BPD.


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