BPD is a disorder that is known for its impulsive behavior, and anger management issues. It develops through genetics or from childhood trauma, though most professionals believe that it is the mixture of both. It’s found that the Hippocampus, Amygdala, Prefrontal Cortex and HPA Axis are the main parts that were affected. The Hippocampus which is associated with the functions of feeling and reacting is smaller. The Amygdala, which controls emotions, overactive. While the Prefrontal Cortex, which is the area assigned for rational thinking is less active. The HPA axis, the part where stress is managed, elevated.
These changes in the mind shifts into mood swings and/ or aggressive behavior for the outside perspective. Due to co-occurring symptoms and disorders, it is hard to diagnose a person who may or may not have BPD. Though there are still common traits seen in sufferers, and the following being a list of common traits that are found in BPD sufferers.
If you have BPD you might have a dysfunctional view over yourself. You might view yourself as someone with good morals but suddenly you might imagine yourself as being evil or unworthy. “As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.” (Smith and Segal)
Fear of abandonment
Even when the relationship seems to be going smooth you tend to fear the idea that your partner might abandon or break up with you. That is why you find yourself constantly searching for ways to keep them with you whether this be, becoming clingier, tracking your partners' actions, and/or starting to overthink even the smallest abnormal action or behavior they emit. “If someone cancels an appointment, a person with BPD might see this as confirmation that they’re not good enough for said person, as BPD is highly linked to low self-worth.” (Hill) A push-pull dynamic can occur of which individuals will make frantic efforts to prevent the perceived abandonment from loved ones by begging, fighting or threatening self-harm.”
Dangerous, impulsive and self-destructive behaviors
When stress builds up inside you, your mind tries to find ways to get rid of that stress, so the BPD victim tends to try and find a way to release the built-up stress by binge eating, getting into unsafe sex, cutting, substance abuse, gambling, spending sprees or reckless driving.
Intense mood swings and anger
You frequently have intense mood swings than normal, which ranges from feeling depressed, anxiety, shame, intense happiness or intense anger, which may make you lash out towards others. This symptom can personally make you feel as though you have no control over yourself. These mood swings usually take around a few hours or even a few days to return to normal.
Feeling out of touch
A BPD sufferer can have periods where they feel out of touch with themselves or from their surroundings as if they were watching the scene from an outside perspective. “Ongoing feelings of emptiness can be perceived physically in the chest or abdomen, like a hole that needs to be filled. These feelings can occur from a few reasons, such as being let down, expecting to be let down by others, a lack of close relationships or shutting out to stop emotional surges.” ("BPD diagnosis and traits"). These moments could take around a few minutes to a few hours.
People that suffer from BPD usually have problems with maintaining relationships, as their view of their partner may instantly change. This tends to connect with intense mood swings as their anger and lash outs may prompt breakups. They may view their partner as perfect, looking up to them and idolizing them to an unhealthy amount but this could change rather quickly as well making them think their partner doesn’t care about the relationship or they’re cruel.
Reoccurring feeling of emptiness
As much as a person goes through intense feelings they also have deep, repeating feelings of emptiness. “At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.” (Smith and Segal)
It is important to note that not everyone has the same traits or the number of traits than other BPD sufferers, and it is also important to note that we can all have these symptoms from time to time, so it’s best to go to a doctor that can better diagnose you if you do think you might have it. Recognizing these traits might help to understand the other person or yourself. If you do find yourself resonating with these traits, there’s no need to worry, there are many mental health professionals that can help you reduce these symptoms with psychotherapy (talk therapy). Being understood and understanding yourself is always the first step to getting better.
“BPD Diagnosis and Traits.” Borderline in the ACT, www.borderlineintheact.org.au/living-with-bpd/bpd-diagnosis-and-traits/.
Smith, Melinda, and Jeanne Segal. “Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).” HelpGuide.org, June 2019, www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm.
Hill, Charlotte. “Borderline Personality Disorder and Childhood Trauma.” Psych2Go, 3 Dec. 2017, psych2go.net/borderline-personality-disorder-childhood-trauma/.