10 Facts About Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) You Need to Know

Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informative purposes. Do not self diagnose and do not diagnose or stigmatize others. Please speak with a healthcare provider or mental health professional for medical/mental health advice.

Personality disorders come in many different forms and affects people differently. Borderline Personality Disorder, is a specific condition that primarily affects self-perception and relationships. People with the condition typically experiences an intense emotional instability that deeply impacts everyday life. To better understand this condition we’ll be discussing 10 facts about BPD that you need to know. 

1. Fear of Abandonment

People with BPD often experience an intense sensitivity to abandonment. They may feel that the people around them are growing distant, regardless if that’s the truth or not. They notice small changes in behavior and view it as a sign that their partner or friend is growing distant. Their efforts to keep the person from leaving, can conversely drive them away. This is especially true since they can resort to clingy behavior (NIMH 2017).

2. Persistent and Wide Mood Swings

BPD is exhausting. People with the condition often experience intense mood swings that can last hours to days. Moods can vary from extreme happiness to sadness and irritability, and may happen within the same day. These moods can be triggered rather easily as, typically, people with BPD are sensitive. In some cases they may experience intense anger and can become destructive or violent. However, in other cases, they keep that intense anger bottled up causing more psychological harm (Mayo Clinic 2019).

3. Paranoid Thinking

BPD can cause a person to become paranoid and may perhaps lose contact with reality for small periods of time. They feel that people are trying to work against them and fear other’s intentions. They may act out on these hunches and cut contact with others to protect themselves. High levels of stress may cause someone to dissociate with themselves, and in more severe cases, can cause a psychotic episode (NIMH 2017).

4. Emptiness

People with BPD may feel chronically empty. These are difficult feelings and they may not know how to handle them. In some cases they may struggle with self image and accepting who they are. This, along with fears of abandonment and mood swings may cause a person to feel empty. This feeling can be dangerous and contribute to other problems such as addiction (NAMI 2017).

5. Impulsivity 

As BPD can cause a person to experience intense happiness, they may indulge in impulsive activities. In fact, BPD parallels Bipolar disorder in this way and is sometimes misdiagnosed as such (Singh 2020). These activities can range from spending large amounts of money on unnecessary items, to unsafe sex, to acting recklessly (NIMH 2017).  

6. Splitting

Splitting is another term for black and white thinking. People with BPD may flip flop from one extreme emotion to another. For instance, someone may feel an intense love and admiration for a person in their life at one moment, yet if they feel that the person wronged them, those warm fuzzy feelings may turn into bitter hatred and resentment. They can feel these extreme emotions over small inconveniences and misunderstandings (Marie-Grimm 2019). 

7. Trust Issues

People with BPD may find it hard to trust others, for no reason at all. They may over analyze situations and feel they’re being slighted in situations. They do so despite the thoughts being completely irrational. In other situations, they feel that they understand other’s intentions, despite being way off. They may also think that another person is cruel to them over a small inconvenience (NAMI 2017). 

8. Risk Factors For Development Can Be Environmental And/Or Inherited

Whether or not a person develops BPD depends on a few different variables. In some cases, it can be developed through genetics; if a relative has the disorder. In other cases, people who experience highly traumatic events may develop the disorder. Whether someone experienced separation from someone at a young age, to situations where their trust was betrayed are also influences. Generally speaking, a person starts to develop BPD in early adulthood (Mayo Clinic 2019).

9. Change in Interest and Values

A person with BPD may have polarizing views on themselves and others. Similar to splitting, they may feel night and day differences on various topics. For instance, a person may feel that they have no value to anyone at one moment, but feel the opposite in another. Their interests, values, and relationships are very unstable and lack consistency (NIMH 2017). 

10. It Can Be Treated

While the disorder may be extremely exhausting and difficult to live with, there is help and treatment available. Psychotherapy (AKA talk therapy) is commonly used. Additionally, medications are sometimes used to help manage the symptoms. BPD may come with suicidal ideation and actions, in which case more critical intervention is needed. Treatment can greatly improve the quality of life for a person. If left untreated, it can open the door to further psychiatric illnesses to other problems relating to substance abuse (NAMI 2017). 

BPD is a complex and stigmatized condition. It is important to know that people struggling with BPD are not necessarily bad people, rather they are people in need of support. BPD comes with a lot of emotional impulsivity and instability, so it is important to reach out if you feel that you’re struggling. Do you have any other insight about BPD? Any other thoughts about how the condition affects people? Let us know in the comments!

Like this article? We have it available as a video as well.

References:

  • Editors of Mayo Clinic. “Borderline Personality Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 July 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237.
  • Editors of NAMI. “Borderline Personality Disorder.” NAMI, 2017, www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder.
  • Editors of NIMH. “Borderline Personality Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dec. 2017, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml.
  • “What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?” Performance by Harmit Singh, Chihealth.com, CHI Health, 20 Jan. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=DueVQLcrFPU.
  • “What It’s Like to Live With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).” Performance by Sammy Marie-Grimm, Youtube.com, MedCircle, 21 Feb. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=acGcQQ1X74M.

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