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10 Myths about Borderline Personality Disorder Dispelled


One of the hardest things about coping with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (other than the condition itself) is the stigma attached to the condition.  A lack of understanding coupled with misinformation, unhelpful content on the web and even the attitude of some professionals mean it can be hard for those of us with BPD to get access to the help and support we need as our label puts us on the trash heap of life. In this post I hope to dispel some of the top myths surrounding the condition…

I want to try to discuss some of the more negative traits associated with BPD, including being called ‘attention seekers’ ‘manipulative’ ‘deceptive’ ‘demanding’ ‘destructive’ ‘obstructive’ and ‘dangerous’.  It’s hard not to find these words bandied around to describe BPD sufferers, so-called experts and therapists supposed to ‘help’ us use these words themselves, and often will do ‘anything’ to avoid getting a BPD patient on their list as we are considered ‘un-treatable’ ‘uncooperative’ and ‘non-compliant’ for treatment.  Websites that are meant to help and support us even use the same terminology – is it any wonder we feel victimised and like ‘no-one’ gives a crap!?

Well excuse me just a moment,  for all you so-called ‘normal’ people out there, you don’t have the ‘reason’ or ‘excuse’ of BPD but excuse me, just how many of you are all of the words listed above!?  I can’t count the number of ‘normal’ people I’ve met that lie, cheat, steal, abuse, deceive, endanger, attention-seek, and manipulate others!  So, come on tell me why is it OK for you?  But, because we have the label ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ attached to our behaviour we are to be ‘abandoned’ ‘disowned’ and thrown on the trash heap of life as useless wasters not worthy of help, support and compassion?  Please, I really would like to know why we are the bad ones.  After all, in the majority of cases the reason we have this diagnosis is because of the MISTREATMENT of all the above kinds and more we have received at the hands of others (abuse, rape, emotional, physical and mental suffering, bullying, torment, and psychological torture… the list goes on)

Okay, so now I’ve had my rant let’s examine these traits. Each of these could be a post in its own right as there is much more to say, this is just a brief overview of each myth with sources for further information. I may also do a lengthier post on each at a later time. Where I have used an explanation in full from elsewhere I have quoted the ‘source’ at the end of the text, if I have just used material as reference but written my own explanation I have listed the ‘reference’ at the end.

1.) Borderlines are attention seekers…

Dictionary definition: “seizing the attention”

There are many people with personality disorders; they may be considered attention seekers but let me ask you, if you had a cold, what is it you look for from your partner or friends? Isn’t it comfort, reassurance and attention? So why would it be any different for someone suffering from severe emotional distress? Self-harming behaviours may trigger responses from others but they are rarely intended as attention seeking, they are very real expressions of an inability to cope and desire to escape the daily torture of BPD, the intent is to punish oneself or relieve some pressure, attention from others is not the reason for engaging in these behaviours.(Reference: The Borderline Personality Survival Guide,  BPD World )

2.) Borderlines are manipulative…

Dictionary definition: “To manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings”

This is a very harsh comment to make about someone who is using the best skills they have available. Try to imagine what someone with a personality disorder has gone through, and then think about what extremes you would go to protect yourself. Isn’t it true that life is a fight for survival or would it be seen that way through the eyes of someone with a personality disorder? (Source: BPD World)

3.) Borderlines are deceptive…

Dictionary definition: “designed to deceive or mislead either deliberately or inadvertently

This is linked to the discussion about manipulation, the borderline can be considered a convincing liar, who sets out to intentionally mislead others with their manipulative and deceitful behaviours. However, a Borderline is highly unlikely to intentionally do these things due to the knowledge and fear that such behaviours increase the risk of rejection and abandonment, which of course are to be avoided at all costs. In fact due to the childlike nature of a borderline at times of pressure they actually find it difficult to lie at all, except for lying by omission (not revealing something, but not denying it either) (reference: all sources mentioned on this page)

4.) Borderlines are demanding…

Dictionary definition: “requiring more than usually expected or thought due; especially great patience and effort and skill”

Imagine having a broken leg, you know there is treatment and with a little patience you will be better before you know it. With a personality disorder you are likely to experience the problem for many years with no real hope of a cure but your symptoms are likely to lessen as you grow older. Unlike a broken leg, you can not exactly see what is wrong but you can definitely feel it. I am sure everyone will agree this would make anyone quite demanding and impatient. (Source: BPD World)

5.) Borderlines are destructive…

Dictionary definition: Causing or wreaking destruction; ruinous

This is true, if you consider it as ‘self-destructive’ rather than destruction aimed outwards. Reports of people with BPD  destroying the property of others or other destructive behaviours aimed at others are rarely true.  A person with BPD is likely to act impulsively when triggered, this includes a variety of self-destructive behaviours from unprotected sexual promiscuity to destruction of owns own property (punishment as you ‘don’t’ deserve these ‘nice’ things). Rachel Reiland describes how she burned her childhood awards, certificates and high school diploma in ‘Get me out of here: My recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder’ as she felt they did ‘Mean anything’ and this is typical of what can happen when a Borderline loses ‘control’ our achievements can become devalued and we can destroy things once held dear. (Reference: Get me out of here: My recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder)

6.) Borderlines are obstructive…

Dictionary definition: “To impede, retard, or interfere with; hinder”

People with mental health issues have been often through mental health services for years. People with a personality disorder are likely to be involved with services for much longer than the standard mental health patient. They are offered so many services and therapies that have different names but often mean the same; they often end up feeling like a bit of a guinea pig, and reluctant to continue with another service or therapy. (Source: BPD World)

7.) Borderlines are dangerous…

Dictionary definition: “Being able or likely to do harm.

The few films and TV representations of people with BPD tend to portray us as violent and at high risk of harming others. This is completely untrue, we are more likely to do ANYTHING to avoid hurting others, at great risk to ourselves.  Borderlines will sacrifice their own needs to try to make others happy and avoid any possibility that they would leave or reject us.  The only way in which we are dangerous is to ourselves, directing our anger inwards rather than outwards – this actually distinguishes BPD from Antisocial Personality Disorder, where sufferers anger is more likely to be directed outwards. For many BPD sufferers our own experiences on the receiving end of danger, violence and anger mean we avoid such expressions at all costs having witnessed the damage it can cause first hand. (Reference: The Borderline Personality Survival Guide)

8.) Borderlines are un-treatable…

Dictionary definition: “Incapable of being treated; not practicable.

Until recently mental health professional struggled with treating people with BPD and concluded it was untreatable, in fact it was just that the treatments used were ineffective and with improvements in research and understanding (particularly the work of Marsha Linehan) people with BPD now have a greater chance of recovery than those with Bipolar disorder – so long as they can get access to treatment, which is still the biggest barrier for most BPD sufferers. (Reference: The Borderline Personality Survival Guide)

9.) Borderlines are uncooperative…

Dictionary definition: “unwilling to cooperate.

If you were faced with a professional whose job it is to help you, but who has prejudged you (based on the BPD label) as all the words defined here, and additionally ‘needy, time-consuming and difficult’ how would you feel?  You would be able to sense those negative attitudes even if they were not verbally expressed, and they would become apparent very quickly in the relationship. Would you feel able to cooperate with someone who clearly doesn’t really want to be around you? of course not! Well this is what people with BPD experience all too often. we are not deliberately uncooperative, any more than the next person, but it is hard to cooperate with something when you can tell that your best interests are not at the heart of the issue, that getting rid of you as quick as possible is the key priority.  Given a chance the majority of people with BPD are willing to try ANYTHING to get better, how can that be uncooperative? (Reference: Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder)

10.) Borderlines are non-compliant…

Dictionary definition: “a person who refuses to comply.

Linked to the previous definition this is about the notion that people with BPD are unwilling to comply with treatment, not taking medication prescribed, not turning up for therapy sessions etc.  As before it is hard to comply with something that does not feel aimed at helping you, but in fact due to the intense need to recover, avoid abandonment and rejection a person with BPD is actually more likely to ‘overdo’ it creating the ‘boundary’ issues that sometimes come up instead. Arriving too early for therapy sessions is one of my personal issues. All these things can lead to a person with BPD believing they are untreatable, beyond help and become filled with shame and self-doubt to the extent that they become non-compliant due to feeling the obstacles to change outweigh the possible benefits and chances of success. Thus, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and for the BPD  sufferer to be able to change the attitudes of others needs to change. (Reference: The Borderline Personality Survival Guide)

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments :)

109 comments on “10 Myths about Borderline Personality Disorder Dispelled

  1. Thanks so much for this. I have a friend diagnosed with BPD who I see as a lovely, kind, thoughtful person who is terrified of being rejected and whose main ‘crime’ is in not knowing when to say no to people. Unsurprisingly she’s finding it very difficult to come to terms with the diagnosis given all the labels you describe and the lack of support in our area. It’s also affected her in very practical ways – Eg losing benefits & being forced to look for work she will almost certainly not find (due to age & the severity of her symptoms).

    • I hope your friend is able to get some help and support! There are several blogs which say helpful stuff about coping with BPD written by fellow sufferers and MIND are great too. Also if she is on Facebook there are some good groups where we share our problems x

      • There must be many differences. . .because my sister is diagnosed with it and she gets downright evil for no reason. she makes more problems for herself and has attacked me for no reason several times. she lies by her own admission and manipulates, or tries. she doesnt share her real problems with her therapist, instead call people she hardly speaks to and puts it all on them. . .then we are terrible if we cant say what she wants to hear. She has drug out dad through all kinds of hell with worry. She doesnt think about other people and their problems, just wants to put more on others, all except her therapist. She has made up humongous lies about other people and gets everyone confused and in conflict, all the while none of it is true. she has stressed me out completely and caused me to lose valuable sleep, which affects MY life. It’s all about her, and if I mention something going on with myself, she completely doesnt care, its as if she doesnt even care to listen. I realize that she is in pain, but she knows what she needs to do to help herself, be honest with therapist as opposed to treating people like they should have a magic answer or be professionally qualified to help. These people have to put the work in to help themselves. At this point, I am a bit nervous about her, I am her latest rage target for no good reason and she is so out of touch with reality that I wouldnt put anything past her. So apparently there is a wide range of severity, or she is the result of one not cooperating in her treatment. Its sad, but I am done with her because she has disrupted my life for the last time and I am looking out for me. I’ve had my own issues and have worked hard to get past them.

      • There are a quite a few differences, as you only need 5/9 criteria for a diagnosis of BPD there are over 200 ways to meet that so each person can be very different. There is also the, what they call, ‘quiet’ and ‘acting out’ variation. People like myself who are quiet BPD’s internalise all the anger and frustrations and take it out on ourselves with self-harm etc while those who act-out are more likely to direct their anger at other people, who may not even be the person who made them angry! :(
        I fully agree the BPD must put the work in themselves to get better and if they are doing that they need help and support of people that care about them, but if they are not willing to try then they cannot expect others to do it for them!

  2. Ittakes a certain kind of courage to talk about yourself this way, Very honest, very insightful. I think many of the behaviors you are discussing play into some of what I write about.

    In fact, I would say a LOT of what you are talking about plays in…

    And on the negative side of the disorder ( frankly, I have never hear BPD diagnosed person be accountable for this stuff before) I think many of the false rape accusers out there are BPD but refuse to be accountable to themselves really.

    There is some great discussion going on over at http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/08/have_you_ever_met.php#c4742757
    and many of the women there act like there shit don’t staink–and refuse to address how mental illness plays into the dynamic of rape, sexism, sexual objectification and so forth.

    Your opinions could be a welcome addition;-)

    I am saving your page–again!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I agree that mental health conditions may have a part to play in certain problems in society but TBH I’m not sure I agree that BPD women would be false rape accusers, most BPD women would be unable to lie well enough to be believed, more likely it is women who have no mental health concerns – they are just misandrists.

      The majority of people (male and female) with BPD have experienced some level of ‘real’ abuse, that they have not been able to ‘report’ to the authorities due to believing that they ‘deserved’ what happened to them. Personally I was sexually abused by my cousin when I was 9 years old and had blocked it out, never told anyone, and only found out it was real when his sister got back in touch with me last year and said he had been locked up years later for doing the same to her and a younger child.

  3. Sorry to hear that. I can empathize in many ways, but I tend to keep the personal off the blog pages if you know what I mean.

    I will look into these disorders more closely. I have known women who fit some of that BPD but never knew which of them were which really. I have read alot about psychology, but am fairly clueless still. I agree with you about the detrimental effects of “labels” on the diagnosed people ( we all have one), and I am particularly bothered by the modern use of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs. It seems like they are used more as weapons than cures.

    Also, the shrinks often fit a category or two–like pathological narcissists for example.Many of our current leaders eem to fit the sociopath narcissist category as well–cops, judges, shrinks, et al., and they sort of victimize people like you described above.

    Instead of listening to a ‘patient’ ala Carl Rogers, or Mazlow, they stand to ‘judge’ patients, and lord over them.

    What kind of girls do you think make false rape claims, if you had to guess(educated guess?)? I am not a girl so I don’t know about that, but the blogs I have been following gloss over that.

    • I know what you mean, being a very personal blog it’s hard to do that for me!
      The problem with BPD is that unless you look at it in more detail, the length of time a person has been experiencing the difficulties, the effects i has had on their lives etc; It is a condition with traits that could be applied to the majority of people at snapshots in time but much less if you look at their life as a whole. Labels are a double-edged sword, needed to access help but once labeled it sticks and can damage other areas of your life :/
      My best guess about the types of girls who make false rape claims is they are probably very psychologically sound (in medical terms at least) methodical, sly, cunning, planning with an intent to cause as much damage as possible to an individual they perceive has ‘wronged’ them – some poor guy who spurned her advances, or dumped her most likely (he probably did nothing wrong other than ‘not’ wanting her) but she feels he should be punished. These women are the true manipulators and liars, they set out and ‘intend’ to cause harm, whereas BPD women might ‘rage’ about ‘I’ll destroy you’ when upset by a partner but are unlikely to actually do anything but hurt themselves (self-harm) but the ‘intention’ to actually harm another person is missing, rather they would do ‘anything’ to avoid harming others, even if it means sacrificing themselves. I think it is something I would like to examine further, because these women that make false claims make things difficult for women who have experienced ‘real’ rape to get the help and be believed and society needs to understand the motivations for their behaviour if we are to find ways to overcome it and prevent it causing more damage for innocent men (and genuine rape victims)

  4. I was diagnosed with both Bipolar and Borderline personality disorder within the last 3 months, and am still struggling to know exactly what it is that I’m dealing with. Thanks for this article, I really was able to relate with all of your points.

  5. “because these women that make false claims make things difficult for women who have experienced ‘real’ rape to get the help and be believed and society needs to understand the motivations for their behaviour if we are to find ways to overcome it and prevent it causing more damage for innocent men (and genuine rape victims)”

    You are sure refreshing. I couln’t have said it better myself!

    I sometimes think that a diagnoses is the first step to being human. Ever notice how all the “not crazy” people are wreaking havoc in the world and other peoples lives?

    • Yeah the ‘unlabeled’ people always seem ‘worse’ to me! A label or diagnosis is the first step to understanding and improving ones own behaviour, but you can only change yourself – not anyone else, and often they are the ones who need to change more! :/

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  20. Hi, I’m a retired mental health nurse and had some training in DBT. A lot of my colleagues had the attitudes towards people with BPD that you mention.
    I found many patients who found DBT helpful – but as you have mentioned, it’s not easy to get that therapy. A lot of our work at the unit I worked at was DBT informed.
    I’m posting some of what I learned on my blog. Patients commented that the skills should be taught in schools and be more generally available. They are skills we all need.
    I see it that BPD traits as on a continuum, and we can all show some of them, especially in times of great distress.
    I would also agree, that almost all my BPD patients had a history of childhood abuse, making it understandably difficult to trust people.
    All the very best to you – and keep up the good work with this blog.

    • Thanks Sandra, I will be sure to check out your posts on DBT! I agree that the skills are useful for much more than BPD maybe one day it will be more readily available!

      • That’s one of the aims of my blog: to share with others the skills I learned in DBT.
        Some people need the Full Monty DBT – and I am NOT a therapist.
        Many more would benefit from the skills.

  21. A very good post. I deal with BPD from a professional’s point of view and am glad to have discovered your blog. Your posts sound like very truthful, well reflected and insightful accounts of how it feels from the inside. A real learning opportunity for me. Thanks.

  22. This whole page seems like denial, blame placing, sympathy manipulation, and improvement projection. BPD’s; even the semi-honest ones, ruin lives with reckless abandon. Usually due to lack of stern behavior modification on their own parts. This page is nothing but a BPD enabler on a massive level, one more way for BPD’s to deny that it’s them. Please, keep the delusions of what’s capable to a minimum. If you really think a bad BPD can’t falsely accuse of rape, you should stop giving advice.

    • I think you have not read this properly, everyone has the capacity for bad things the problem comes when people assume that because someone has BPD they are automatically bad, evil, nasty manipulating liars etc that they do not allow for the potential for a decent person to come through such a diagnosis. People with NO diagnosis can be much worse!

      • Way to prove me right with your reply, thank you. Once again a BPD makes it about the other person and not themselves, big surprise there. I know you mean well (benefit of the doubt to a BPD), but you obviously still struggling with your own battle too much to be objective currently. And yes, a BPD diagnosis DOES tell that they are manipulative liars, even if unintentional.

      • I’m sorry you clearly have a problem with people with BPD to be so rude and insensitive! No a BPD diagnosis DOES NOT tell that BP’s are manipulative liars, have you read any of Marsha Linehan’s work? unintentional is the ONLY way in which a BPD is a manipulative liar, unless (as any ‘normal’ person can) they ‘choose’ to manipulatively lie – but as I say that is a trait ANY person can choose, not a specific trait of BP’s. I am the first to hold my hands up and say things such as being in a relationship with a BP or trying to maintain contact with one after a relationship ends is a bad idea, I am honest and open about the aspects of BPD which I know personally affect my relationships with others, no holds barred…

    • This comment is far and away one of the most astute observations in the entire pantheon of BPD discourse. The internet is full of blogs like this one, which line by line simply unself-reflexively reduplicate the maladaptive/unethical gestures of BPD (denial, blame placing, avoidance of accountability, etc.) on a broader scale.

      And it’s this very refusal to admit to what they are and do that has given pwBPD the quite valid reputation as difficult to treat.

  23. Hi, I posted a second ago but am not sure if it worked! so if you receive two posts I apologise!

    I just wanted to say thank you for this incredible information! I would like to use it on my new website if I may, obviously observing and using your copyright. I am one of the very lucky ones to have ‘grown out of’ this terrible disorder but can remember the hell of it like it was yesterday.

    The information here would have helped me so much 10, 15, 20 years ago because I was forgotten and yes trashed by all mental health professionals. If someone like you had been around maybe things would have been different. Thanks again!

    • Hi Ellie, thank you only one comment has come through so not sure what happened to the other one. Yes please feel free to share my posts on your site, if you could include a link back to here that would be great (would that be runningscarred.com?). I am shortly going to be writing a new post about my own current, apparent recovery or remission (whatever people want to call it) whether this is a lasting thing or temporary only time will tell, but at the moment I am well, better than I have been in years. I am glad i was able to share my experiences as I was living them because even reading back over them now I feel so separated from that person that had I not written about it at the time I would not be able to articulate it now! I hope my writings continue to help others as much as i helped me to let it out! Sharon x

      • Hi Sharon, thanks so much :) yes it will be runningscarred.com, it is a new website for my book coming out soon. I am hoping to yes have the website to offer my book but to also and mainly have the website to offer information, support and hope to people who may need it. I am so glad you are feeling so great and I really look forward to reading your next post! I have clicked on follow so I can keep up to date :) Its funny you say “I feel so separated from that person” because thats exactly how I feel…..as if it was another person, another world…..incredible how we heal and recover isnt it. Keep in touch ! x

      • Cool, I have bookmarked your site and will check back to see it in full swing!

        Indeed recovery and healing are great! I just hope it lasts! :D x

      • Great! It’s about done I’m just needing to tweak a few areas and keep blogging waiting for the launch with baited breath I can’t wait to see it in print! It’s my baby lol ;) x

      • Looking forward to the finished product! :) It has been suggested that I should write a book, and I was working on doing that but I haven’t kept it up lately :/ Hopefully I will get back to it and when it’s written I’ll have to look into getting it published :) x

  24. I just can’t believe this, I’m sorry. I have to agree with Robert Masters. I am diagnosed with BPD and was left by the one I love because of what I am. It’s true, we are nothing but cold, deceitful people. Reading what people have written about those with BPD- how they are so relieved and *so proud* of themselves to leave someone diagnose with it… Then to continue how evil their BPD exes really opened my eyes. I am incapable of truly caring for someone. It make sense… Why this nurse say I was intoxicating the relationship, why no one thought he could do wrong. It’s because I am the one diagnose with BPD not him. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like this so During and after my relationship I took DBT classes, read books on DBT and BPD, took medication, went to consistent therapy and excercised everything i learned but my partner still concluded that the relationship was unhealthy and left. It just shows how selfish I can be. Ever since, it’sbeen going through my head seeing maybe if he for once did the wrong thing. Then I read someone entry about those with BPD and how they repeat an event over and over to themsleves to find any justification for their own action- HA! Just like what i was doing lol. Then they continue on about how evil we are and how they are so happy without people like us. I mean after reading what other people wrote about those like me, it all makes sense. We dellusion ourselves thinking we’re good people when we are not. I have to face the reality that despite after my best efforts for recovery I will only be an inconsiderate person who has no capability of genuiley caring for others who don’t concern me. To think I’m going to school for Pre-med and that I signed up to volunteer at a rape crisis center a month ago. I bet these are some complicated signs that really means I have the subconcious intention of being destructive, manipulative, self centered, etc. etc. rather than just wanting to help others. Boy oh boy, was I delusional. :/

    • Alyssa I disagree, you are being too hard on yourself, you are unwell, BPD affects us so much!
      It makes us do things that are not good or nice but we are not bad people, other people who do not have BPD do bad things too. As with anything some people may be affected more than others and can be very ‘evil’ ex’s – but again non-BP’s can be just as bad too!
      I also believe that if you really were selfish and uncaring you would never have volunteered for a rape crisis centre and wouldn’t be going pre-med as the thought of having to ‘care’ for others would sicken you if you were an uncaring, selfish person!
      I’m so saddened to hear you feel so badly about yourself, I know that as BP’s we all tend to look down on ourselves a lot of the time anyway and I too at times have thought that I must be a truly evil person but it is the BPD that makes us think like that – we are not as horrible as we believe!
      I hope that you are continuing with your DBT and getting help because yo deserve a chance to overcome this, we all do. I hope that in time you will feel better about yourself, and fair enough acknowledge the things you have done wrong, but also accept you are not evil, others do wrong too and you deserve to live, love and be loved xx

  25. Sharon

    First of all I would like to commend you on your hard work and EXCELLENT writing skills. Seriously, you have such a great blog here, and you seem to put a lot of care, and attention to detail, into your writing and communicating.

    I fell onto this blog by accident. I am a non BPD who has had experience with a BPD friend many many years ago. I must say that was a horrible experience, especially as I had no idea that my friend was BPD (or what BPD was at all!).

    Now for a question, one I fear, that you will not really want to answer. I currently have a friend who has BPD. I can not stay a friend to this person any longer, it is so much of a drain on me, and to be honest, it has become quite toxic from my friends side. Do you have any suggestions, or links, for ways to g e n t l y separate myself from this person. I know this is a form of abandonment, and yes I know that this is not what this person needs – again. But I have thought long and hard about this, and I am going to do it.

    I want to try and be as decent about it as I can, without triggering yet another ‘cycle’ from them. ( I mean, when they don’t contact me for ages, then they come back with overpowering messages of friendship and love via txt/email/phone calls, then they hate me, and then etc etc and so on for ever and ever…).

    I have read information online about how to do this, but to be honest, a lot of the information out there is quite mean i.e toss them aside, forget them, don’t deal with their BS anymore etc.

    Do you have any advice you could give me? I wouldn’t be asking you this if I simply ‘didn’t care’ so please don’t take this question the wrong way! BTW this person has made other peoples lives miserable when others have cut ties before, so I know they are capable of being quite vicious and nasty.

    Kind regards

    Sally

    • Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your lovely comments and I appreciate you asking me such a sensitive question. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you to come to the decision that you must walk away from this friendship for your own sake, but all of us have times in our life when we must consider what is best for ourselves even if we know it may not be helpful to others and I will try to answer your question as best I can – however I do need to think about what might help and if I have any links/sources of help/guidance that may be useful to you as well, so I will have to return with my reply as soon as I have been able to work out what it will be! ;)

      In the meantime I can say that as much as you want to avoid triggering a BPD crisis it may not be something you can control or prevent whatever advice I provide, such is the unpredictable nature of BPD, and after all whatever I suggest would only be based on my own thoughts, feelings and experiences and has no guarantees of being any use, you may even consider my suggestions irrelevant! although of course I do hope they will help you!

      I agree that being mean as many sites suggest may not only be too harsh for them but could also leave you feeling very bad yourself – although I recognise that the people saying these things must be hurting deeply, and feeling very bitter themselves from the damage BPD has caused, unlike them though (in most cases, there are always exceptions to everything, another thing I recognise) I do not blame the person as they did not chose to have BPD and often have little control over it especially at times of crisis (but again I recognise that there are those who chose to indulge in the fact that they have an ‘excuse’ to treat others badly, it is these people who give the rest of us a bad reputation – and like many other things in this world that minority tend to have such powerful influence that we all get tarred with the same brush :( hence the amount of horrible stuff about how evil people with BPD are!)

      It is clear you care enough to want to do this as painlessly as possible for them whilst protecting yourself as much as you can at the same time, even ahead of a more detailed response I can clearly see that given what you say about this persons history of vicious, nasty behaviour the chances of that happening no matter how well you manage to break off the friendship are likely to be high, this is likely to be as you mentioned a response to ‘abandonment’, along with the intense emotional dysregulation BPD causes and another factor will be ‘splitting’ (I have written a separate post about splitting you can find here – http://showard76.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/splitting-unstable-relationships-in-borderline-personality-disorder/ and also discuss this in several other posts). In addition the chances of them having that same cycle you mention of no contact then love/hate (splitting again) is also high, and immediately I can suggest the only way of dealing with this regardless how desperate/nasty/nice this pattern occurs is that once you have ended this friendship you have to be strong and refuse to engage if/when this cycle begins – in other words, once the friendship is ended you must maintain a ‘no contact’ pact with yourself because if you allow this person back in by responding to the contact you will only be helping to promote and support the cycle which will not help you or them (I know that is probably sounding closer to the harshness of some other sites, but by this point you will have already have done all you can to end the friendship with as little damage as you can and clearly going back into the toxicity would not be good so at this point mean is the only option, even if you feel horrible doing it you must think back to the reason’s you had to end the friendship in the first place and why you don’t want to be stuck in a vicious circle with this person).

      I hope that what I have said here has not been too much of a disappointment in I suspect confirming your worst fears, but I do hope I will be able to come back with some more helpful and reassuring suggestions to allow you to break free from this toxic friendship, and if possible reduce the risk of the ‘bad’ reactions occurring :)

      Sharon x

  26. Great comments thanks Sharon. Yes I had resigned myself to a ‘no contact’ status with this person, so that is the way I will go.

    It may be difficult not to say hi when passing them in the street though – I put that down to common courtesy, but would that breach your no contact rule?

    I also read with interest one of your comments, and I, (like a lot of non BPD people), am a bit perplexed:

    “I do not blame the person as they did not choose to have BPD and often have little control over it especially at times of crisis…”

    Ok, well I don’t understand this illness like you do, but this person I know is VERY intelligent, witty and comes across as a ‘normal’ outgoing person. But surely they KNOW when they are being ‘cyclic’ or nasty/vindictive etc? Or are you saying those times are like a fog to them? I mean, in the past if I were to say ‘just stop that behaviour’, they may get angry but they WOULD change the way they behaved.

    Hmmmmm, very complex methinks! Do you have any comments about that?

    Sally

    • I guess the common courtesy thing is only polite, but if this person is as volatile as you say they may not respond well to it anyway (they may react as though they don’t know you or use it to try and open conversation) so it might not be worth the risk, I guess that will be down to you to see how you feel if you are passing them…

      As for the ‘control’ issue, indeed most BPD’s are highly intelligent, witty and outgoing people, however as BPD is an emotional condition you could almost consider them like a toddler in relation to control of their emotional reactions to events if that helps distinguish how such a clever person can be so ‘out of touch’ with reality in emotional situations. A rational part of their brain will know that they are ‘wrong’ but the childlike emotional centre overrides this hence the outbursts and inappropriateness. Learning to first recognise, then understand and eventually how to take control of these reactions is a skill BPD’s lack and have to learn, something I have spent a long time working on over the past year (I am finally able to stop and think before I react, something I could not do before). So, like a child if they are told to ‘stop’ they can and do (or like a child won’t because they don’t want to), but without help and support (and a desire to ‘recover’) BPD’s will continue to make these same mistakes and react inappropriately as we don’t really ‘learn’ from our past mistakes due to the childishness. It all seems so crazy that such intelligent and fascinating people are at the same time clueless children, but I find that is the closest comparison one can use to explain the disparity between the intellectual and emotional intelligence. And of course as I said before the are always exceptions, some BPD’s are aware of this about themselves but chose to indulge it rather than improve it – I guess again this is a childish thing, trying to ‘get their own way’ with tantrums and sulking etc, and some people enable this by the way they react to the person with BPD and reinforce their behaviour so they do not feel the need or desire to change because it ‘works’ and they can ‘get away’ with it (can you see all the child like elements in this?) – Does this help?

      I’m still working on the question, I will share it as a blog post once I’ve done it as I think others may be interested too :)

  27. hello maam i just read this blog..where i can send the email add to you which i just to email with you not here in the tread.thnks

  28. Thanks for this article. Im waiting to start a group therapy.
    The one thing I hate is being labeled a nutter or dangerous.
    I avoid physical fights. Im easily hurt. If im offended I will stress about it for weeks.
    We cant help how we think, but ‘normal’ people can. Maybe they should understand this illness.
    Im trying to get better for my childbut also for myself.

  29. I love what you share. It has helped me so much tonight. There is terrible stigma associated with BPD and your posts being someone who has recovered gives me hope for my boyfriend. Thank you!!

  30. Thanks for creating this; I suffer with BPD and it is hard. I feel a lot better seeing how I am not alone nor am I crazy. My Psychologist makes assumptions and accusations about me and my behaviour. It does hurt as I can sense what she feels about my situation. She thinks its so simple to solve all my problems, but I have had it for a very long time, even had some symptoms as a toddler mixed with ADHD. I was just labelled as the wild child and then the horrible teenager. Now, I am trying to get past it and heal, but its hard when my Psychologist doesn’t take me seriously. I felt hopeless until I read this. Thanks.

  31. hi :)
    this is a great post. I have been diagnosed with BPD 22 years ago. When I asked questions about it, nobody could tell me anything – I got answers from, it’s not bad, to it just means you don’t have a good sense of yourself to take these knock-out pills and all will be well. I don’t have to tell you that after the first pill, when I basically lost consciousness and couldn’t even wake up all the next day, I refused to continue with them…
    When I got released from the mental hospital, with the “assurance” that nothing was going to be done, I lived my life… I have made so many terrible mistakes, I never learned to change anything, I never learned to be “normal”. I am 43 now and I am so fed up… I still “punish” myself, especially during those extreme moments (or sometimes days) of deep depression, the guilt, the shame, the anger… they are always with me, just under the calm surface, waiting to explode out. Oh, I would never hurt anyone, if I can avoid it, but I sure will go to great length to hurt myself. I stay in bad relationships until I can no longer take it and then I will take some more… when I finally leave, I end up leaving everything, I won’t take but the clothes on my back and walk off… then I will find a new relationship, I will believe it is the best and I think I’m happy. Even if that relationship is good, I will begin to find reasons why it isn’t… the smallest thing that stresses me will become a personal attack upon my person and I can’t turn that way of thinking off, even though rationally I know that whatever it is, it is “nothing” to a normal person. I am trying to help myself, so I came upon your site… what you write makes sense and I want to make the effort, I want to break free. I have lost everything that ever meant anything to me… and I don’t want to have to go that way again…

    • Everything you say sounds so familiar! I hope you manage to break free of the cycle, it is a long, hard journey but it can be done I am so much better than I was, enough that I consider myself recovered although I know I do need to build up my emotional resilience some more to help ensure I don’t/can’t fall back into my old BPD ways but again I am getting better with that too. Good luck and best wishes x

      • I hope so, too… course, I don’t have to tell you all that is going on with that thought alone – one moment it is so do-able, the next it is so why-bother. How do you get up the nerve to, you know, talk to a psychiatrist? I only “fought” with the one in the hospital, and I did see a psychologist for a while after, but the whole thing seemed so pointless at the time. Now, when I think about perhaps going to find professional help, I am afraid that I won’t be taken seriously… does that make any sense? Probably not (lol) – I rarely do.

      • I know, yeah it all makes sense to me! When I first started my assessment sessions (pre-diagnosis) I was all like ‘pah, waste of my time and their’s’ it all seemed pointless after repeatedly being told previously that I was just depressed or attention seeking when I knew neither was true. But at some point I decided (almost as if to say – “yeah come on then Ms Know-it all label this ‘shit'”) to pour out every little detail of what I had done, do and think of even if I’d never said it to anyone before, I think I was challenging them to try and fix what I believed was unable to be fixed… and after 6 months of that I was handed the BPD label…

  32. right… the label. I don’t know what it is with so-called mental health professionals, they haven’t done anything for me in the past. I first had to see one, cause I did the “bad thing” when I was 18. He noticed all the fresh scars on my arms, I’m sure and the attempt to rid the world of me, if not my complete detachment should have been his first clue, but all he did was tell me how terrible I was. Not a good thing to do when I already had the feeling that I was evil. A few years later, I ended up in a mental hospital and a couple of years of treatment, but none of them bothered to prepare me… they never told me symptoms, just said there wasn’t anything to be done about it. I’m not keen on going back, but I’m also not sure I can get a handle on this on my own… they say the symptoms lessen with age, well, I am 43 now and sure, I don’t do some things (simply because they draw too much attention and I found other ways to harm myself), but the “inward” symptoms are still there, as they always were. I don’t remember a time in my life, and I recall events from the time I’m 2 or 3 years old, that I didn’t have this problem.

    • :( I know how you feel, hope things do improve for you. I found that in the end I had to ‘make’ things get better for myself, working hard on understanding my BPD and how it affected me, then trying to find ways to deal with and overcome things step by step, one thing at a time. Long, hard work and very difficult but I’m getting better all the time so it’s worth the effort :)

  33. Thank you for this. I find the worst offenders towards ppl with PD are mental professionals themselves. It’s horrible. I have been accused of things I have never done over and over and it hurts badly. The stigma is at least as bad as the illness itself. We are so thin-skinned, yet are subjected to these preconceived notions- all bad- that are usually false. The professionals themselves manipulate what we say or do to fit their views or egos.

  34. In response to the original story, it appears that you have contradicted your statement of ‘Myths’ by writting in a self-serving, negative, paranoid, sympathy demanding way blaming ‘Non’s’ and therapists for making the situation worse. Your story has not done you any justice at all. If people want some advice from an accepting BPD, stop blaming everyone else for aggrivating the problem, take responsibility for your own actions and recovery and grow up. It’s not about being ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ (another symptom of the dissorder, seeing everything as ‘black’ or ‘white’), it’s about acknowledging and discontinuing behaviours that hurt yourself AND others. What helped me is an acceptance that I am the master of my destiny, my past is not. I achieved this through schema therapy, from a very smart Therapist who didnt pander to my attention seeking and taught me to take control of my life. Maybe I did see her matter of fact approach a little cold and scientific at first, but lets face it the condition is explained by science. Maybe I am lucky that I can identify empathy and compassion in others and dont think the whole world is against me!

    • And yet you seem to have little compassion from someone who (as stated in many places on here) at the time of writing the article was in the midst of a BPD crisis herself. I do accept responsibility for ‘my’ own actions, even when my actions a skewed as a result of the BPD which is not my fault (I am not to blame for having a medical condition, any more than if it was cancer…). However, I stand by most of what I wrote here, I am not ‘blaming’ others but fairly stating that they too have a part to play in things, if other people demonstrated better understanding and compassion of someone suffering a mental health crisis things would be better for all… think of it this way, would you hear people saying this – “I’m sick of that Cancer excuse X is using not to work” or “Cancer is just an excuse for his bad behaviour” or “man-up you should be over that cancer thing by now” but people say things like that all the time when someone has a mental health problem… I think maybe you too are not quite as recovered as you may believe to be so judgemental and blaming of me!?

      • I don’t see how trolling my blog to claim from your one experience of an individual with BPD means you know any more about the truth from the myths yourself, sorry, these things are NOT the symptoms of BPD these behaviours are NOT the 9 criteria for diagnosis.

  35. I have been involved with someone who has BPD for about 5 years, now. I have read over a dozen books on the topic to help me understand the condition and to interact in positive ways with the person. Based on my experiences, these “myths” described in this article are not myths; there are elements of truth in every one of them. I began by really trying to help the entire family mediate their way through one ordeal after another, brought on by the many destructive behaviours of the person with BPD. I befriended and hugged and mediated and gave the person with BPD the benefit of the doubt. The person I know with BPD is not able to see events even close to how the majority of people would interpret them. This person has used legal processes to lie and severely harm other people; they have admitted to lying once the damage was done and “behind the scenes”, so to speak. This person uses projection, constantly — for example, bringing a person to court for a crime that was actually committed by the person with BPD; lies in court and has been successful at having another member of the family falsely accused of crimes and serving punishment for them (until several years later it was sorted out in the court system). This has been intensely hurtful and destructive to the family. Many other members of the family have been under intense duress and stress due to the relentless emotionally abusive behaviours of the person with BPD. If I was at that point in my life, in the past, where I became involved; I would not make the same choice, again. The person with BPD has literally pushed the edges of people’s sanity by befriending, pleading for trust, then actively harming family members while claiming innocence and victimhood before other members of the family and the law. What makes this person so dangerous, is the fact they can come across as kind and compassionate and sweet, and many of the lies are blended with elements of truth. This person with BPD has acknowledged a need to control the situation and everyone in the family, according to his/her own set agenda; this person has no compassion or apology for this but insists the family function in this way under threat of harm (not physical abuse but almost intangible abuse, such as serious false allegations in court that impact a person’s life). What I find most heart-wrenching is that the person with BPD, who loves his/her own children so much, is willing to sacrifice the well-being of the children to his/her own need to control; to falsely accuse others; and to maintain relentless power that best serves him/her self. I am a survivor of one of the most horrible violent crimes for which I received many years of therapy; and I remain unconvinced about which has been more of a life-altering ordeal to attempt to recover from — that crime or being continually assaulted by the person with BPD, who relentlessly assaults in a “mean girl”, sneaky way while portraying an image of a decent, kind, and caring person. If you read the research, thoroughly, and keep up to date on it, it is no longer a given that people with BPD are recovering from past traumas; neglect in the childhood may play a role. I wish I could convey how my life has been changed these past few years — constant exposure to the crazy-making behaviours of this BPD person have had a life-altering negative impact on so many people, including myself. The fact that the author of this article appears to want help to deal with the condition of BPD is wonderful! And very different from the reality of my situation. I really believe behavioural-cognitive therapy will help a person with BPD. Rather than focusing on excusing some of the difficult and negative aspects of BPD traits, I think a solution to living with the condition is more likely to be found in really trying to learn to alter BPD perceptions to be more in line with reality — doing the work of pausing to reflect on thoughts, feelings, and behaviours; altering behaviours; letting go (even when uncomfortable) of the need to exert control over others; questioning if you can thrive (and how) without trying to control the situation or other people; examining how your behaviours might come across to others as manipulative — in essence relearning some basic and important human realities.

    • I agree that for some BP’s and even some non-BP’s there are elements of truth in the myths, and myths have an origin in some kind of truth whatever they are about. It is that these things are portrayed as absolute truths that is the problem with them. I am very saddened to hear about your experiences with what is very clearly a very unwell and manipulative BPD, but I can assure you that not all BPD’s are that severely damaging, controlling and abusive, it makes me so upset when I hear about people like that. Myself a combination of past traumas and emotional neglect in childhood are key factors in having developed BPD and through working hard myself and with my therapist I have ‘recovered’. I wrote this article while I was actually still in a period of crisis myself, so potentially some my views were distorted by being unwell at the time, but I wrote for two reasons, one to understand my own condition better myself and two to try and help others understand, but I also think that coming direct from a BPD sufferer while still suffering hopefully this gives a good insight into how things are on the inside? I hope you are doing well now and away from that awful situation!

      • Myth – “a widely held but false belief or idea.” these ‘myths’ come about from a minority of people with BPD who behave appallingly and do not wish to get help (maybe they enjoy this behaviour?)

  36. It’s amazing that people seem to think that BPD means sub human. Like they don’t deserve the same love and respect as everyone else. Those these people would also probably lock up people with epilepsy like the Victorians did. Such ignorant and archaic attitudes. They might want to take a test to check they’re not a sociopath.

  37. I’m the younger sister of a person BPD. We had the same childhood, she was never abuses. Yet she abused me throughout childhood and into young adulthood(physically and mentally). She was diagnosed at 19, she went to a therapist once and refused to return. She still stalks me, she makes my mother life miserable. She seals from my mother and systematically terrorizes everyone she lives in my mothers house with. Dont cry to me about how hard it is with people with BPD. They take their misery and spread it to everyone around them, please dont ty to make me feel sympathy for people who delight in taking their self’s out on others

    • Sorry to hear about your sister. I’m not trying to make you feel sympathy for anyone, I’m just showing that there are two sides to every story, just because your sister is one of those people who delights in making others suffer don’t tar all people with BPD with the same brush. Your sister is in the minority when it comes to BPD the majority only harm themselves.

      • There is still a lot to learn yet about BPD, and many assumptions/theories that have yet to be proven. It is believed there may be a genetic coponent to BPD, that is NOT always the result of childhood abuse, neglect or abandoment. There is even some evidence of malformations in the brain being related, but again this is very preliminary hypothesis, theories.

        As well, people are often misdiagnosed with BPD when they really suffer from some sort of other ailment.

        And finally, just about all behaviours the balance of nature vs nuture varies drastically by the individual. Barring some uknown hidden abusive evidents in your sister’s life (it’s NOT unheard of families being unaware of someone in or friend of the family, someone in the community abuses a child and the child never tells the rest of the family), she may be an example of the rare example of negative Nature overiding the positive Nuture.

        *NOT all BPD suffers are the same, they vary drastically in severity of their symptoms and their actions.
        *BPD suffers often do horrible things to loved ones and make them suffer, but NOT all.
        *BPD suffers are driven by inner turmoil to do these things and NOT realize how horrible their actions really are. Best description I have heard, its likes a normal person doing something they are ashamed of in dire fear and utter panic, and then can’t bear their own shame of the succombing to that fear and panic and blot it out of their minds.
        *There are reason BPD sufferer’s do this and it does deserve sympathy and understanging. Sympathy and Understading does NOT mean white washing away their actions and the harm they do to others.

        *The exception doesn’t make the rule. Just because all don’t do something, doesn’t mean you’re tarring all people with BPD with the same brush, when many actually do do it.

        *I have NOT seen any actual statistics of BPD that harm other’s vs harm themselves. BUT, this is the only place I have seen anyone ever claim BPD’s harming others is teh minority, the majority only harm themselves.

        Like many replying to this article, my experience with BPD, the sufferer harmed all her loved ones around her. She exhibited everyone of the behaviours, on a consistent basis and many to extremes, that Showard76 insists are just Myths.

  38. I have only recently been diagnosed with BPD, after fighting them for years. After years of being told I had anxiety and depression and being given CBT which was doing me no good and SSRI’s which were making me feel worse, I started to refuse the CBT and refused to take the meds that weren’t helping. As soon as that happened all of the above happened to me because I was seen as non compliant. When I first read about BPD and found my ‘answer’ I was so relieved because I felt I knew why I am the way I am so now I can start tomove forward, I understood what was happening and I would be taken seriously.. So I demanded to be seen by a psychiatrist again, who agreed that is what I have. I now realise that this in actual fact has made things much worse. I even truggle to get support hen I am in crisis.

    A few days ago I became extremely suicial. as I couldn’t see a way out of all of the pain and suffering.. I began to take an overdose but managed to stop myself and ring the local crisis team. They were no help at all. So I rang my mum in a state and asked her to take me to the nearest A&E with a MH ward. I truly believe that is where I needed to be at the time. The problem was, the personality disorder labell was already attached to my file. They came into the room with absolutely no intention of admitting me. They asked why I felt suicidal and blah blah. I explained and said that I feel as though I am a real danger to myself and I do not feel safe. They answered with “well it isn’t really our job to make you feel safe” (HUH?????). They referred me back to out local crisis team who said they couldn’t get me in till monday, we would be talking nearly a week after I first started to take an overdose. However they were adimant. My mum rung and went MAD at them. (tbh I am lucky someone was at home that day because I’d have just taken the overdose and been done with it at that point) and they managed to somehow fit me in.. They prescribed me diazapam and said they would see me for 6 weeks. Then after that I will be left with nothing once again. So will inevitably end up in the same position!

    • I can understand your difficulties, while a diagnosis of BPD helps us to understand what is wrong and why we behave as we do it does in many cases (like you and me) actually mean we cannot access the help we need because we are treated as being untreatable, it’s very unfair! BPD is what I call a ‘trashcan’ label – in other words we get thrown on the trash pile and refused access to support because much of the stigma and discrimination attached to this label comes from professionals themselves. Instead of recognising that our refusal to comply with treatment that is not helping as what it really is – an understanding that this does not help, it is seen as us being difficult and refusing help – No, we are just asking for help that will actually be of use and beneficial! I eventually found a private psychotherapist who has been great and helped me on the road to recovery, but I am very aware that such a thing is not possible for everyone – heck, even I cannot actually afford it! Whenever anyone contacts me through me blog thinking they have BPD I try to discourage them against a formal diagnosis being so aware as I am that it may actually make things worse for them.
      I do hope you manage to find some help that is actually good for you, so sorry you are having to go through this :(

  39. Sorry you feel that way, but most people reading this have found it very helpful. My points are not excuses, they are facts, at no point do I say that these behaviours do not happen at all, but that they are true and happen for everyone diagnosed with BPD is the myth. I am also not claiming that the opposite is true. Just because your experience of BPD with your wife is one that exhibits all of the mythical behaviours does not mean that everyone with BPD behaves this way, in fact those that do are the minority but they are the newsworthy ones that cause hell so then everyone else gets unfairly tarred with the same brush…

  40. Nice article :) thank you for posting this. I do think it’s important to acknowledge that there are truly evil borderlines out there, but there are also truly evil non borderlines. Some borderlines are kind and caring and then there’s the ones who like myself, who can sometimes be both (only half kidding). I hope you don’t mind me adding this because I think your list was very thorough, but there’s one more myth that I think is so harmful. The internet is flooded with articles written mostly by men, (an example: TRIGGER WARNING http://www.returnofkings.com/9482/dont-date-girls-with-borderline-personality-disorder ) of cautionary tales to other men warning them to stay away from borderline women as we’re all psychotic, cheating bitches, hellbent on destroying the lives of innocent men, usually blamed on our inappropriate and promiscuous sexuality that prevents us from being faithful, and our inability to feel empathy or love. The irony of course, being the lack of empathy and abundance of hatred these uneducated misogynists demonstrate in such articles, towards women they themselves have identified as mentally ill… For me personally, this “Evil Girlfriend” is the most hurtful, stigmatising myth. And it’s not helped by the fact that the DSM V lists “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships” as one of the diagnostic criteria. I think in a lot of cases this can be explained by our pervasive pattern of seeking out unstable partners or relationships. Having been abused by my father as I was growing up, while being repeatedly told it was out of love, as an adult, romantic love doesn’t feel authentic to me unless there’s an abusive or invalidating element. The pervasive instability in the relationships isn’t always because we’re volatile and overly sensitive, it’s because we crave people who will validate our self loathing as that’s what feels “right”. Show me a nice, stable person who’s happy to do that for someone they supposedly love. A lot of the time, our relationships with abusive people is simply an example of self harming behaviour. I’ve never cheated on anyone, and I only sleep with people I’m in a relationship with. Yet I’ve been physically and emotionally abused, lied to and cheated on by men who I would have died, killed, done anything for, I loved them so much. I would rather be miserable than start a fight or potentially hurt a boyfriend by *gasp NO* asserting myself when they behaved hurtfully. When I’m in a relationship with someone, I don’t even find anyone else attractive let alone have the urge to cheat and I only sleep with men I’m in a relationship with (there goes unfaithful slut theory) SOOO my point is!! and sorry for rambling! Not only are we capable of real love, we love so deeply we can be blinded by it, allowing others to hurt and take advantage of us, and we’re not just capable of real empathy but we often brutally punish ourselves if we think we’ve hurt someone and OVER empathising is actually a very common feature of BPD. I’m sure there are plenty horrible, emotionally exhausting girlfriends with BPD. Just as I’m sure there are plenty of horrible, emotionally exhausting girlfriends without any mental illness at all, and a horrible, emotionally exhausting girlfriend, a borderline does not necessarily make. Just thought I’d very ineloquently throw that out there because I know I can’t be the only person to hurt by that one.

    • Thanks Sarah, yes indeed this is probably one of the most harmful things. I recently had to end discussions with just such a person commenting on here and not approve his comments any further because he was just outright attacking me in the manner of those hatred articles! I also recently wrote a post about the whole problem of people automatically ‘diagnosing’ BPD when the person they are in a relationship with is horrible, volatile and emotionally exhausting, who do these people think they are making such judgements based on reading hate articles on the internet, is that where you qualify as a Doctor now? lol I do agree with the whole thing of the unstable relationships being down to us seeking out (not always knowingly) people that are going to harm and abuse us in some way. I am ever hopeful that I have now finally found a guy who will not turn out to be just like the others, time will tell I guess, but like you say I am deeply devoted to him such that no-one else is even on my radar and nothing he can do would make me want to upset him, fight with him or anything, so I know I am leaving myself completely open to ending up hurt again, but at least I am not blind to the fact this time (whether that will make any difference if it happens I don’t know…)

  41. DESTRUCTIVE – YES. My officially undiagnosed BPD mother is indeed destructive. My mother is active in our local community. For “reasons” known only to her, she falsely accused my youngest sister of being abusive to her children. My own guess is that my BPD mother “felt abandoned” and betrayed by my sister when my sister said something nice about her husband, so this was my mother’s revenge against my sister for being “disloyal.”

    • I agree there are some destructive BP’s out there, but in the main most only harm themselves. Sorry you had the misfortune of your mom being one of the destructive types. But to label all BP’s destructive is not right or fair, there are many destructive people in this World who have no condition at all, but we don’t go around saying that eveyone is destructive, because it simply isn’t true, as is the case with BP’s.

  42. Pingback: I Should Have Said | Your Goofy Girl

  43. I am really in need of understanding more the mind of the BPD sufferer.. I’m reaching out for help cuz I’m at my lowest of lowest with my girlfriend who suffers from BPD and other unfortunate disorders. We just broke up…… again :(( I have been in a 2 year and 4 month relationship and it is, without exaggerating, so up and down it’s definitely been a yo yo experience. I don’t know what to do anymore. She flips so fast and has absolutely zero tolerance for me being human and making mistakes. In saying that, I always feel like I can relate to the saying “walking on eggshells” when she is around. I love her so much. That I know. If it wasn’t for me fighting for us we definitely wouldn’t be together this long. I have to humble myself consistently and apologize when I wasn’t in the wrong just to keep her in my life. I am not perfect but even at times when I am, when I am treating her with care, she lashes out at me with rage and I can’t find the logic behind her actions. I’m not even able to walk the best at this moment due to her kicking me repeatedly in the back. I know she didn’t mean to, I know she was so mad and out of it but that scares me too. A minor argument happened.. and when I say minor I mean it wasn’t even a worthy argument. I wasn’t even upset. t tried to walk away but that cause more I think cuz she thought that I was rejecting her maybe? But she threatened to kill me and I’ve never seen her this bad before. She told me she would do something worse to me and she jumped up and ran into the kitchen so I was frightened that she was maybe going to hurt herself so I held her on my lap so she couldn’t do that.. I put her on the couch and talked very calm to her telling her she was okay, it was okay, no one is mad, let’s all relax but she started kicking me. She apologized a few days later, I realize that she doesn’t mean these things so when she kept on apologizing I told her to not worry and that I am not mad, and I thanked her but asked her to not keep apologizing cuz I forgave her already. I think that helped. I know she deals with regret and embarrassment. But that day she told me she would kill me and it seems that her BPD is getting worse.. is that possible? Have BPD sufferers ever committed murder? She was recently extremely aggressive and in my opinion, abusive to her dog. FOr instance.. she screamed at her, aggressively grab her by her necks and roughly picked her up and stormed away mad. Even her dog was scared to approach her. Also the verbal abuse from her is so excessive and out of this world that most people would have a hard time believing. Her cruelty is excessive as well. Yet she is, at other times, the most amazingly kind and caring persons I know. I read you said that BPD sufferers are not typically dangerous but I am concerned. Do I have the right to be cautious about having future children with her? Are BPD sufferers known for abusing children physically? I assume that the verbal abuse will continue on with the children as well or is that not true? I understand that the BPD is difficult for her and I’ve decided that at times there may never be logic to her behaviour so I accepted it. I have read up and watch videos and call phycologist, medical doctors, counsellors and sufferers of BPD as well and spent hours being educated. I love this girl with all my heart and would forgive her a million times over but its seems exhaustive to me only for this reason.. as much as she complied with allowing me to pay for therapy for her.. she doesn’t reach out for it. She expects me to adapt to her abuse and just take it. She said she will never change, it’s her personality and if I can’t take it then move on. It’s in those few moments when she is influenced by the real her, that she confesses how she knows she could get therapy. As you can see I’m quite bothered and broken. I need to understand things and what I should do. I know you can’t tell me everything or what to do.. but you can share with me generically perhaps and shine light on maybe a few things I talked about. Thank you so much for your time.

    • Sorry to hear about the abuse you are suffering. You don’t say what other disorders your girlfriend suffers with but they likely contribute to her behaviour. This is not a healthy, stable relationship and regardless of anything else bringing children into a volatile relationship is never a good idea. Do I think she would act on her threat to kill you? it’s not for me to say, because who knows what anyone is capable of until they do it, personally I would like to believe that it is just rage talking but who can be sure? She needs help, she needs to change her behaviour and if she is not willing/does not want/believe that she needs to then how can things get better? I have no knowledge of BPD’s abusing children, any more than any person is likely to do, again it is not something one can predict. The best advice I can give you is to get out of the relationship if you can, if she is not going to get better by her own desire then you will continue to suffer, no-one should have to put up with this. BPD is an illness that requires a lot of support but the person needs to work on recovery too, if they are not willing to do that they will always destroy that which they hold dear. It is a reason for her behaviour, but it is not an excuse to continue to behave this way. I’m sorry if that is not what you want to hear, especially coming from someone who has recovered from BPD but it really is the best advice you can get, continuing this relationship is not good for you, you need to leave, sometimes love just isn’t enough :(

  44. I am terrified of this life of this world and being alone just like you and I’m a non. I struggle through each day suffering no family and a spare few friends in a world where there isn’t too much safety or security. I have been scared within to be utterly alone in this world and the truth is that for the most part I have been. My partner is BPD enmeshed with a mother with depression. How utterly hopeless! I Love him with all my heart but the truth is he has made my life a living hell……made me feel utterly battered in our three years together and he claims I am the thing he loves the most. I feel he is killing me slowly and when I tell him that I feel battered by him he tells me to grow a thicker skin…….to look at his episodes like a chi hua hua going off.

    I Love him more than anything but I feel interrogated, criticized, judged, policed, condemned, sabotaged, set up, imprisoned in his sanctuary, manipulated inside his distorted version of reality and utterly twisted up inside his warped world which he managed to justify, excuse and deny.

    I am a smart woman who is strong yet he has managed to make me silly puddy. I have tried to make sense of this distorted reality that he has convinced me of. He wields the greatest stories with just one kernal of truth……..and twists everything into a mutated distortion yet he can’t see it.

    He tells me that the reason he is so hard on me is because he loves me more. It’s all warped. He watches my every move, my every word and tries to catch me in any snare to condemn me and justify his fears. I live each day in fear of triggering his rage which is followed by his anger which is followed by his shame. Every day I am afraid of what he will discover and condemn me with…….I have never in all my life lived through such a thing as this.

    He has shamed me each time a trigger has occurred……dragged my past and anything that he saw was questionable. He is in denial of his abuses and how he verbally batters me when triggered. His volatile mood swings are a daily threat……I wait for them and my stomach sinks in anticipation. There is a distinct fearful butterfly feeling each time I have to come home to him.

    I have never seen such selfishness in anyone but in him and apparently I am the rare One that has entered his world and altered him and his life. No one else has rendered him powerless…………..but why? I did not intend for this but it just happened…….we are inseparable and like twins. The magnetic pull between us is unlike anything I have ever experienced or him.

    Which makes me confused…………….and afraid. He emotionally and verbally abuses me and punishes me so cruelly believing that he is only protecting us. He believes that how he is seeing the world is not altered but the scary thing is that it is utterly warped in distortions. To him women are all whores and liars…………not to be trusted with the exception of his mother whom he has been emotionally enmeshed by. He has been living at home with his family in a close confidant relationship with his mother his whole life. He has never been independent or a free man………what am I saying maybe he has never been a man ever until he met me.

    I am trying to make sense of this and all he can tell me is to get a thicker skin and not take anything he says to me personally when he is raging.
    He doesn’t see that he is controlling or that he wants to put me in his little sanctuary …….a prison, his prison. He doesn’t see that he wants to contain me and keep for for himself……….for him he is merely protecting me.

    He watches everything I do, judges it and polices. There is nothing I can’ t do that he doesn’t break down and investigate to try and incriminate me. I have tried to talk to him but he rationalizes everything and utterly mentally manipulates reality to suit his emotions and what he feels is ‘morally’ correct. This is utterly fucked up but he can’t see any of it. I am the one he needs to watch, judge and be wary of but the reality is that it is he that I should be wary of

    I have been a one of a kind Love……….so true and real that he will experience nothing like me ever again. Yet he is trying to find fault with me……trying to catch me always in some ‘sin’ and fault. ……………yeAt I am the truest he will ever know.

    He can’t see that I am to him a possession to keep and guard……put in his sanctuary and protect. I will be hostage if I stay with him and he all the while will believe he is protecting me.

    So very distorted and painful.

    I need help.

  45. I want to say that he doesn’t believe that he does any of these things…….to him he is normal and just protecting me and himself. He doesn’t see that he is battering me when he punishes me so harshly with his abusive words and emotionally beating me. He doesn’t see the harm in it all…………he can justify everything because the world is a harsh place where it is most rare to have true connections or love. Where people take each other for granted. In this he has found his goddess but at a moments drop…………of disappointment he demonizes me and makes me out to be hells fury. He believes he doesn’t need mood stabilizers or professional help. He wants to marry me and thinks that by me being there he will get a job, we will be together and all things will regulate themselves into a type of normalcy. This is what he believes. I have no idea what I can believe anymore……….no idea.

  46. I have lived with my wife for nearly 20 years now who has what I would call extreme episodes of BPD from time to time. It is truly an unbelievable illness. Most of what I read above is parallel to what I experience with her. I don’t know how much more detailed I could get without writing a book about all the terrible situations we’ve been in over the years, not excluding her sexual promiscuity just last year due to the insecurity component of BPD. My biggest failure is lack of patience. We both drink now (it use to be just me). When I drink It takes everything I have to avoid reacting to her manipulations/ deviousness / hatred of others / etc.. Yeah. I know, I shouldn’t drink. But you would too if you were stuck like me. Even when I don’t drink I have a pit in my stomach when I see another episode of her BPD beginning to take hold.
    I don’t have much sympathy for her when her BP takes over as she is a horrible mean person to me and though I am impatient, I don’t deserve to have her irrational behavior directed towards me. Others get it from time to time, but they don’t stick around long enough to absorb it like I have, so it is hard for others to even attempt to understand her illness. They just don’t want to deal with her. Really, I don’t either. For my own protection, I have hundreds upon hundreds of audio and video recordings of her irrationalities that I have never shown anyone. Maybe a counselor one day, if I have the strength.
    Live long and prosper~!

    • Well done for sticking with her despite her problems, you must be amazing, as you say most people could not do it.It does sound like you could do with a counselorthough, I hope you find the strength to get one! :) Good luck

  47. Steve October 16, 2013 · 9:14 pm
    I am paraphrasing a comment that someone else wrote anonymously on another board:

    Borderlines: You are vilified not because of your DISORDER but because of your BEHAVIOR. Those rules of behavior apply to EVERYONE, including you. There are no special flexible rules for you and rigid ones for everyone else, see?
    And when you describe yourself as ‘sensitive’, what you really mean is that you are sensitive to you OWN feelings, while completely insensitive to everyone else’s, because you believe that YOUR needs and wants should ALWAYS come first.
    What you must accept is the fact that no one wants to hear ONE more explanation about what you are going through. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, you need to OWN your own problem, ACCEPT responsibility for your actions, ACKNOWLEDGE the damage that you cause to you and everyone involved with you and take an ACTIVE role in getting yourselves under control.
    Otherwise you will always be alone and it will be your own fault, no one else’s. So ask yourself if that is what you want for your life and, if not, take control of yourself and be an adult! No more whining. Steve October 16, 2013 · 9:22 pm
    ‘…People with the disorder are said to have a thin emotional skin and often behave like 2-year-olds…’

    A Borderline had a letter to the NYTs published, which stated:
    ‘…The stigma surrounding borderline personality disorder is such that even an article in Science Times can state baldly that people with the disorder “act like 2-year-olds.” I would have expected that Jane Brody might have been more scientific and explained a bit more about why those of us with the disorder may act as we do…’
    This is typical of a Borderline, to demand that the reason they behave this way somehow justifies their abuse of others.
    The bottom line is that no one really cares why a person acts like a 2-year-old. It is the responsibility of the person with the illness to find a way to control their behavior, not the rest of the world’s.
    Having a bad childhood does not excuse anyone from being a decent human being.
    Steve. October 16, 2013 · 9:41 pm
    471. ‘…I guess all i can really say is. if you love someone be understanding and work with them because it DOES get better. all it takes is having a few people who believe and a few people who stick by you no matter what and then the work it takes to take control back becaomes worth it…so i thank god every day i dont have to live with insensitive people who dont even take the time to try to understand what its like to be us…Taylor…’

    This is typical of Borderline thinking. The entire comment is filled with self-pity and no remorse whatsoever, as it is the ‘disease’ that makes people behave despicably, so they deserve sympathy, not judgment.
    If a Borderline believes that a person will ‘stick by (them) no matter what’, that means that person will be denigrated and abused even more so.
    Here’s the truth: No one gets to have that. No one gets to behave any way they want and have people ‘stick by’ them. Most people know this and that is why they control their words and actions, because while we all have those feelings, we know if we act on them, we will have no friends or family and be all alone and it will be our own fault.
    But since Borderlines do not think anything is their fault, they never learn, as you can only learn from your mistakes when you own them.

    Sent from my iPad

    • Some borderlines behave like that, especially when they are very ill and not getting help to learn how to accept their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. The problem is people expect them to be able to do that when they are ill and not getting help but until they get help they just can’t do it. Unfortunately some will never get help and end up continuing this way, which makes the rest of us who learn and get better get labelled in the same way.

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